Teaching Ideas : Kitchen Science

The children can develop their scientific skills and understanding by investigating and testing different materials that can be found in a family kitchen.

They can practise classifying and describing different foods by their material properties such as rigid, flexible and absorbent.

The children can identify material changes that are reversible and irreversible such as when melting and cooling chocolate or combining materials to make a cake. They can test the reaction of materials when they are mixed with other foods by conducting a fair test. They can explore what happens to some materials when they change state from a solid to a liquid.

Kitchen Materials
The children can identify different materials found in a family kitchen to match different properties. They can make collections of foods in the cupboard and fridge for a specific property such as rigid, flexible, absorbent and impermeable. The children can explore which of the utensils used in a kitchen match a material property such as magnetic or transparent. They can try using Venn and Carroll diagrams to order and classify the identified materials. Discuss with the children how a material might be changed to alter its property such as soaking a rigid food in water to make it more flexible or by using a toaster to convert bread from a soft to a hard material.

Food Changes
Work with the children to investigate how foods can be changed when following a recipe. They can identify recipe changes that are reversible such as when melting and cooling chocolate to use as the topping for some cupcakes. The children can explore changes that are irreversible such as mixing flour, eggs and sugar to make some cake batter or when making toppings to add to cheese on toast. Get them to create comic strips to indicate changes to foods that can be reversible and irreversible.

Food Reactions
The children can investigate how some foods react when mixed with other foods. They can test to see what happens when milk is mixed with coffee, vinegar, bicarbonate of soda or other materials. Discuss with the children how to conduct a fair test by keeping some of the variables in the investigation the same such as the same amount of milk and how the ingredients are mixed together. They can identify which variable is changed each time to match the materials being mixed with milk. Get the children to develop vocabulary using the five senses to make observations about what happened to the milk when mixed with other foods.

Changing State
The children can develop their understanding of materials by exploring how some materials change state between gas, liquid and solid when cooled or heated. They can make some ice lollies by pouring orange squash into plastic containers before freezing them to change the liquid into a solid. The children can also explore what happens when solid materials are heated such as when using sugar to make a caramel sauce. Get them to create flowcharts to indicate how materials change state between gas, liquid and solid.

The children can explore how different materials can dissolve into water or other liquids. Get them to identify materials that can and cannot dissolve such as mixing salt or pasta with water. Show the children how to reverse the dissolving by heating the solution so that it evaporates leaving behind the original solid. They can also make observations as to how water changes when combined with other materials to make a solution such as changing colour when mixing water and coffee.

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