From the Archive: Teaching with Snack Foods - Engage. Educate. Enjoy!

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A photo of a person using flour in a baking scenario

Who said teaching complex STEM concepts couldn't be as easy as pie—or perhaps as crumbly as a cookie?  Within the ATE community, some inventive educators have transformed everyday snack foods into meaningful learning opportunities. By utilizing everyday pantry treats, they present scientific and mathematical principles in ways that are not only more approachable for students but also delightfully delicious.

In this month's From the Archive blog post, we highlight three ATE projects and centers that have creatively used common confections as educational tools. First, a marshmallow becomes the focal point of a lesson on measurement and calculations. Next, chocolate chip cookies serve as a model for understanding the process and impact of surface mining and land reclamation. Finally, we delve into the practical and experimental aspects of candy making, discovering melting point, temperature, and emulsions. Each resource is crafted to engage, educate, and, of course, entertain.

Marshmallow Preparation: Measurement and Calculations 

This activity, published by Erie Community College, has students measure the dimensions of a cylindrically-shaped object, such as a marshmallow. Students also make "calculations of surface area, volume, and density of the cylindrically-shaped object." The activity includes a summary, learning objectives, a pre-lab assignment, theoretical background, a list of equipment and materials needed, and the activity procedure. 

For more archived resources by Developing an E-book and Other Interactive Instructional Materials for Technician Education in Vacuum Technology, visit the ATE Central resource portal.


Simulating Surface Mining & Reclamation with Cookies

This lesson, from the Northern Wyoming Community College District, focuses on the principles of surface mining and reclamation in coal mining using chocolate chip cookies (where the cookie represents the earth and the chocolate chips coal the students will be surface mining). Using tools provided, students diagram the 'resources' in their cookies, 'mine' resources, classify them, and reclaim the 'land'. 

For more archived resources by ETEP, visit the ATE Central resource portal.


Chocolate Factory: Melting Points and Emulsions

This collection from the Florida Advanced Technological Education (FLATE) Center includes two lessons intended to help students better understand the "general properties of melting points and emulsions." The first activity, intended for middle or high school, asks students to review emulsion principles and theory before giving them a 'design problem' to guide them in the creation of a candy bar based on what they know about emulsions. A second activity, intended only for high school classes, asks students to compare the composition and melting time of several different kinds of chocolate. Both activities utilize group work and experimentation, and expect the class to report back with findings and recommendations. 

For more archived resources by FLATE, visit the ATE Central resource portal.

  • education
  • science
  • technology
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Last Edited: May 28th at 12:27pm by Kendra Bouda

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