Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pumpkin Pie, Home-Baked Cookies Spur Learning

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pumpkin Pie, Home-Baked Cookies Spur Learning

Article excerpt

Each year, families spend a lot of time in the kitchen together during the holidays. This week may be bustling and the kitchen may be bursting with food. Setting aside a little time to share ingredients of a holiday activity not only makes happy memories, but can include teachable moments where children can learn valuable knowledge about the world around them.

Cooking creatively engages kids in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), which touches multiple aspects of daily living. Finding connections between the classroom and day-to-day life can inspire children and pique their interest in these subjects.

Cooking and baking can be enjoyable pastimes for kids and parents who - together - interactively connect science as fun, which range from the basics of measurements to thermodynamics and beyond with a practical edge.

Measurements: Every recipe starts with a list of ingredients, broken down by measurements. These measurements are taken with precision and care, since using the proper amount of each ingredient ensures the recipe will work. Many STEM fields - including chemistry, engineering, coding and more - require exact measurements or calculations. Cooking is a tangible way to teach children the importance of the precision and attention to detail that is vital in STEM careers.

Think about that pumpkin pie and how it is made. Or, even a simpler, a process like bread-making with flour, liquid and an agent to make it rise together shows the importance of measurement accuracy.

By varying the correct measurements, kids can see how the finished product differs and how too much or too little of a certain ingredient can throw off the chemical balance within the recipe.

Thermodynamics: This fancy word looks at the process of changing the chemistry of food, usually by transferring energy in the form of heat to the food for long enough that it is safe and digestible and achieves the desired flavor, texture and appearance. …

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