Did you start a garden this summer or visit your local farmer’s market? If so, keep the learning about plants going with Science Experiments You Can Eat, written by Vicki Cobb and illustrated by Tad Carpenter. Now that you’ve grown all those lovely vegetables in your garden, you can bring them into the kitchen for some science experiments. You can run an experiment to explore how plants take in water and how water moves up the stem of a plant. You can even investigate the chemical reactions that happen with chlorophyll and cellulose when you cook plants.
Make a delicious lemon fizz and watch the reaction as gas is formed. Use the red cabbage indicator from an earlier experiment to determine if the lemon fizz is an acid or a base. Learn about stabilized emulsions by making your own mayonnaise. Keep your fresh baked cookies crisp by determining which type of sweetener (granulated sugar versus honey) is more hydroscopic than the other. Hydroscopic means “wet cooking” by the way. This book is great for cooks of all ages (with supervision) and adults will even learn a thing or two.
The experiments in this book are easy to follow and accompanied by helpful background information on the concept you are investigating. And, as the title promises, you can eat each experiment after you are finished learning!
I have learned through my work at the Environmental Learning Center that kids are natural scientists; they are curious and love to learn about the world around them. You can encourage this curiosity at home through science experiments like these. Maybe the next time your child has one of their unending “why” questions, you’ll be able to help them design an experiment to find the answer on their own!
Kristen Wilkinson is the Program Director for the Colorado State University Environmental Learning Center, an environmental education outreach center in Northern Colorado for children and adults.