Chemistry in the Kitchen

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In this kitchen chemistry activity, learners explore the chemistry of crystals by making sugar crystals, consider a common chemical reaction type responsible for the rising of muffins and cake in the oven, and study the cleaning power of soap. For some of the experiments, a molecular-level view is fostered using structural diagrams of the chemicals, along with a fun "cartoon" version of the reaction with molecules represented by colored shapes (both drawn and cut out). The activity is written to be part of a kit that can be checked out of the library, but can be done without the kit.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 7 days

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • white string or thread
  • wooden stick or long spoon
  • paper clip
  • water
  • sugar
  • small sauce pan
  • measuring spoons
  • spoon or stirrer
  • 2 beakers
  • plastic wrap
  • notebook
  • pen or pencil
  • baking soda
  • vinegar
  • graduated cylinder
  • pipette or dropper
  • 2 pieces of wax paper
  • lipstick
  • soap


  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
      • Units of Measurement
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Bonding
      • Chemical Reactions
      • Solutions
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
      • Liquids
      • Gases
      • Changes of Phase
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Shaw, Maisie ; Gomez, Maria


  • All rights reserved, Passport to Chemistry Adventure Program, Mount Holyoke College, 2010

Funding Source:

  • Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc.