Respiration in Plants – Live Proof

respiration in plants science activity

Do Plants Breathe? Do a simple science experiment with your kids to show respiration in plants. 

respiration in plants science activity

On a winter Sunday afternoon, my daughters and I were taking a stroll in our garden, enjoying the sun. Always ready to pounce on opportunities to make my girls learn something new or be curious about something, I keep myself armed with some questions, interesting trivia or experiment ideas.

That day we were looking at our plants and I was showing them how different each one is. My younger one plucked a Hibiscus flower, and the conscientious older one was upset about Tisha picking flowers! Agreeing that it was wrong to pick flowers, I said, however, “Lets put this flower to good use and do an experiment with it!  Let me pluck few leaves as well!” This is how we embarked on learning about whether plants breathe.

The Question – Do Plants Breathe?

(The answer – Yes, they ‘respire’ through pores on their surface of leaves, petals, etc., and called stomata).

Both the girls knew, in their own ways, that plants are living things. So I remarked to them, “If they are alive, they also probably breathe!” The older one immediately piped in, “Teacher told us that we breathe in oxygen and give out carbon dioxide when we breathe out. The teacher also said that we get oxygen from plants, so we should save them.” The younger one got interested but could not catch on with what the older one said. So all three of us did a couple of deep-breathing exercises right then! (Remember – You need to keep kids interested and engaged and hence try different things, especially if there are two or more age-groups involved).

Now we had established that breathing (we did not venture into ‘respiration vs. breathing’) involved taking in some ‘air’ and then giving out some ‘air’.

I had to now show my children that plants too did this, not through any nose, but through their surface. 

See How Can You Change Color of a Flower

The Experiment – How we Explored the Question in detailed steps

So this is what we did.

Respiration in plants things we need

I requested Pritika to bring a glass bowl from inside the house, reminding her to be careful with the glass. (Although any bowl would do, glass makes it easier to observe things).

I pour water in the bowl and asked the younger one to place leaves in the bowl. I had told her to be careful and not crumple the leaves and place it in the water gently and keeping it horizontal. I pushed it down slightly so that the leaves were submerged in the water.

drop leaves in water respiration of plants science experiments

We then had to leave it alone, without disturbing it, for about an hour. They were both inquisitive and impatient about what was going to happen and kept keeping a watch over the bowl. I was happy – they were gaining some observation skills and building their patience. I did not answer any of their questions because next I wanted them to make more observations and try to infer things themselves.

dip leaves in water respiration activity

In less than an hour, I could see what we were meant to – bubbles on the surface of the submerged leaves, and some bubbles rising to the surface of the water. I did not point this out and waited, hoping they would notice the change themselves. They did! They both saw the bubble as they started rising to the water surface and asked if that was what was supposed to happen. Excited myself, I said, “What could the presence of bubbles mean? If that answers our question about plants breathing, then yes, this is what the experiment was about, otherwise, we have to wait for some other change.”

first bubble proof respiration plants

After a while, I did have to give them a clue – “What are inside bubbles?” “Air!” jumped the older one; grasping the answer at once after that and then she explained it to the younger one. Our day was made and we ended with several more questions? – Will the same thing happen with flowers? Will it happen with all plants? Will it happen with fruits? Will it happen at night as well (this from the older one because the teacher had told them that plants give oxygen during the day)?

appearance of more bubbles respiration in plants

So we repeated the experiment with flowers this time.

flowers breathing experiment dip in water

We could see air bubbles coming out of flowers as well as a proof of respiration.

flowers respiration breathing experiment bubbles in flowers

Science Behind how plants breathe

The petals that were submerged, were still ‘breathing’. When they released the air (breathed out), little bubbles formed on the surface, because the plant was in another medium, water (Is this not a clever way of ‘seeing’ air?!). Since air is lighter than water, the bubbles also rose to the surface of the bowl.

