5 Edible Science Ideas
The first place most kids will “do science” is in the kitchen and there are SO many extraordinary things to discover, that are even better than licking the bowl…well, nearly! Here are just a few ideas to infuse your kitchen with chemistry and boggle your bakes with biology, that aren’t included in our Bake Off Lab Box. There is a rather large caveat (caveat not cavity) here, which is that some the activities below would make a dentist weep, so we wouldn’t encourage you to eat too much sugar, and definitely follow up your sciencing with a thorough tooth-brushing!
1. Experiment with Yeast!
Forget the old bicarb and vinegar combo, yeast is your best friend in a kitchen lab. In fact it’s your best catalyst (a catalyst is like a chemical cheerleader – it encourages and speeds up reactions)! Not only is it safe to play with, it’s a master at producing bubbles and speeding up reactions. Why not set up an experiment to see what can make yeast produce the most bubbles? Does it bubble most in sugary water? salty water? Hot water? Cold water? What about lemon juice or milk? Set up an experiment and test it out. How will you measure the bubbliness? Could you think of a way to try and trap the bubbles? There’s a bit of a clue in our Microbeasts Box!
Before lockdown our Curiosity Box team was working with Nano Girl to create a special Nano Girl Live Curiosity Box. Unfortunately, in this case, the show couldn’t go on thanks to the “V who shan’t be named” but we still think this Kitchen Science book is eggciting, who doesn’t love the idea of unicorn noodles!!
3. Blind Chocolate testing: When we invent a new medicine it gets tested in a clinical trial. Clinical trials are “Blind Tests”. That doesn’t mean they test blind people, itmeans that the person receiving the medicine doesn’t know whether it is the new medicine or something called a placebo. A placebo is something made to look exactly like the new medicine, but without any of the active ingredients (check out this video for some examples).
To do a Blind Chocolate Testing you’ll need a grownup to choose some different types of chocolate, number each type, then break them into equal sized pieces and keep them out of sight (no, grownups, your belly doesn’t count!). The testers will need to be blind-folded before being given one piece of each type of chocolate. They can then guess what kind of chocolate it is, what brand, how much cocoa it contains etc. This is a particularly fun thing to do over zoom with friends!
You can also read more about chocolate and crystals in our science story here.
4. Skittles experiment:
Check out this fun experiment exploring colours, light and skittles!
5. Home Made Sherbet:
Set your taste buds a-quiver with the contrasting combo of sour Citric Acid (the stuff that makes lemons tangy) and icing sugar. You can add some jelly crystals or powdered food colouring if you like. Turn this into an experiment by following these instructions:
Wash hands thoroughly.
Set up 4 test mixtures:
Test 1: 1 parts sugar to 9 parts citric acid
Test 2: 3 parts sugar to 7 parts citric acid
Test 3: 5 parts sugar to 5 parts citric acid
Test 4: 7 parts sugar to 3 parts citric acid
Lick your CLEAN index finger and dip it in each test mixture. Record how it tastes in your Show Stopper Record Sheet. Do they all taste the same?
Take the rest of the Test 1 mixture and divide it into 4 small bowls or cups. Then have a think about what would happen if you added a liquid to the powder? What different liquids might react with the powder and how?
With your prediction in mind, choose 4 different, safe liquids e.g. water, fruit juice, vinegar, washing up liquid and pour 1 teaspoon of each liquid onto the powder in each bowl, what happens? Was your prediction accurate?