Friday, February 5, 2016
Play with your food!
by Jodi Wheeler-Toppen and Carol Tennant
80 pages; ages 8-12
National Geographic Children's Books, 2015
Our kitchen has been a science lab ever since I started cooking. Think about it: every time you mix something up, bake it, stir-fry or whatever... you're doing a science experiment. You're mixing up chemicals and creating reactions.
This book is chock-full of experiments to try, and "science scoop" text-boxes that explain why things happen or don't happen. Take the idea of chocolate-flavored gum. Ever tried eating a candy bar when you're chewing gum? Gum, it turns out, is made of molecules that don't mix well with water. That's why you can chew it all day and it won't dissolve. BUT, when you add chocolate, those chocolate molecules act as an emulsifier. They connect oil and water or, in this case, gum and water. When that happens, the gum starts breaking apart.
There are lots more things to try: making crystals, exploding seeds (popcorn), baking cookie pH indicators, making gels, and making slime. Cakes and cookies rise because of gas bubbles, so changing ingredients might make your cakes turn out flat. There's a recipe for making yogurt - that means keeping a bacteria culture alive - and one for making "bug" brownies with toasted meal worms. In all, there are about 40 hands-on science experiments - and to clean up, all you do is eat them.
Today's review is part of the STEM Friday roundup. Drop by STEM Friday blog for more science books and resources. Review copy provided by publisher.