Pancakes, Mixing Bowls, and Baking Powder, Oh My!

The latest and greatest STEM Challenge

I had this Brain Pop one night.
It happens to me all the time- just random thoughts of greatness.

I mean, sometimes, I think of great things and then they become a disaster. One day I will have to tell you about letting kids shave crayons in my STEM Lab. Yeah, well, trust me,  don't try it.

Anyway, back to my Brain Pop!  I was searching for something STEM related and came across a home-schooling mom's blog and she was showing all these really neat kitchen experiments she does with her very little kids. Made me think about what we could cook at school.... which led to thinking about cooking on a griddle, since I don't have a stove in the lab...but I do have a griddle .....which led to pancakes. Cause, that's why I even have a griddle, for pancakes.

So, I'm thinking...we are going to cook pancakes, but how can I make that an experiment or design challenge. Ha! Easy Peasy!

First, I found a recipe that did not include eggs. I really did not want to even contemplate having kids crack open eggs. I found one that used milk, water, oil, flour, sugar, and baking powder. This is good, right?

So, what's next? Well, I needed to reduce the recipe so that it made a very tiny pancake. Little bit of math, no problem.
I was very excited.

Onward, to the lab!

Big mistake. 
I truly expected that kids would know how to measure flour.

I even showed them to use the edge of a knife to level off the tablespoon. They could do it, but it took nine hundred years. They had never done this or were being very careful.
I don't know. It took way too long.

Then we cooked our tiny pancakes and tasted them.
Now, I know what you are thinking. I said the math to reduce the recipe was easy, but somehow I messed it up.
Wrong! I did the math correctly. I just PURPOSELY left out the baking powder in the first batch. The pancakes were flat and gummy and like rubber.
So, we talked about this and also about the chemical reaction of baking powder....

See how I got that Science in there.

Next, we tried again, but this time the kids added whatever amount of baking powder they wanted to add- but they did have to choose from four specific measurements.
I also had learned my lesson about the flour so this time I pre-measured it into little cups.
This time when we cooked the pancakes you could see something really odd happening...
Do you see it???

The kids were very excited as they watched those bubbles forming.
Got some science in there again!

Well, ultimately the testing of different measurements and keeping data of the results led each group to declare a certain amount of baking powder was the best. Some of them felt rather strongly that three-fourths a teaspoon was the best.
I knew it would be too much.
Did I tell them?

Next step...
They had to increase their recipe! Giant math problem as every measurement of ingredients had to be multiplied by 8- and these were fraction amounts.
Pretty clever how I got some math in this activity, don't you think?

The final batch of pancakes made a large pancake for every student. They brought toppings and ate until their little tummies hurt. The ones that used too much baking powder had giant biscuits instead of pancakes, but when you put chocolate chips and syrup on that it tastes pretty good!

I'd say we learned a lot!

What have you tried lately? Seriously, even our epic failures teach us something!


Tricks and Treats Blog Hop!

Well, Happy Early Halloween Friends!
Thanks for visiting the Tricks and Treats Blog Hop-
you are in for some

First the Tricks!
It's not really a trick, don't worry.
What you will find are tried and true tips, tricks of the trade, hints to help you.
Teacher's Tricks!

So, here's your Trick from me!

Just a tip from someone that has taught for 30+ years---
In your classroom have a Go-to-Game. This is something you can use during the last minutes of the day, when you have five minutes to fill, or when your class needs a reward.
My game is called "Silent Toss".
We use a rubber band ball I purchased many, many years ago.

You can also use a small foam ball.
It's very simple. Everyone stands and the ball is tossed from kid to kid. The rules are: You may not talk except for saying the name of the person to whom you are throwing the ball. You must say the name before you throw the ball. You must toss underhanded and the toss must be catch-able. If you break a rule or don't catch the ball you are out. If you talk, you are out. If you make a bad throw you are out. When someone is out kids are expected to say, "Nice try!" (We don't laugh at someone that is out and we celebrate great catches!)

Easy enough, right? Well, after a couple of minutes I add a new rule. I say, "Stop, put one hand behind your back. You can now only throw with one hand and catch with that hand and your body." The game continues!
After a couple of minutes I add a new rule- now you can only catch with one hand, no using your body.
Other rules we add as the game goes on:
When the ball comes to you you must bounce it into the air once and then catch it with one hand.
Next is the same thing but with two bounces.
If we need another rule added we try bounce it up in the air and twirl around one time and catch the ball. Eventually, we have a winner. There is never a prize- just the fun of being the winner!
You can add your own creative flair to this.
Kids love it! I almost always use it as a reward after we have worked hard for a week or so. I promise I have kids see me years after being in my class and they will ask if I still play that rubber band ball game!

Ready for your Treat!

In honor of my many TpT customers and followers of this blog let's have an October celebration!
I have seen the follower numbers and feedback numbers climb steadily. I am amazed to see over 500 TpT followers, over 1000 TpT feedbacks, and over 400 followers of this blog. You guys deserve something FREE, right!

I just completed an experiment extravaganza in my classroom using Gobstoppers and other hard-shelled candy.

This experiment with several pages of step-by-step procedures, helpful hints, and photos is available in my TpT store.
Your treat is that it is free just for today (October 3)!
If you missed this awesome treat keep reading. 

I would just love it so much if you could leave some feedback about the package! We had tons of fun with the experiments- which includes designing your own candy experiment with ideas generated from class discussion! Enjoy!

Every Friday for this month of October another treat awaits you. You will need to visit the homepage of my store to find out what it is! Just click on the Banner when you get there and you will go straight to the free product! Thank you so much for visiting my blog and my store!

Thanks for joining our Blog Hop- check out the other bloggers and see what Tricks and Treats await you!

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