Science Class in the Home

Science can be a blast at home and sometimes messy. Ok mostly messy.

Have you ever thought how can I combine science with something I want or need to do anyway?  Cooking can be counted as math, art, (if you are really into decorating) home economics and yes-even science.

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Here are a few cooking options and the category of science it can relate to.

Making Simple Syrup:

1 cup of water

2 cups of sugar

Pour in a pot and bring to a boil. Stir until most of sugar is dissolved then watch it carefully. The mix will look cloudy then after a few seconds of boiling it will turn clear.  Remove from heat and let cool.

When the mix becomes clear is when all sugar molecules have combined with those of the water. In chemistry this mixture is called a solution.  A solution is usually made up of two compounds in this case it is water and sugar. The solubility of a solution is measured when one stops dissolving into the other. So you can add the sugar slowly spoonful at a time and as soon as the sugar starts to build up

Le Chatelier Principle

you have reach the point solubility. If you do not change the temperature the solution is referred to as a saturated solution.  Adding heat will loosen the molecule bonds of the water and sugar and thus more sugar can be dissolved into the water. Now we have unsaturated solutions. Adding heat or doing anything to affect the equilibrium is known as Le Chatelier’s Principle.  Now you have a nice sweetener you can add to tea or any other drink or dish. Store in a sealed container in refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Another way to bring science inline with your day-to-day cooking activities is keeping in mind that osmosis is the movement of water molecules through a selectively permeable membrane.

Cleaning lettuce that you grew in the garden is a great example. Washing it in salt water will kill the bugs and the bugs will come off because salt water moves from high to low

concentration. The bugs are not made of salt and cannot tolerate it but now you have salty lettuce so you then wash in cold non-salty water.

What happens here is the high concentration of salt is moving from the lettuce back into the water.   You can try this for lunch once day even without the bugs have your kids sample the lettuce before and after.  OH! Look at that, now they have eaten something green!  Here is fun video to watch the process in a time lapsed photos.

This also works when brining or pickling.  Now you truly are a homeschooling momma who can turn anything into a lesson!

Here are some links to read more about the above processes and other great sites with more great ideas for science in the kitchen.

http://kidscorner.org/html/science2.php

http://www.sciencefair-projects.org/index.html

http://www.factmonster.com/cig/chemistry/disturbing-equilibria-le-chateliers-principle.html

http://www.biology4kids.com/files/cell2_passivetran.html

Enjoy!

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