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Teaching Science Through Cooking

Aug 17, 2007
Cooking is an art as well as a necessity of our lives. It can bring great joy to both the cook, as well as those who partake of the well-prepared meal and it can also be a valuable and nutritious addition to our overall health and well being. One might think that cooking and science have little in common, yet that is simply not true, as cooking offers a wide variety of opportunities to teach science to our young. By sharing quality time cooking with our children, they can learn valuable lessons not only in the ethic of work and responsibility but also in the area of science.

Experimenting In The Kitchen

Simple scientific experiments can be conducted within the comfortable confines of ones own kitchen and the end results can be edible! What an approach to science! Yet because the students are learning in a comforting and enjoyable atmosphere, it is not like the stifled book-learning approach to science. Cooking offers the child a hands on and tangible experience, while at the same time teaching them a life skill they can use daily. Children from kindergarten to college can gain practical applications and life-long knowledge by using this approach. Some example of fun experiments parents can incorporate include making candyfloss and ice cream. Making ice cream, for example, allows the exploration of the freezing point of matter. One can also talk about the role of temperature, whipping and foaming during the process. Children can learn a wide range of science concepts while they enjoy the learning process. What is more is that they get to enjoy a tasty treat at the end of the process.

Difficult chemistry concepts such as radiation, convection, conduction, energy and carbohydrate chemistry may seem overwhelming to many students, yet exploring and appreciating these science concepts during our food preparation can makes it a fun and exciting adventure. For a start, one can study the various forms of heat transfer and their different roles it play in the cooking process. With regard to specific foods, milk and dairy products can be discussed as you use them in your cooking, such as how the cows produce milk, what milk is made of, the nutrients within the milk and the difference between fermented and non-fermented products.

Plants can also be easily incorporated into our discussions. Cooking vegetables is a science itself. Even preseving them, such as kimchi, is an excellent introduction to food nutrition and preservation. By the way, talking about kimchi, in it lives a host of live organisms which one can conduct experiments on. Moreover, it also gives you an excellent opportunity to talk about Korean culture and food. Concepts such as osmosis, pH value, density of the food, as well as dissecting the vegetables to identify plant tissue and structure can be explored too.

With the wide variety of creative ideas for experimentation, the kitchen is a wonderful learning laboratory for people of all ages.
About the Author
Kelvin Ho is the webmaster of "PickUpCooking.com". He loves cooking and teaching students how to cook. Pick up cooking tips and resources at http://www.pickupcooking.com.
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