Being the site of water, heat and refrigeration, the kitchen is every home's built-in laboratory, the perfect place for kids, ages 10 to 13, to practice scientific inquiry. And what better place to examine food — that thing that no living organism can survive without — than in a kitchen?
Vicki Cobb's experiments focus on the preparation of food and what chemical processes are at work when, for example, fruit ripens, or when we add spices or preservatives to the foods we eat. How does the exposure to oxygen affect a banana's color, and why does its flesh become sweeter as the starch in the banana changes to sugar? Why would adding the acid of a lemon make whipped cream hold its foam peak longer? How do heat and ice work together in distilling flavors from various foods and plants?
Budding scientists can explore basic chemistry and biology concepts through experiments in heating and cooling, dehydration, and distillation. They can also test their senses of taste and smell to understand why we like the foods we do. For each of Vicki Cobb's fun experiments, the proof lies in the results — until, of course, the results are eaten!
Functional and How To,