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Food Science: Make Noodles to Test Viscoelasticity

How do you get your children interested in science at home? What can a parent with kids of varying ages do to get everyone excited about STEM concepts? At Iridescent, we’ve learned that food is an amazing tool for elevating a child’s interest in science! Cooking is an interactive, messy and (hopefully) delicious thing you can do at home to teach science concepts and conduct experiments. Kids of all ages enjoy making food with their family–2 year olds can help stir, 10 year olds can help with reading the recipe and teenagers can help with the hard stuff, like cutting. This is the first of four posts where we’ll discuss our food science recipes.

Ready to learn about viscoelasticity through noodle making? Happy cooking–be sure to let us know how it goes!

Our Food Science cooking supplies 


Teach your children how food impacts their bodies and about the property of viscoelasticity by making noodles!

Materials:

  • multiple types of flour–you can try wheat, gluten free, almond flour, white flour, etc.
  • multiple types of salt–you can try pink, sea salt, table, etc.
  • water
  • wax paper

Making the Noodles:

Noodle making is a great way to let your children explore measurements and different kneading/pulling techniques. Have them guess how much flour, salt and water to add to their mixtures and encourage variation. Giving them this freedom will greatly impact the way the noodles taste and their viscoelasticity–hopefully kids will start making the connection that different mixtures will produce varied results. So, in the vein of exploration, I’ll only give very basic instructions for this recipe.
  1. Mix your ingredients into a bowl, guessing how much of each will work best and adapting the measurements as you go.
  2. Knead everything together until dough isn’t terribly sticky
  3. Place dough on wax paper and pull the noodles into the shapes you’d like
  4. Put noodles in boiling water, boil until they float to the top
  5. Pull them out, let cool and enjoy!
  6. Make a new and improved mixture

Science of Noodle Making

Here are some ideas you can talk with your children about during noodle making:
Checking the viscosity (notice the lack of elasticity)
of different ingredients
  • Basic conversation about chemicals and the periodic table–food is a chemical that we put into our bodies to help build muscles and skin. Different types of food, i.e. proteins, sugars, grains, will create different results for our bodies.
  • The “chemicals” in noodles are starch and protein. Starch is special because it gives us lots of energy, protein helps us to strengthen our bones and muscles. Proteins also help us build enzymes, which do lots of things in our body like digest foods and make new cells. 
  • Viscoelasticity is a concept we see in noodles. Visco is the ability to resist deformation, elasticity is the ability to change back into into their original state after being deformed. When we pull noodles, we rearrange their molecular components and eventually will change their shape from a big dough ball to a recognizable noodle.

Resources

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