Let me explain a few scientific words related to this context respiration in plants

  • Cellular respiration in plants – respiration in which carbon dioxide is absent is called cellular respiration. Cells respire in this situation.
  • Photosynthesis – the process through which leaves make food on their own is called photosynthesis. The plant uses sunlight, carbon dioxide, water, and minerals to prepare food.
  • Stomata – pores which allow the plant to respire. Through stomata only the leaves are able to take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen.
  • Diffusion – in plants the food prepared by leaves is distributed to all parts of the plant through diffusion where single-cell carries the food to all parts of the plant body.

respiration of plants plants can breath experiment

Word of Caution

Carrying out any experiment with kids needs caution. This experiment is no different. However, let me list the few areas where you need to focus on.

Use a glass bowl for more visibility. But you need to be very careful to let kids deal with them as they may cause damage if they fall down.

Next, with plants, you need to select the right plant that will not cause any toxicity for kids. Not all plants are good hence exercise caution. Don’t let kids pick plants from the garden on their own.

Suitable For

Four-year old pre-school children are exposed to very basic ideas about living and non-living things. Some of them may be taught things like – ‘plants also have life’, ‘plants are helpful for us’, ‘you should not harm plants and flowers’, ‘they “feel pain” too’ etc. It is easier for them to relate to other humans and animals, and even birds. Plants are similar to us in some ways! is too hard a concept for them to grasp. On top of that, they then build their own notions – we breathe through our noses, animals also have noses and breathe through those, plants don’t have noses.

Leave alone four-year-olds, even older children at least up to the age of eight, may not even think of the question of whether plants breathe. Eight-year-old children, i.e. those probably in class 3, would have studied a bit more about differences between living and non-living things, but even they do not really explore this question or become curious about how they breathe if they don’t have noses.

Girls are more inclined towards playing with flowers and plants, hence this activity was thoroughly enjoyed by them. This, however, is a function of how we bring up our children and what they see around them! No stereotype here. Hence, it can be equally interesting and productive with boys.

Final thoughts

I am glad to let you know all these details and now it’s time for you to put this in action with your kids. Feel free to share your comments and also let us know if we missed any details related to this experiment.

We will come back with another experiment soon!

Spiny Leaf Phasmids : Secret Life of Pets (DIY Enclosure Steps!)

secret life of spiny leaf phasmids

Few of you might wonder to know that an insect is a pet of my family. Yes, we are four of us, my two little school going daughters less than 10 years old, my techy husband and a busy homemaker, running around all through the day, taking care of kids, playing with them, ambitious to make them understand science concepts at the young age, etc. Hmm, that’s all about me.

Yes, I love keeping myself busy as a bee and more than that desire to make my kids learn things with practical experience. This is how we started developing love towards the pets and we have the usual pet animals the dog and cat at home. But that did not stop and I had a chance to get Spiny leaf phasmid from one of my friends and these insects have become so close to my kids.

I know it’s enough for an intro about our pet loving family. Now, let me tell you about what is this spiny leaf insect, why it is called so, how it becomes a great pet, and why kids love them more, as well finally will let you know how to make an enclosure to grow this insect at home.

Feeling excited? I am very much as I am going to share great inputs about the insect and the enclosure I did.

 

What is Spiny Leaf Phasmid?

secret life of spiny leaf phasmidsImage Credit: Wikipedia

These are tiny insects that feed on leaves and have the ability to camouflage. They are present in Australia and they resemble an ant or a Scorpio. But don’t worry as they don’t bite or sting. They are absolutely harmless. They hatch from the female egg and become a nymph and then an adult insect.

You may want to ask why they are called phasmids. I am coming to that now. Insects that have irregular metamorphosis and have phytophagous habit then we call them phasmid. Again I get your thoughts, too many technically words on a kid’s science experiment blog. No, don’t think like that this is an age when you can teach those new words and explanation for they will remember forever. I am a proud mom who is doing this since the birth of my first daughter and both my daughters can spell any word and remembers the synonyms too.

