Chemistry is one of those topics that high school kids would really love to ditch. Chemistry is often relegated as the province of nerds. People would rather hang out at English class or even suffer through long, boring history lectures rather than mess around with beakers and tubes in a typical chemistry lab.
This is just the way kids think and, unfortunately, a lot of this is actually due to training. You have to understand that if you’re dealing with a child as young as 6 years old, that person has all the mental capacity needed to learn new stuff.
If given enough curiosity, kids would learn what they need to learn. They are very open, and they can absorb all sorts of concepts with a lot of ease. Not so with adults. Why? Adults actually have to filter new information based on their preexisting attitudes and biases.
In other words, we are the victims of our own preconceptions regarding a new concept. If we feel that a concept is hard, complicated, or problematic, guess what will happen to that concept when we try to wrap our minds around it? That’s right. It’s going to be slippery. It’s going to be very difficult, and we’re going to make things all that much harder on ourselves.
Not so with kids. If they have the right attitude, they can pretty much absorb anything. I remember when I picked up a book on Einstein’s general theory of relativity when I was 11 years old, I was able to memorize that book and tie it into how the theory of relativity worked based on Albert Einstein’s thought experiments.
When you introduce those concepts to an adult, they’re going to have a much tougher time. I know I would if somebody would try to teach me the theory of relativity now that I’m older. This is more due to attitude rather than to innate reasoning or learning skills.
How you perceive a body of knowledge or a piece of information plays a big role in how quickly you absorb and process that knowledge. Accordingly, if you want to teach your kids basic chemistry, present it in a fun way.
Don’t use stripped down concepts. Don’t sit them down and whip out some tubes and beakers and a burner. The formality of it all will probably scare them. They probably would assume the worst and this makes the learning process all that much harder.
By simply baking with your kids and then explaining to them what happens during the baking process, you can teach them very important basic chemistry concepts. In fact, when the dough rises, it is the result of a biochemical reaction.
When yeast, which are living organisms, digests sugar in crystallized form or in the form found in the milk in your recipe, they produce carbon dioxide gas. It is this carbon dioxide gas that makes the dough rise. You can explain these to your kids and point to the dough and you can see the expression on their faces as they notice that the dough is just getting bigger and bigger, thanks to basic organic chemistry.
Chemistry doesn’t have to be difficult. It doesn’t have to feel like you’re pulling teeth when you’re teaching chemistry to your kids. You can introduce all sorts of basic chemistry concepts by simply baking muffins with your kids.
The best part of all of this is that, after the chemistry lesson is over, everybody gets to sink their teeth into some tasty, fresh baked muffins. How awesome is that?
Make no mistake about it, using baking to teach your kids basic academic courses like math, chemistry, and other otherwise ‘difficult’ subjects can go a long way in maximizing your bonding time as a family. Have the whole family together playing around with measurements and have a good time together as you explain key concepts. The family that bakes together not only stays together, they also get to enjoy some awesome muffins baked with the best muffin pan and other baked goods in the process.
Many studies indicate that the more quality time children spend with their parents, the more disciplined and successful the kids can be in the future. Of course, success, in this context is defined as effectiveness. The kids become effective and know what to do at the right times. They might not be technically proficient but they know what they need to learn. In other words, they have the right attitude so they can eventually do a great job. Indeed, in most cases, the right attitude is more important than having the right aptitude.
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