By Sarah Henry
Food is a fantastic teaching tool. Children can learn about math, chemistry, nutrition, biology, culture, history — you name it — all while playing with something that's both tactile and tasty.
And since eating is an everyday activity, food-related exercises help kids explore their environment through a medium that's fun and familiar. Adults can pass on their values about food, stress the importance of eating wholesomely, and encourage kids to learn to cook dishes they love as well as try something new as part of an edible education. The activity that follows can be adapted for any age group. Enjoy!
What could make that summertime staple ice cream even cooler to your first- or second-grader? The science behind shaking and making a liquid into a sweet, creamy solid.
Explain to your child that when freezing the liquid ice-cream mixture, ice keeps things cold because it absorbs heat energy from its surroundings in order to melt, changing from a solid to liquid. Adding salt to the ice lowers the freezing point of the ice so that even more heat energy has to be absorbed from the surroundings (in this case, the ice-cream mixture) for the ice to melt. When enough heat has been removed from the liquid mixture, it freezes and becomes a solid. The larger salt crystals take more time to dissolve in the water around the ice, which allows for even cooling of the ice cream.
Ask your child to jot down beforehand what he thinks will happen and why. As you eat the ice cream, discuss what happens when the temperature of something changes and it can't hold its shape, introducing the concept of liquids and solids.