Coming back to the explanation, metamorphosis is the process that takes place from birth of an insect until it grows big in stages. Spiny leaf phasmid has irregular by this I means that they hatch from the egg, then become a tiny insect within 3 hours resembling ant and called a nymph. Within the next few days develops to a mature spiny leaf phasmid. That’s very quick indeed and they don’t go through the entire insect growth lifecycle.

One more hard word here is phytophagous which means insects that feed on leaves and survive. This is all about this tiny little insect. Let’s explore more in the coming sections.

 

Why are they called great pets?

spiny leaf phasmids great pets for kids
Image Credit: Wikipedia

They are harmless and that is the primary reason they become the best friend for people. They can grow only with leaves as their food and a few drops of water. This way it is easy to maintain them. They look like dried leaves and become a great decorative ornament when grown in house. Above all kids love to play with them and thus I call it a great pet.

 

Some exciting facts about this little phasmids

 

There is not one but many fascinating facts about this insect. Let me tell you one by one and feel glad that you can use these inputs to let your kids understand the science behind insects.

 

  1. Parthenogenesis

 

The female insects do not require male for reproduction. They lay eggs and those eggs can be male or female spiny leaf phasmids. Which means these insects will clone the mother or their siblings. But there is no role for a male insect in reproduction.

 

  1. Given birth by Spiny Leaf but hatched with the help of Ant

 

The egg that falls down from the mother insect will fall on the ground and ant will misinterpret that as its food and carry them below the soil. However, it helps the egg to be protected and also ants eat their shells as food while the egg hatches into a nymph.

 

  1. Nymphs look like an ant

 

Then they crawl like an ant and also look like ant hence protecting them from insect-eating birds. There are few birds that eat insects but not an ant. So these tiny little nymphs are safe to travel on the tree and start eating leaves for food to grow. They consume water from the droplets of the leaf to quench their thirst.

 

  1. Camouflage

 

They can change color to match the living environment and hence stay without being harmed by other creatures. It looks like a dry leaf and hence called a spiny leaf insect.

 

  1. Giant spiny or prickly stick insect

 

It is also called a giant spiny or prickly stick insect as sometimes it resembles a stick.

 

Why do kids like to pet spiny leaf insect

spiny leaf phasmids australian walking stick petImage Credit: Wikipedia

Kids love these insects because they are small and do not harm. They feel good when they move on the kid’s hands or dress. They provide great time pass to kids and also allow kids to watch them eat and grow.

 

However, I like this insect very much and can you guess why? Yes, because I can grow this at home teach kids about the entire lifecycle. My daughters love the way I tell them because there is no theory and everything is practical. My kindergartener and preschool going kid both know the entire lifecycle of not this insect but all insects. Thanks to Spiny Leaf Phasmid that helped me teach my kids these lessons easily. Trust me you can try this too!

 

I got you now and you are wondering how to grow a spiny leaf phasmid at home?

 

Don’t worry let me explain you in the coming section and at the end, you will feel glad to follow me making a DIY enclosure for the spiny leaf insect to grow them at home and make kids learn science.

Here is an interesting video: 

 

Step by step method to create an enclosure at home for Spiny Leaf Phasmids

 

There are two aspects to grow these pets. First one is buying them and the next is to make an enclosure to grow them. You can choose to buy the egg or insect from the bug shops and even online from Australian insect selling shops. For instance, you can check www.terrificscientific.com for purchasing. Let me tell you how to grow them and also will tell you how to preserve the eggs laid by the female insects and allow them to hatch.

 

  1. Get a basket ready – This can be a mesh type dustbin or you can make one by arranging the wooden frames with mosquito mesh. However, it must be of a minimum size of 40 X 30 X 30 cm in dimension. The female insect will of 110mm long and you need to make your enclosure thrice longer than this to allow them to move freely. If using a mesh type bin, then close the top with a mesh using a rubber band. In case you make a wooden cage then you can refer a fly screen cage and make one like that.
  2. Prepare food – Then get a bottle or a flower vase and fill water into that. Place that into the cage and make sure they have a lid. But the lid must contain a hole to insert the eucalyptus leaves with the stem. Yes, this is the food to your insects. You can place the insect in the cage and it is free to move around and you can also enjoy with your kids seeing them from outside.
  3. Grow the eggs – Arrange for a plastic box filled with mud or tissue paper. Close the box with its cover. But they must have small openings all through the lid to give room for air circulation. Take the egg from the cage soon after it is laid and place it in the sand or tissue paper and water them regularly. Close it with the lid but they won’t suffocate due to the presence of the holes. Wait for up to 2 years to see the insect hatching from the egg. Few eggs hatch quickly but others might take time.

