Kimberly Palizia, a fourth-grader at Goshen Elementary School in Gaithersburg, is looking forward to baking bread at home.
The 10-year-old and about 600 other fourth-graders from seven Montgomery County Public Schools attended a lesson on bread baking and Hands on Science activities at Johns Hopkins University Rockville campus May 22 and 23.
“My favorite part of the day was learning how to make bread and the different recipes, like pizza and cinnamon rolls,” Kimberly said.
Cutting the cinnamon rolls got applause and gasps of awe from the students watching Paula Gray, life skills bread baking program manager for King Arthur Flour Company. Gray showed the students how to cut a perfect roll using dental floss rather than a knife, and they started clapping.
“I love when the kids get excited when I pull out a bowl of dough that has risen or the cinnamon roll cutting,” Gray said.
For most of the students, Gray’s demonstration, done with student helpers, was their first look at how bread is made and the science involved.
“This fits with [learning] different states of matter. We want to start as early as possible to have students understand that science has practical applications,” said Elaine Amir, executive director of Johns Hopkins Montgomery County. “Science is not just in a classroom.”
The students learned about using fractions, measuring, condensation, time management and critical thinking skills, all in the time it takes to make one loaf of bread.
They also got to meet scientists from 11 other organizations, each offering practical science applications in different ways.
They got to pedal a bicycle trying to generate enough energy to light a light bulb; test foods for radioactivity; make raisins dance; fill a plate with nutritious foods; and take their pulse while resting and after jumping rope.
Nicole Yana Kiev, 9, and Harleen Kaur, 10, from College Gardens, tested liquids for acidity.
“It’s really cool, I love science,” Nicole said.
Alex Sarakul and Neal Machado, both 10, particularly liked the robots at the National Institute of Standards and Technology table.
“The robots are brilliant,” Alex said, “There is a computer inside that controls it.”
At the end of the session each student went back to school with a backpack filled with ingredients and instructions for making bread donated by King Arthur.
“And they get to eat their homework,” Gray said.