Recipe for fun: Fourth-graders learn the science behind baking bread

JHU's Montgomery County campus hosts Learn Bake Share event

Baking bread is about more than mixing ingredients, kneading dough, and cooking at the right temperature—it's about math, science, and reading, too.

That was the lesson fourth-graders learned last week. Approximately 200 students from Candlewood, Mill Creek Towne, and Rosemont elementary schools visited the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County campus to learn the art and science of bread baking in the King Arthur Flour Bake for Good Kids: Learn, Bake, Share program.

An instructor from King Arthur Flour taught student helpers how to make bread dough for loaves, pretzels, pizza, and cinnamon rolls. Students explored the role of carbon dioxide in bread baking, talked about the importance of fractions in measuring, and learned about yeast's role as a fungus that thrives on sugar.

The lessons align with the fourth-grade science curriculum on the changing states of matter, properties of matter, and the differences between mixtures and new substances. Learning science while baking shows students that science has practical applications.

King Arthur Flour donated enough ingredients and supplies for each student to bake two loaves of bread at home. One loaf was for the child's family, and students brought their second loaves back to donate to Interfaith Works in Silver Spring, which uses the bread to make French toast, croutons, sandwiches, and other items.

After students learned the chemistry of bread baking, they continued their hands-on science learning—scientists, nurses, students, teachers, and others from several local companies and educational institutions led the students through activities including how to extract DNA from strawberries, how to prepare a plate of healthy food, and the ins and outs of radiology and robotics, among others.

Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus organizes this annual event to expose students to science at an early age and to spark an interest in careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. The Adventist Healthcare Shady Grove Medical Center, Johns Hopkins Center for Biotechnology Education, Montgomery College, Rockville Science Center, and Suburban Hospital participated.