 

It is this simple to make an enclosure for the spiny leaf insect. Before I forget let me tell you a few points to remember.

 

  • Ensure there are no chemicals or pesticides on the eucalyptus or the bramble leaves which are the food for the insects. These chemicals might turn out to be poison to those small creatures.
  • Make it a point to spray water often on the leaves and that will help insects to douse their thirst. Do not place any water glass inside the cage to save your time spraying as the insects might fall into the water and die. You must spray water.
  • Let the mesh be closely knit otherwise the insects will easily escape from the cage.
  • Make a separate cage for nymphs till they grow as an adult insect with a much smaller net because they can come out easily.
  • Change the leaves periodically once in 3 days and a maximum of 5 days as the nourishment is required for the insects to survive. Remember to the fill water in the vase or the jar where the leaves are placed.

 

Final thoughts

I am happy to share my experience with you and want you to grow Spiny Leaf Phasmids to teach entomology (the study of insects) to your kids and have fun too with these tiny little pets.

Did I miss this information? I am not sure and my apology if it is a repeat. Female insects cannot fly and only make spiny leaf phasmids can fly.

Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas : Nature Learning for Kids

Koalas Port Douglas

This post is part of our excursion ideas where kids are entrusted to learn animal biology. Let’s dive in. 

Wildlife habitat is the place where you can find different species of animals and birds. I always prefer taking my kids to such a place during a vacation to educate them about different habitats.

The Wildlife habitat in Port Douglas is my all time favorite place.

There is so much to see and learn in that place. Kids are allowed to touch and feed animals including pelicans, crocodiles, pythons, and kangaroos. The highlight is the photo sessions with the koalas. Yes, we had fun interacting with kangaroos and koalas the featured animals of Australia.

Koalas Port Douglas
Image:Source

Let me share my detailed review about this place and you will understand the need for taking your kids to this place. We will start one at a time and first know how to reach there, the ticket details and the timings. Then we will also see what the things that kids should not miss visiting there?

Where is it located? – Nearby the Captain Cook Highway and that is just 3 miles in the south of the central Port Douglas. Shuttle services are there as well you can drive on your own and park the vehicle in the parking lot.

Children under 3 are not charged and a family of four can include one kid for free of the cost entry ticket. There are tickets for adults, kids, and family. Each offers concession based on the package.

You can reach there by 8 AM and stay till 5 PM. However, a quality 2 hours time is required to spend. When you go with kids make sure you don’t rush them and they can enjoy the more time they spend there. You can purchase a ticket which is valid for five days and you can make an advance booking. But yes once you visit, then the ticket validity gets over.

Things that would interest kids

It’s obvious that kids feel interested to see each animal and depending on the children age, they will have fun. Smaller kids will love to see animals; little older kids can understand the science behind animals. To which family they belong to, their food habits, their behavior, etc will be observed by kids. Overall, every age group kid will have fun with animals.

Special attractions inside the wildlife habitat

Grassland Environment
   Image:Source

  • Native Australian Wildlife

You can witness several animals which are native to Australia. For instance, the kangaroos and koalas are marsupials which are found only in Australia. Likewise, there are many animals with different qualities.

  • Rainforest Habitat center

There are more than 180 species in the wildlife habitat and is divided into 3 environments namely the grassland, wetlands, and the rainforest. The rainforest contains the tropical birds namely the rainbow lorikeet, cockatoo, mysterious cassowary, and the kookaburra.

