homeschooling,  science

Food Science Fun

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dissecting a (sugarfree) jello cellSome days just fly by and it feels like we get nothing done. We’re spending more time outside and there’s been lots of days recently where the children have just been so content with their own play I don’t want to interrupt them.

Writing is coming easier for the children. We’re spending less time on that and I’m trying to get back into doing more science activities with the children. Two of our recent projects involved using food for science projects. Here’s what we did:

Edible (but unsweetened) Model of a Cell

“Does the golgi apparatus look good to you?”

“Want to see the mitochondia?”

A big lump of gelatin with various food items inside provides a model for discussing cell organellaI smiled listening to the kids talk as they cut apart a big lump of gelatin. We made an “edible cell model.” I’d seen ideas for it all over the internet, but most involved sugar and candy. We don’t eat much sugar here and I didn’t want to buy candies, so the kids and I used what we could find. I mixed up unflavoured gelatin and poured it into a plastic bag lined bowl. Then we placed in pita bread, beans, seeds, and celery scraps. I let the children decide what they wanted to use and what would represent what, as long as they could tell me something about the object it was supposed to represent. I had thought a grape would do for the nucleus but the kids thought it was too small so we settled on using an onion. The result was something my eight year old pointed out we could just throw into a pot and make soup out of afterwards. (We didn’t.)

We did talk also about how in a real cell things aren’t just suspended there in the cytoplasma but in particular locations.

Chocolate Melting Points

We also did some exploring melting points. We melted lumps of unsweetened chocolate, butter and coconut oil and compared how quickly they each melted (in a pot and in our hands). Then we made little chocolate treats, talking about how the different ingredients create different textured chocolates.

We don’t use sugar, but my children have grown to like unsweetened chocolate and we mix in carob powder too because it is naturally sweeter than sugar. We mixed chopped dates into some of the chocolate and peanut butter into some. We talked about the pros and cons of using coconut oil in chocolate, and how food processing companies have to think about price and availability as well as the physical characteristics of the ingredients.

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