Homeschooling S.T.E.A.M.: Fruit – Blueberries

We continued on with our unit of fruit this week, using blueberries as our theme. Blueberries turned out to be a very easy topic, with lots of great book choices available.

We read four books again this week. I like to do between two and four, since that’s about as long as the little ones can pay attention. We started out with the absolutely adorable Blueberry Mouse by Alice Low. The little ones thought it was hilarious as the little mouse ate her house away and even funnier when they learned what her next house would be. We followed that up with two books about blueberry picking: The classic Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey (which I remember from my own childhood…) and a newcomer to the literary scene Blueberry Shoe by Ann Dixon. These two worked surprisingly well with the kiddos, actually keeping their attention all the way to the end. We finished up with a book that isn’t really about blueberries but led to some very interesting discussions about how we see the world. This was White Is for Blueberry by George Shannon, a “two-second” read that the kids wanted to look over again after I was done, so I know it was a hit.

We continued our haiku discussion, with each of us writing a few blueberry-themed haiku.

As you can probably tell, this topic made all of us very hungry! From now on we need to eat before we talk about fruit!

Luckily, science today involved edible results, so we were okay. Yep. Today we made blueberry muffins. They were a great introduction into two scientific topics: the three states of matter and the difference between physical and chemical changes.

We started out by looking at the different ingredients and voting on what state of matter was represented in each.

We had a bit of a debate about a few of the ingredients, though, leading to the conclusion that they are a mixture of solid and liquid. I thought this was quite insightful, especially coming from the six year old. Kids never cease to amaze me!

We did all agree that the powdery ingredients were solids, so the kids took turns measuring one ingredient each. 

We then used our hands to mix them together, noting how they mixed but didn’t really change. Definitely a physical change, the kids agreed.

Then we added the wet ingredients, again deciding this was a physical change. We also had an interesting discussion on how similar to the yogurt the coconut oil looked and how awful it would be if you ate the wrong one by mistake. These kids crack me up sometimes!

Pouring the batter into the muffin cups? Physical change. And they decided that the batter was a mixture of solid and liquid. I tend to agree, but I did require them to justify their conclusions​. That’s what makes the science stick, after all!

Half an hour later, we pulled the muffins from the oven. This time, they felt a chemical change had occurred, since everything about the muffins seemed different. They sure smelled great, that’s for sure!

Before I let the kids eat anything, we did a little dissection of a fresh muffin. We looked for examples​ of all three states of matter.

Solid was easy, since that’s most of the muffin, but they found liquid inside the blueberries, which was pretty exciting for them. Gas was a bit trickier, but the oldest one finally noticed the little air pockets and realized that they must have been made by gas released during the chemical changes that occurred in baking. Pretty astute observation, if I do say so myself. And then? Well, dear reader, we ate them. And they were perfect. Happy kids, happy teacher, happy family. They even cleaned up the mess without complaint. It really was fantastic.

Overall, this was a fun and educational topic… and quite delicious, too. Looking forward to next week, when the topic will be…LEMONS! 

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