(370b) Introducing Molecular Gastronomy in K-6 through a Hands-on Food Spherification and Spaghetti–Fication Experiment

Gupta, A., Rochester Institute of Technology
Valenzuela, P., Rochester Institute of Technology
Recruiting students in STEM majors to fill the gap in STEM workforce is a continued challenge, which can be addressed by introducing scientific principles through hand-on activities to the students at an early stage. In this talk, the design, implementation and assessment of a molecular gastronomy-related workshop modeled for sixth grade students will be presented. The students were recruited from local City School District program through Beyond 9.8, a K-12 initiative program hosted by Rochester Institute of Technology during the school year. The workshop introduced the concepts in molecular gastronomy through “food spherification and spaghetti–fication”. The contents of the workshop were 1) a pre- activity survey, 2) a short lecture on chemical reactions and the hands-on activity procedure, 3) hands-on activity to form spheres and spaghetti from fruit juice and, 4) post- activity survey. The participants included 15 female and 2 male students mostly from underrepresented communities. The long term goals of this program is to 1) design and implementation of a safe, reproducible, economical scientific hands-on activity, and 2) increased participation of local middle school students in summer programs at Rochester Instiute of Technology