Imaginative Teaching Resources & Inspirational Career Ideas from the Chilled Food Industry
We’ve come up with some fun food science experiments you can do at home with your children. No specific knowledge required and you don’t need special equipment – everything you need is already sitting in your kitchen cupboard.
Morgan and Tilly spent a fun couple of hours trying these out. They’re both at primary school. If your child is a similar age during their usual science classes they’re likely to be thinking about changes, whether it’s a physical change – melting or a chemical changes as in combustion (don’t worry this isn’t going to get dangerous!)
When we shake that salad dressing ready to drizzle over our food we’re creating a physical reaction. The contents of the bottle are melting into each other. Here’s how you see it happen…..
Grab a Calpol syringe (we’ve all got them!) and a tablespoon of cooking oil and table spoon of water. You’ll also need a few drops of washing up liquid.
With a finger carefully over the end of the syringe add the oil and the water. It’s easy to see how they separate.
Put the plunger in and even after you shake them up they will still divide into two.
Add a drop of washing up liquid and shake the syringe again. What happens? The oil and water mixes together.
Here comes the science – Water molecules are strongly attracted to each other, this is the same for oil, because they are more attracted to their own molecules they just don’t mix together. Detergent is attracted to both water and oil helping them join together and form something called an emulsion.
Ready for another one….?
This is an easy one. You just need one of those flying saucer sweets.
When you pop it in your mouth how does it feel? Fizzy isn’t it? It’s the sherbet in them. This is citric acid and sodium bicarbonate which are both harmless. As a dry powder inside the flying saucer nothing happens but when the moisture of our saliva dissolves the outside – wow – the powder dissolves and the chemicals react in a fizz.
The reaction also takes in heat so, how does your mouth feel – cooler, yes? This is an endothermic reaction. See, we’re doing science aren’t we?
Now for another…..
We all know we eat with our eyes and our other senses too tell us how good, or how bad, our food is.
Grab some different colour jellies and test it for yourself.
Take some plain raspberry jelly, divide it up into small pots and dye it with different food colouring. What does the jelly taste of now? No prompting! Green might well now ‘taste’ of apple! And an orange dye might make you think it’s mango. But of course it’s all still raspberry. All you’ve changed in the colour. Not the flavour.
Get your child to hold their nose too. What flavours can they taste now?
And finally – for our last storecupboard science idea…
Using our Calpol syringes (cleaned out from the earlier experiment 😊) and mini marshmallows we can have fun with gas pressure.
Pop the marshmallow in the syringe, block the end with a finger and pull up the plunger. That marshmallow is getting bigger. This happens because the air pressure inside the syringe is reduced so the bubbles of air expand, making the marshmallow expand too. Push the plunger back down and the marshmallow gets smaller again. Magic? No store cupboard science 😊
These ideas were originally developed with our friend, award-winning science teacher and author Sam Holyman. The full lesson plans (with guidance for teachers) can be found on our site here and in a PowerPoint here.