The Science of Pie: Science Lessons for Homeschool

Learning combining science, food and fun. A great homeschool science lesson!

Pie - not the mathematical one, but the yummy one - can be a great science lesson. Learn the functions of different ingredients, how the ingredients react together, and the science behind a good pie.

The Science of Pie Lesson Plans

Age Appropriate: All ages, with more supervision for younger children.

Skills Needed: Common kitchen and cooking safety skills. Reading skills a plus.

Time Needed: Four lessons (recommended one day a week for four weeks), 1-2 hours a lesson, depending on size of group and ages of children.

kid-baking-pie

Ideas for Beginning:

  • Do this at home in your own family or invite other homeschoolers and their parents for a cooking day. If inviting other children, have an RSVP date. This will help in planning the amount of supplies needed.
  • If hosting a group, have teenagers on hand as helpers.
  • Have all supplies (measuring cups, rolling pins, ingredients) laid out before starting the lesson.
  • Have a large bowl or bag handy to throw trash in.
  • Pre-fill sink with warm, soapy water. Toss utensils and dishes in when done. They can soak while you finish the lesson. (Just remember not to use electrical appliances next to sink)

Lesson 1 - Easy, No-Bake Pies

Purpose:

  • To learn about the history of pies
  • Locate favorite local, regional, or world pies by area on a map.
  • Prepare a simple, no-bake pie to: a)become familiar with the anatomy of pies; b) become comfortable with process of preparing pies.
  1. Discuss the purpose of pie throughout time What’s Cooking America has a great read-through of the history of pie. Pull out a few fun facts.
  2. Review kitchen safety. (see Kids Cooking Activities for great lessons, tips, and videos)
  3. Game: Visit Home Baking Association’s “Easy as Pie” to find a great activity on favorite pies and US geography. Don’t live in the US? Research favorite pies of your region and divide your country into favorite pie regions. Going global? Pinpoint favorite pies from around the world on a globe or atlas.
  4. Bake: Look through your favorite recipes for a simple, no-bake pie, like pudding pies, no-bake fruit pies, or ice-box pies. Check the “Pie Guide” blog for additional suggestions.
  5. Eat!

Lesson 2: Crusts

Kids-happy-baking-pie

Purpose: Understand the science behind flour, water, and shortening in pie crusts.

  1. Review common crust ingredients (flour, water, shortening, salt). Baking and Baking Science is a great website exploring the way different ingredients interact in the process of baking (breads, cookies, cake, pie, etc…). The site offers some technical charts detailing proper ingredient ratios for perfect pies. However, of greater benefit are the short, simple explanations of the purpose of each major ingredient.
  2. Let children see, smell, and touch each ingredient as presented (throw away if touched).
  3. Activity: Demonstrate importance of flour quality in baking a pie crust. See Activity #3, “Pastry Science”, Experiment #1 at the Home Baker’s Association.
  4. Bake: A fruit pie, like the classical apple pie or cherry pie. Focus is on the crust. You can try one single-crust pie and one double crust pie.
  5. Eat!

Warning: Rolling out pie crusts is a messy business. Be sure protective clothing (aprons, old shirts) are worn and have plenty of paper towels on hand!)

Be sure to see More Pie Science for the conclusion of The Science of Pie lesson plans.