Cooks Examine Chemical Properties

Joelle Nelson, News Editor

Stephanie Verbanszky’s Chemistry class is cooking up its final project, bridging the gap between science and practical living. Students will provide food, along with an activity and a presentation about their key ingredient.

Verbanszky said, “I think it’s a good way to connect chemistry, which can be very disconnected from real life, to real life, because everybody has to eat, everybody cooks, so it’s a way of hopefully making it real for people.” She has been doing the project for nearly 10 years, and usually gets positive feedback from her students.

Sophomore Roni Ayalon partnered with sophomore Sarah Carrasco for their topic: candy. Ayalon is an experienced chef, but vacillated between creating Reese’s Cups filled with marshmallows and Peppermint Bark decorated to look like Cookie Monster. “We wanted to do something that would be fun to share with the class but also not too time consuming,” Ayalon said. In the end, they decided on the chocolate bark.

The project consists of 3 parts; cooking, researching, and presenting. Students cook their food at home, then bring it to class on their presentation day. They share their food and teach the class what they have researched about one of their topics. Ayalon said, “We’ll be researching sugar’s properties and how it makes different candies depending on its temperature.”

“We’re probably doing a game show type thing, because we’re supposed to teach the class information about our topic so we’re thinking of doing either Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune,” Ayalon said.

Innovation was an important part of the project. Connor Gregg and his partner Ryan Yick set up a jousting tournament between 2 marshmallows in a microwave. “We made this slideshow with a bunch of facts about cooking sugar and how you make a marshmallow and then we made this video. We called it ‘Marshmallow Jousting.’ We gave marshmallows little toothpicks and had them battle it out in the microwave so that was pretty cool,” Gregg said.

“It was better than a test. I feel like we learned more about putting it all together at the end of [the project],” Gregg added.

“It’s always fun to see what students do every year, they do different things and its been good. I particularly enjoyed the caramelized sugar in front of the classroom, which smelled a bit bad afterward, but was a good visual demonstration for everyone to see all the stages of candy-making,” Verbanszky said.