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lesson library

Our lessons explore foods by connecting them to traditional concepts taught in secondary STEM education. Most lessons use a "sense-making" approach: essentially experiencing a food or recipe and then making sense of the process and product through use of observations, science concepts and building off of each other's ideas.

 

All of our lessons include a hands-on lab or activity students can either do themselves or watch us do. To support and empower students in making connections and understanding the science concepts behind these foods, we design ready-to-go classroom slides, write anchor readings/articles, and produce videos. We also design student activities and worksheets that encourage further engagement and critical thinking.

Topics

Chemistry:
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Biology & Ecology:

To search for specific lessons, terms, or foods , use our storefront.

Food:
Available Class Periods:
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5
6
7
8
9
10

1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9    10

Grades:
Available Active Time:
120 Minutes
Heat Source Option
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I have access to:
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Engineering Baking Powder & Banh Bo Nuong: Acid-Base Neutralization Rxns

Explore what substances can be used to make baking powder, design their own DIY baking powder, and then test their prototype in a classroom friendly Vietnamese honeycomb cake.

grades:

5

equipment needs:

8

major topics:

3

-

6

-

minor topics:

acids and bases, chemical reactions, measurements, limiting reacants

science concepts:

Get a taste of the lesson
by checking out the video resource!

- Investigate properties of different substances to consider if they could be used in baking powder
- Explore differences in existing types of baking powder
- Design and test a “DIY” baking powder prototype through a variety of mini-labs

essential questions:

- What substances can we use to make our own baking powder?
- What should we consider when evaluating potential substances that could be used in baking powder?
- How can we engineer and test our own baking powder?

Length of Labs (all time expressed in minutes)

Length of Labs (all time expressed in minutes)

Other Notes:

10

Lab Time

Lab 1:

15

Lab 2:

20

Lab 3:

50

Lab 4:

Lab 5:

Equipment:

- The first three labs are mini-labs that do not require any heat.
- Lab 4 requires a countertop oven. Alternative recipes can also be used for this lab. They can be found in our other lesson, Baking Powder & Cupcakes. Lab preparation notes explain this in more detail.

Carbonating Kombucha: Gas & Pressure

Explore how to carbonate kombucha through fermentation and an understanding of how gas particles behave.

grades:

9

equipment needs:

12

major topics:

4

-

5

-

minor topics:

microbes, fermentation, cycling of matter, ecosystems, gas, pressure

science concepts:

Get a taste of the lesson
by checking out the video resource!

- Explain how kombucha becomes carbonated (both the actual process and on a particulate-level)
- Describe how and why pressure builds within a kombucha bottle
- Assess and compare ways to measure gas pressure in a bottle

essential questions:

- How does carbonation occur in kombucha and how can we monitor and control it?
- Why does gas pressure build in second stage fermentation of kombucha?

Length of Labs (all time expressed in minutes)

Length of Labs (all time expressed in minutes)

Other Notes:

20

Lab Time

Lab 1:

10

Lab 2:

10

Lab 3:

Lab 4:

Lab 5:

Equipment:

- A variety of safety precautions need to be taken in this lab. Specific bottles are needed. More details are included in the lab preparation.

Kombucha: Microbes & Ecosystems

Learn how to make kombucha and explore the community of microbes behind it.

grades:

9

equipment needs:

12

major topics:

4

-

5

-

minor topics:

microbes, fermentation, cycling of matter, ecosystems

science concepts:

Get a taste of the lesson
by checking out the video resource!

- Explain how kombucha is made using concepts of metabolic reactions (fermentation), microbial diversity, ecosystems and symbiosis
- Explain factors that may impact the microbial population in kombucha and how these factors can change the process and product
- Describe the complex relationship between bacteria and yeast in kombucha

essential questions:

- How is kombucha made?
- What occurrs as the kombucha sits over time and why?
- How do yeast and bacteria work together to make kombucha?

Length of Labs (all time expressed in minutes)

Length of Labs (all time expressed in minutes)

Other Notes:

45

Lab Time

Lab 1:

5

Lab 2:

5

Lab 3:

5

Lab 4:

Lab 5:

Equipment:

- Lab 1 is preparing the kombucha; Labs 2-4 are monitoring the kombucha.
- The longest step in lab 1 is brewing and cooling the tea. The tea can also be cooled overnight to save class time.

Mozzarella & Stretchy Cheese: Attractive Forces

Explore how heat & stretching transforms curds into a shiny, stretchy cheese by making homemade mozzarella.

grades:

9

equipment needs:

12

major topics:

2

-

3

-

minor topics:

chemical reactions, intermolecular forces, enzymes

science concepts:

Get a taste of the lesson
by checking out the video resource!

- Describe the structure of casein in different stages of the cheesemaking process on both a macroscopic and particulate level
- Explain how cheese curds become stretchy and explore factors that impact stretchiness (e.g. calcium content, pH)

essential questions:

- How and why can cheese curds become stretchy?
- What factors impact the stretchiness of cheese?

