The Problem: All science teachers have a budget, and chemistry doesn't taste good.
Yup. I said it. We all have no money for labs. We often spend our own money for labs. But, what if we spent less and everyone got something out of it? So, even if you have to spend your own money you and the students get something tangible AND practical out of the lab. I'm talking about cooking with chemistry.
Crystallization, Saturation, Macromolecules and ...Fudge
Crystallization is a fascinating subject and if you let your students know how important this is to candy making, they just might pay attention. You can talk about how the boiling point depends on sugar concentration, and then lead that into a discussion on how seed crystals lead to crystal formation.
Boiling Point Elevation/Freezing Point Depression
Many teachers already use water for this lab and have students take measurements of the pure solvent and then with the solvent and salt, and again with sugar. But, what about taking this one step further by asking students to investigate whether adding salt to water is a significant way to raise the boiling point so that food cooks faster.(Hint: It isn't. You would need about a pound of salt for every quart of water to raise the boiling point by a degree or so. That's not going to end well. For anyone except Morton.)
I am currently working on a worksheet to demonstrate this concept, but it is still in the development stages. But, cake is a really cool way to explain macromolecules. Think about it! You have sugar(carbs), butter(lipid), eggs(protein), milk(protein or lipid), flour(carb), and based on each ingredient's purpose in the recipe you get cake.
When you look at each macromolecule you can also break it down into their monomer units. When you look at sugar you have glucose and fructose. Only after they get strung together do you get sucrose, and then those get strung together to become a carbohydrate.
You can do the same break down with the protein or the lipid.
I can break down just about any science subject into cooking so send me an email if you have a question or a lab that you would like a food-based idea for.
Hi! I'm CoScine Creative. I have developed and run a tutoring center at a small college. I also teach some of their algebra and chemistry courses. And I will neither confirm nor deny pranking my students by pretending to be one.