Cook up science fun this holiday season

December holiday breaks and winter weather can make it difficult to keep students engaged in the classroom. Why not embrace the spirit of the season and rekindle student interest in science by incorporating cooking themes when students already have winter break and food on their minds? In the December 2013 issue of NSTA’s Book Beat e-newsletter, we provide lessons to help you connect cooking and chemistry so students have some seasonal fun while they learn.

The science behind favorite foodsCover image of Gourmet Lab

Activities that focus on food and cooking can help students see the science behind everyday activities like cooking breakfast or baking bread. Author Sarah Young’s Gourmet Lab: The Scientific Principles Behind Your Favorite Foods features hands-on experiments that challenge grades 6–12 students to take on the roles of scientist and chef in a quest to better understand science concepts from chemistry, biology, and physics. Download the free lesson “Cinnamon Rolls” and have your students explore how the presence or lack of yeast can affect the overall density of a delicious breakfast treat. For grades K–6, sample the reading and science lesson “Kitchen Chemistry” from Christine Royce, Emily Morgan, and Karen Ansberry’s Teaching Science Through Trade Books. Your students will make observations and determine whether the change they observe when cooking pancakes is a physical or chemical change. Also included in the downloadable lesson is an activity in which older students determine whether common household substances are acids or bases on the pH scale.

Gift Ideas From NSTA

Book cover image for Next Time You See a Pill Bug by Emily MorganNSTA Kids books, a new line of children’s trade books from NSTA Press, make great gifts for young scientists or scientists young at heart. Four NSTA Kids books were just honored as 2014 Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students: Next Time You See a Sunset, Next Time You See a Firefly, Next Time You See a Pill Bug, and Up, Up in a Balloon. Browse all the topics covered in the NSTA Kids series, and you’re sure to find one that will appeal to the little readers in your life. NSTA gear items like beaker mugs and aprons are also sure to be a hit with the science enthusiasts on your list. Be sure to browse the NSTA Science Store for more gift ideas.

To read previous issues of NSTA’s Book Beat and to sign up to receive this monthly e-newsletter, visit the Book Beat archive page on the NSTA website.

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