Rainforest Habitat center
  Image:Source

  • Wetland Environment

Here you can find crocs that are found in the salt water and fresh water. Kids can learn about them, their lifestyle, etc.

  • Grassland Environment

The kangaroos and koalas are roaming around and it is easy to interact with them. Even kids can touch them and have fun.

Highlights of Wildlife Habitat

Artamus leucorynchus Port Douglas

Image:Source

Apart from the usual zoo, this place offers a different kind of experience where you can join for the breakfast and lunch of the birds and animals respectively.

  1. Breakfast with Birds – Yes, when you are available between 8 and 10 in the morning it is the breakfast time for the birds and you can accompany to feed them. Make sure you book for this session in advance as the seats are very limited. Kids will feel excited to take part in this activity. They will observe the eating pattern of different birds and that experience cannot be given if you miss this activity.
  1. Lunch with Lorikeets – Again another special event for kids to have fun with is the Rainbow Lorikeets. You can feed them directly during the time duration of 12 Noon and 2 PM. You can have your lunch with these birds. The colorful lunch session with these birds is mind-blowing.
  1. Koalas Selfie – Yet an exciting experience is to take a selfie with the koalas and its really fun. Kids will have so much joy to hug these marsupials and take photos. Ensure to educate kids not to hurt animals. We know sometimes little kids become naughty too.

What else can be done by kids in the Wildlife Habitat?

kids in the Wildlife Habitat
  

Image:Source

Is there anything else I need to tell for kid’s fun in the wildlife habitat? You may think that they had too much already. But the fact is there is much more. More than 1600 animals are present there and kids can visit many numbers of times. You can ask them to make a note of animals every time they visit and understand about each one in detail. This will make them responsible to observe all in detail.

The long crossway allows kids to run on the ground and it is a great way to spend their vacation with animals.

Elvis is a black cockatoo that is waiting to talk to people and always wait near the café. Do you know why? That is the place where every visitor drops by.

The buffet is another special attraction for kids in this place. They can fill their tummy to go around one more time.

Finally, comes the gift shop from where you can purchase some souvenirs and they are a great gift to your family members and friends. Several reference books about animals and birds and toys make feel kids say wow about this place.

Port Douglas Kangaroo
Image:Source

Educational Values Offered in Wildlife Habitat

Kids can gain the following values by attending this place and you must understand them to provide support to little ones.

  1. Language Development – When kids move around the place they talk with parents and start asking questions about animals. This will improve their speaking ability and also the thinking ability. Provide an explanation and engage with kids to improve their vocabulary.
  2. Family time – They will not only understand animals and their family but also know the value of living beings and family time. They can learn from animals about love and care. How do the baby animals move along the parent animal etc?
  3. Food habits – The feeding time will educate about the food habits of birds. They can feel fear-free to move close to birds. Fear of animals will be reduced when you often take them to this place.
  4. Environmental Protection – Kids will learn about different species that do no longer exist. They will start thinking about protecting animals. They may not harm animals and will start conserving them. Sense of responsibility is inculcated at a young age.
  5. Physical Exercise – Making them walk around is an exercise and without knowing they will move to visit all animals. This will enhance gross motor skills and build stamina.

Places nearby Wildlife habitat

Four Mile Beach – Will kids ever tell no to the beach. Certainly not and kids will love to have a great time in the sand. It is possible to walk, run and even cycle. Can you imagine cycling in the sand? Yes, but be careful when there is heavy tide there. The different session conducted there include yoga classes, kite surfing, kayak hire and so much more.

Four mile Beach
Image:Source

During the low tide days, you can see beautiful corals and fishing is the best time pass activity there. Kids can merrily enjoy catching fish and the best place to visit during the summer season.

Turtles are seen sometimes and kayak sport event is an adventurous one which will even enthuse adults to go there often.

Sea Temple is a calm place well suited to visit with family.

Great Barrier Reef – Best experience for kids and adults of all age. Kids will initially hesitate but once they start experiencing they will refuse to come out of water. Will have an excellent time with the fish and fear of water as well as sea animals evaporates.

