Can we eat science experiments? An exploding volcano model, maybe not - but science experiments made out of food, yes! In honor of this year's summer reading program, Fizz! Boom! Read!, I present science experiments you can eat (and what we learn from them)!
Discuss the properties of proteins by making egg whites. According to Vicki Cobb's Science Experiment's You Can Eat, this is a great way to discuss how
the shape of protein molecules plays an important role in determining the reaction. Egg whites' proteins are like "tiny balls of yarn" and dissolve in water because they are so compact. Beating them = unraveling the yarn. Whoa! Slowly beat in some sugar, which mixes with the water in the egg whites, drop them on a cookie sheet, and heat them in an oven at 175 degrees for 1 hour, then turn it off and leave them in overnight. The meringues are dried, leaving hard egg whites and sugar. Yummy!
Another fun and easy experiment in the book discusses oxidation of fruit. Take an apple, slice it in half, and place a sliced kiwi on the cut top of one side, leaving the other side of the apple bare (or put a sponge on top). Which side ends up brown? This is a great way to introduce the idea of oxidation, and the effects of vitamin C on the browning process. Make a fruit salad using apples, peaches, and bananas, and mix pieces of one vitamin C tablet (or lemon) on one side and leave the other plain. What happens? Does vitamin C slow down the oxidation process? What if you leave part of it at room temperature and put the other in the fridge?
Of course, the best part about food experiments is eating them afterwards! Visit the library for more books about science experiments with food and don't forget to sign up for our summer reading program beginning on June 1!