Saturday, October 23, 2010

Designing an Experiment

We're studying chemistry this year and have been trying to do one experiment each week. A few weeks ago (October 7th, to be exact), we actually designed our own experiment with a control and everything! We were having trouble figuring out what to do (First Son really wanted to know why ducks quack, but that didn't seem like something we could pull off) when Kansas Dad suggested baking. Of course, something involving sugar and the oven is perfect for me! (And the kids, too.)

So we read The Magic School Bus Gets Baked in a Cake: A Book About Kitchen Chemistry and made some guesses as to what would happen if we made a cake without baking soda.

Here are our ingredients.

We mixed up the batter without baking soda, filled one pan, then added half the baking soda and filled the other pan. Those of you with a true scientific mind will notice immediately that I estimated the batter for the experimental pan (without baking soda, on the left) and badly. That's what happens when we're trying to make sure it gets in the oven before the baby wakes up and interrupts us. I would have offered to do the whole thing again, but First Son didn't seem to mind so we moved on.

Because I did not measure the batter into the pans, you can't take much from the height of the cakes, but you can see the one on the right cracked on the top because the baking soda made it rise.

Of course, the best part is the taste test!

First Son decided they both tasted pretty good. We certainly ate them both!

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