Issue 69 | July 14, 2014 | Put your Science where your Mouth is!


Even though it is mid-summer, we are enjoying hearing from you and studying the portfolios arriving.  This is the time of year when we can glean a lot of good information to pass on to the other NARHS families.  Together, we can help each other get better at what we do.

Featured family:   Austin, Anastasia and Jennifer Blanchard: Culinary Science that is Truly a Science



In the portfolio sent by Austin and Anastasia Blanchard was an excellent course description for Culinary Science, "This course will explore the science of food while helping the student gain basic culinary skills." 





The objectives included these:

  • To learn about gluten
  • To discover marinades, why we marinade and what they do
  • To study substitutions and why certain ingredients are in recipes
  • To learn about pickling and preserving foods
  • To learn about leavening agents
  • To learn what a thickening agent is and how to use it
  • To discover unique properties of eggs and how they react to different elements


Under What we did to learn this topic, was this explanation:

"We broke the year into 9 units and studied each unit by first researching it on the internet and then writing up a research paper.  Then we proceeded to test what we learned in the "lab" by choosing recipes, making them and writing up the observations."


Here is an example of one study conducted on the egg:

A diagram of the egg was drawn with these parts labeled - shell, outer membrane, inner membrane, vitelline membrane, blastoderm, yolk, air cell, chalazae, albumin.  In the lab write-up, these questions were answered:

  1. Why do egg whites respond better to whipping when at room temperature?
  2. Why won't egg whites whip if there is a drop of yolk in them?
  3. Why does a copper bowl cause egg whites to get so fluffy? What is the chemical reaction?
  4. What does cream of tartar and lemon juice do chemically to get egg whites stiff if you use a glass or stainless steel bowl?
  5. What chemically happens to egg whites when you use an aluminum bowl or wooden spoon?
  6. Why does adding sugar cause egg whites to not peak as firmly?
  7. Why does overbeating egg whites liquefy them?


For another project, Austin wrote a report on yeast that starts this way: "Yeast are a single-celled fungi that are related to a wide variety of other fungi that people are more familiar with, such as edible mushrooms, molds that are found on blue cheese, molds that produce antibiotics for medical use and common baker's yeast that are used to leaven bread. "  He goes on to explain the fermentation process that causes the bread to rise. 


In Anastasia's packet is a report written on properties and problems with gluten.  This is just a small portion of what they presented. 


Each of the units and reports were graded using the "Goals-based Grading Tool" (which can be found on the website) by the mom, Jennifer Blanchard, with lots of notes written and suggestions given.  Evidence for the course included all the written reports, pictures taken in the "lab", diagrams, and recipes.


This appeared to be an awesome science course, with lab. 


"I've always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come. I don't do things half-heartedly. Because I know if I do, then I can expect half-hearted results." - Michael Jordan