Length of Labs (all time expressed in minutes)

Length of Labs (all time expressed in minutes)

Other Notes:

60

Lab Time

Lab 1:

n/a

Lab 2:

n/a

Lab 3:

n/a

Lab 4:

na

Lab 5:

Equipment:

Rennet & Queso Fresco: Enzymes & Cheesemaking

Explore rennet and rennet-based curd formation by making queso fresco and comparing how milk changes when adding rennet or acid.

grades:

6

equipment needs:

9

major topics:

3

-

4

-

minor topics:

engineering design, chemical changes, enzymes

science concepts:

Get a taste of the lesson
by checking out the video resource!

- Explore how rennet causes coagulation and curd formation in milk
- Compare and contrast the process and product when adding rennet or acid to milk
- Explore how rennet is made and what enzymes are

essential questions:

- What is rennet, and how can we use it to make cheese?
- What occurs when we add rennet to milk and why?
- How is rennet different from acid in the cheesemaking process and product?

Length of Labs (all time expressed in minutes)

Length of Labs (all time expressed in minutes)

Other Notes:

50

Lab Time

Lab 1:

30

Lab 2:

Lab 3:

Lab 4:

Lab 5:

Equipment:

- Both labs require a heat source, but the milk only needs to be lukewarm and could be heated by a teacher and then distributed.
- A microwave or hot plate can be used to heat milk.
- If needed, Lab 1 can be divided into 2 class periods by draining the curds overnight in a fridge.
- You will need to buy rennet for this! There are a number of specific notes and tips about types of rennet and our exact recommendations in our lab notes.

Baking Powder & Cupcakes: Chemical Reactions with Acids and Bases

Explore baking powder by investigating when and why it produces bubbles and then comparing it with baking soda through multiple trials of an easy cupcake recipe.

grades:

6

equipment needs:

9

major topics:

3

-

4

-

minor topics:

chemical reactions, conservation of matter, acids and bases

science concepts:

Get a taste of the lesson
by checking out the video resource!

- Compare and contrast baking powder and baking soda through mini labs and a cupcake recipe
- Explain what is required for baking powder to produce bubbles through evidence and reasoning

essential questions:

- What is baking powder and how is it different from baking soda?
- How and why does baking powder produce bubbles

Length of Labs (all time expressed in minutes)

Length of Labs (all time expressed in minutes)

Other Notes:

15

Lab Time

Lab 1:

40

Lab 2:

Lab 3:

Lab 4:

Lab 5:

Equipment:

- Only Lab 2 requires heat (on day 2).
- Lab 2 can be done on 1 day, or divided into 2 days (10 minutes on day 1, 30 minutes on day 2- primarily baking time).
- You can do these activities and meet the objectives of this lesson without making the cupcakes (simply see our pictures).
- We have provided an alternative recipe/lab, which uses a flatbread recipe that can be done with hot plate/pan or griddle.

Baking Soda & Pancakes: Chemical Reactions & Limiting Reactants

Explore how baking soda produces gas and the importance of ratios in ingredients when looking at leavening through multiple labs, including a buttermilk pancake lab.

grades:

9

equipment needs:

11

major topics:

5

-

7

-

minor topics:

chemical reactions, properties of matter, limiting reacants, conservation of matter, stoichiometry

science concepts:

Get a taste of the lesson
by checking out the video resource!

- Investigate what is needed to make baking soda react through multiple labs
- Explore what is produced (bubbles and a neutral product) when baking soda reacts with an acidic ingredient
- Use stoichiometry to analyze the importance of amounts and ratios when using baking soda

essential questions:

- What happens when baking soda “works” in recipes?
- Why do ratios matter when using baking soda?

Length of Labs (all time expressed in minutes)

Length of Labs (all time expressed in minutes)

Other Notes:

15

Lab Time

Lab 1:

15

Lab 2:

30

Lab 3:

10

Lab 4:

15

Lab 5:

Equipment:

- Only one lab (Lab 3, making pancakes) requires heat.

Baking Soda & Kefir Flatbread: Chemical Reactions

Explore how baking soda leavens breads and requires an acidic ingredient through a simple flatbread dough.

grades:

5

equipment needs:

8

major topics:

3

-

6

-

minor topics:

chemical reactions, properties of matter, conservation of matter

science concepts:

Get a taste of the lesson
by checking out the video resource!

- Observe and investigate what is needed to make baking soda react
- Explore why gas is produced and where it comes from
- Explain why baking soda is used in baking or cooking

essential questions:

- What happens when baking soda “works”?
- What is needed to make baking soda “work”?
- Why do we use baking soda in recipes?

Length of Labs (all time expressed in minutes)

Length of Labs (all time expressed in minutes)

Other Notes:

15

Lab Time

Lab 1:

15

Lab 2:

30

Lab 3:

10

Lab 4:

n/a

Lab 5:

Equipment:

- Only Lab 3, which involves making the flatbread, requires heat.
- While normally a pan/hot plate is used for cooking, you can also bake this bread successfully.
- We provide an alternative food/lab- buttermilk pancakes- which can also be used for the end of this lesson in place of the Kefir flatbread.