Reef boat lunch experience watching whales, sharks and turtles make you feel glad about your decision to visit Port Douglas.
Great Barrier Reef
Image:Source

Low Isles

Go for a short trip with the low isles and enjoy snorkeling with a great trip in the wave dance. Here you can, even more, have fun than going in a reef boat. But the choice is yours. Do you need more fun than these places? You must try visiting these places to enjoy holidays with kids.

Things that would interest kids

Image:Source

Upcycled Catapult – STEM go green DIY Challenge

You can now make an upcycled catapult easily. With the right projectile ready you can now teach Fun physics for kids.

Easy DIY Upcycled Catapult - science play for kids

We are going to be part of the 4 weeks STEM challenge. It is running for 28 days with hands-n science activities. Every week they will announce a new theme and under the Go Green theme, we are going to make a DIY. GO green is nothing but an eco-friendly experiment with some science concepts involved in it. Your kids can have fun and you can feel glad to teach them science. We will be using upcycled items which are available at home. Also, it is part of 10 minutes activity and you need not spend much time.

Suitable For

It is an experiment with logic and fun so you can try with all age group kids. How will different age group find it useful is listed below.

Toddlers – Can have fun with the activity but make sure you are using a soft projectile

Preschoolers – These kids can try changing different projectiles and understand which one goes high and far.

Kindergarteners  – They will do the catapult on their own and can try with different items to find the best make. Try using projectiles of different size and shape to understand the science behind the experiment. Also, will try to move the fulcrum or use a long beam and find the effects. You can fix targets to hit and score them to announce the winner.

Things required to make the DIY catapult

    • Cardboard tube which is strong (preferably an empty toilet tissue roll)
    • Hair elastic
    • Projectile
    • safety glass (optional)
    • Wooden spoon

Making a DIY catapult using recycled materials

Check the tube that is available at home. The one I used is the toilet tissue roll which will be thrown after use. If not use a rolling pin and that will do the job.

Loop the elastic on the cardboard tube two times. In the place where the elastic gets crossed insert a wooden spoon and fix it. So at the end of the spoon you can keep the projectile.

With this basic catapult model you can start your experiment and choose the projectile. For toddlers use a crushed paper and that will be soft. Also, can be played indoor without any fear of damage. Indeed it is one of the best rainy day activity.

Where did it go Experimenting with projectiles
Indoor science fun with DIY catapult and projectiles

Try this activity outdoor when playing with preschool kid. Try with pinecones or seed pods as the projectile.

With these projectiles, you need not worry about any damage caused to the neighbor’s house.

Also, we suggest you to use the safety glass and protect kids eyes. You can check this to know about safety glass.

Upcycled eco-friendly catapult - science fun for kids

I have tried this several times as my kids love to do this at home and outside. It’s really a fun activity. You can also try this and have fun.

DIY Upcycled lever catapult - fun science activity for stem goes green

Fun Science

This is a lever and the science behind this is similar to a simple machine. It consists of a beam, the spoon handle is the beam. It is fixed to the fulcrum (cardboard tube) at one point with the help of the elastic. Imagine a seesaw that works on the same principle.

The lever will affect the effort required to raise something. Vary the distance between the fulcrum, force, and the load (projectile) to test the height traveled by the projectile.

This experiment is listed under 4 weeks of STEM challenge. Take a look and you can find many activities for kids.

Easy DIY Upcycled Catapult - fun science activity you can do at home, indoors or outside. Great STEM activity for kids

How to make Curds and Whey

Here is the cool science activity that is kids-friendly. This time I am going to demonstrate how to make whey and curds using different juices.

Lets Make Whey Curd edible science experiment for kids
We have been curious to know about whey and curds. You can now learn to make the same with this recipe. Being an edible science experiment , It increases fun for your kids. 

Hope you are excited and wondered since it is a simple cool science experiment as well as a great introduction to kids learn ‘milk chemistry’ i.e. how milk turns into various products like cheese, curd, butter, whey, and butter milk etc. when treated with different methods.

