Sunday, December 3, 2017

STREAM - Creation and Chocolate

STREAM - a little type of activity we do at our co-op class, incorporating {Science - Technology - Religion and Reading - Engineering - Art - Math} that you might like to enjoy with your children at home, in a classroom, or even at Vacation Bible School. I am not a STEM professional - my background is in English, Drama, and Debate - but that just proves that even you can do STEM if I can do it!  Consequently, please let me know how you improve the activities, as many combined minds often produce better ideas.

You could use the Children's Bible Reader, but the temple connected to our co-op has a set of lovely creation icons in the narthex, so we took a little field trip to observe those. I didn't get photographs, but here is a similar series.

We pointed out the water in the beginning of creation. And the earth. I explained that God made things to be in the states of solid, liquid, and gas when he created the earth, and that is what we are going to learn about today.


Solids are hard, you can knock on them with your hand. Knock on the desk - is it a solid? Yes!

Liquids are runny and can pour. If we walked over to that water fountain and pressed the button, would the water pour out of the nozzle? That's right!

Gases are teeny tiny particles that float about and we can't always see them, but sometimes we can. Did you see your breath outside this morning when you walked to your car? That was a gas.

Let's practice. I'll show you a picture and you can put it in the right category: Solid, Liquid, or Gas.

Image result for helium balloon

The air inside a balloon?

The green cutting board?

The waterfall behind us?

The garden stone?

best humidifierSteam that comes out of the humidifier?

The children caught on pretty quickly, which was good because I was ready to get to the fun part of the lesson. You must have been wondering what any of this had to do with chocolate.

First, I sent them to wash their hands before we made cake pops balls. Then I brought out a package of melting chocolate and asked them if that was a solid, liquid, or gas? They knew it was a solid. We even knocked on it to feel how hard it was. But wait! Let's put it in the microwave for a minute or two! It helps to have an assistant for this. While the assistant melted the chocolate, which handily came in a microwavable container, I explained that we were going to make cake balls and we would start by crumbling up an entire cooked cake into a huge metal bowl and then mix those crumbs with some icing.

My high school Debate Team once made these to sell at lunchtime for a fundraiser, and I can tell you that these two flavor combinations were the favorites: 1) red velvet cake with cream cheese icing and 2) funfetti cake with vanilla icing. 

Since I had only three darlings doing the mixing, it worked for all them to have their gooey hands in the wide bowl at once. Then we rolled them into balls and placed them on paper plates. I do apologize for not having pictures of this, but my hands were pretty gooey too, too gooey to hold a camera. It was a requirement that I get in there and model how to do it, you know. They need to see it done - a great pedagogical truth for any subject, if only I would remember it all the time!

About this time, my assistant came back and showed us the melted chocolate. What is it now, children? Solid, liquid, or gas? As we spooned it up and watched it pour out, they all knew it was now in a liquid state. At this point, we glaringly separated ourselves from the professionals and just went for it, in several different methods, trying our best to coat each ball in chocolate. As we were trying very hard to do this, I remembered that it helps if you freeze the balls for an hour before trying to coat them in chocolate. Perhaps I should have re-read the instructions before doing the lesson - hmmmm. Also, I thought we had popsicle sticks in the craft cabinet but we did not! If we did, we would have inserted them into the balls and used them to facilitate dipping. Oh well, it mostly still worked for us.  I, for one, am proud of children's work that looks like children made it, as opposed to adults making it.

More importantly for you, if I can do STREAM activities or any arts and crafts projects - even with normal (for me) daily set-backs and teacher mistakes in planning - you can do it too!

We set aside our edible art until after lunch, to share with the rest of the students. We could not sell these junior varsity cake balls for a fundraiser, but we did make memories and the children loved the messy process. And that's what we are after in the long run, that the children learn to love science and God's wonderful universe.

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