Scaling a Brownie Recipe: Volume, Units, & Heat Transfer

Explore volume, unit conversions, and the relationship between energy transfer and mass by comparing pan sizes and scaling a brownie recipe.

grades:

6

equipment needs:

9

major topics:

4

-

6

-

minor topics:

measurements, dimensional analysis, density/mass/volume

science concepts:

Get a taste of the lesson
by checking out the video resource!

- Compare different size pans by exploring ways to calculate volume and using ratios
- Learn how to scale up or down a recipe by using unit conversions and application of ratios, multiplication, and division
- Explore the relationship between transfer of thermal energy and mass

essential questions:

- What factors need to be considered when scaling up or down a brownie recipe to fit in a different pan?
- How can I scale up or down a recipe?
- What affects the amount of time a food needs to bake for?

Length of Labs (all time expressed in minutes)

Length of Labs (all time expressed in minutes)

Other Notes:

20

Lab Time

Lab 1:

35

Lab 2:

n/a

Lab 3:

n/a

Lab 4:

n/a

Lab 5:

Equipment:

- Both Labs 1 and 2 use heat.
- Lab 1 can also be done as a demonstration to minimize time and cost.
- A 8x8 and 9x13 pan is helpful for a demonstration (but is not involved in baking)

Air in Ice Cream: Lab Design & Density

Students will learn about density and lab design by exploring a “secret” ingredient in ice cream: air.

grades:

6

equipment needs:

8

major topics:

3

-

5

-

minor topics:

density/mass/volume, measurements

science concepts:

Get a taste of the lesson
by checking out the video resource!

- Explain what variables are important to consider when designing inquiry-based labs
- Explore the amount of air in various ice cream brands (and our own ice cream) through measurements of mass, volume, and density
- Explore and compare methods that add air into ice cream

essential questions:

- How can you use properties of mass, volume, and density to compare ice creams?
- What considerations are needed when designing an inquiry-based lab?
- How does the density of an ice cream affect how “scoopable” it is?

Length of Labs (all time expressed in minutes)

Length of Labs (all time expressed in minutes)

Other Notes:

15

Lab Time

Lab 1:

25

Lab 2:

n/a

Lab 3:

n/a

Lab 4:

n/a

Lab 5:

Equipment:

- Lab 2 requires 2 days (or at least 90 minutes in the freezer) for the ice cream to freeze.
- A freezer is needed to store ice cream.

Flour & Chocolate Chip Cookies: Measurements & Precision

Explore measurements, precision/accuracy, conversions and scaling through a classroom-friendly chocolate chip cookie recipe.

grades:

8

equipment needs:

10

major topics:

2

-

4

-

minor topics:

measurements, dimensional analysis

science concepts:

Get a taste of the lesson
by checking out the video resource!

- Explore precision and accuracy through measurement, data analysis, and real world applications (baking)
- Explain with evidence and reasoning why using a measuring scale is a better tool for measuring ingredients in baking
- Calculate and scale recipes using fractions and ratios

essential questions:

- Why should bakers use a measuring scale?
- What are precision and accuracy, and why do they matter in science and in baking?
- How can you scale a recipe to make more or less?

Length of Labs (all time expressed in minutes)

Length of Labs (all time expressed in minutes)

Other Notes:

10

Lab Time

Lab 1:

30

Lab 2:

n/a

Lab 3:

n/a

Lab 4:

n/a

Lab 5:

Equipment:

- Lab 2 requires heat if you choose to make traditional cookies.
- A no-bake option cookie dough recipe is also provided.

Cherry Cola: Distillation

Explore the process of distillation and how thermal energy affects particles in a substance by distilling cherry cola in an accessible “DIY” setup.

grades:

6

equipment needs:

10

major topics:

3

-

4

-

minor topics:

states of matter, phase changes, heat and energy

science concepts:

Get a taste of the lesson
by checking out the video resource!

- Understand how thermal energy affects particle motion, temperature, and the state of a substance
- Explain what distillation is and how it separates out components in a mixture
- Use models to show how molecules behave in liquids, gases, and phase changes
- Describe how thermal energy is transferred between a system and its surroundings (*HS only)

essential questions:

- What happens when we distill a substance and why?
- How can we use models to explain what occurs on a molecular level?
- What is natural flavor?

Length of Labs (all time expressed in minutes)

Length of Labs (all time expressed in minutes)

Other Notes:

30

Lab Time

Lab 1:

n/a

Lab 2:

n/a

Lab 3:

n/a

Lab 4:

n/a

Lab 5:

Equipment:

- Observations in this lab do not involve any tasting of the product. Standard lab equipment (beaker, rubber stopper) is required.

Overnight:

Overnight:

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