My younger daughter Tisha is 3.5 years and she wanted to make curd. So I decided to try this DIY curd recipe at home.

 

Who is it for

3-4-year-old kids can make this experiment with little guidance and they will like this because of that rhymes. In fact, I took help from my kid Tisha while doing this. 

5-6-year-old kids will do it little more independently. 

7-9-year-old kids can experiment with the working principle by substituting with milk types including raw milk, skim milk, goat milk, etc. Also, they can use different edible acid like lemon juice in the place of vinegar. Even they can try changing the length and draining time to observe the results. They can additionally take these observations and prepare ricotta-filled cannelloni.

How to make whey and curd using juices

The generic name for whey and curd is called curdled milk. The solid portion separated from curdled milk is called curd and the watery portion is called the whey. The process of curdling of milk can be done in different methods and based on that you will get a different quality of cheese. Our method of getting curd is called ricotta cheese. We can make ricotta cheese by combining milk and vinegar. You can recall recipe used for making paneer and queso-blanco for making this recipe.

Coagulation is a process (of changing liquids into solid or semi-solid states) what actually happens in the milk. In fact, without coagulation you cannot expect milk turn into curd, cheese or any other dairy products that are mandatory in our daily usage or kitchen. Yes, this is absolutely proven science regarding milk.

Apart from this, we can make milk curdle without spoiling it. Try this simple science activity to find out how!?

Procedure

We are going to make milk curdle using four different liquids like vinegar, pineapple juice, lemon juice and mosambi juice.

Things Required

Things We Need for making whey

    • Milk
    • Glass jar
    • Glass Bowl (Take four clean and clear glass bowls as we are going to make milk curdle using four different liquids)
    • Spoon
    • Pineapple juice
    • Vinegar
    • Lemon juice
    • Mosambi juice

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Certainly, don’t leave out your little one who is going to help you in making curds and whey.

Preparation

  • Take the milk in a saucepan. Place it on the stove top and stir while it is getting heated. Let the flame be low and allow it to reach a temperature of 80oC (175oF). You can check this with the thermometer. 
  • Take freshly prepared juices to get the better results. Make sure the milk is hot and fresh.
  • Label four of the small glass bowls like “pineapple juice”, “lemon juice”, “vinegar”, and “mosambi juice”.
  • Take fresh pineapple, lemon, and mosambi and grate them into smaller pieces. Make juice out of it using any blender or juicer.

What to do

Have you ever ended up with something closer to cottage cheese while making pineapple smoothie!? Definitely the answer would be ‘yes’!! You might be blaming pineapple for spoiling your smoothie. Do not know whether you know the right reason to blame pineapple. But you are right, pineapple is the solely reason for turning milk into curd and whey.

pour milk into the bowl

1) Take a required quantity of hot milk in the glass bowl labelled ‘pineapple juice’. Ask your little ones to add a few drops of freshly prepared pineapple juice into the hot milk.

Making whey with pineapple juice

2) My girls were amazed seeing the wonderful end result of the activity. Soon after you add few drops of pineapple juice to the hot milk, the milk will turn into curd separating the whey clearly.

How to make whey using vinegar

3) In the same way, repeat the above two steps with lemon juice, vinegar and mosambi juice in the labelled glass bowls we already kept ready.

Making whey using mosambi juice

4) Anybody irrespective of ages will be fascinated seeing the final product of the activity. Yes, all our four different liquids make milk curdle very clearly separating whey.

Separating curds and whey

Separating ricotta cheese curds from whey

Making Curds and Whey Kitchen Science for Kids

Science of making whey and curd using juices and milk

Milk is a slightly acidic complex compound made up of fat and proteins together with casein. The pH of milk ranges between 6.4-6.8. When the milk’s pH drops (it might be due to any reasons like souring naturally or by adding extra acid), the negatively charged casein starts attracting another molecule and begin to form clumps. Eventually, the clumps become large which are considered as curd. Since all the juices we used in the activity are acidic making the milk more acidic (when added to it) and further turns to curd and whey.

What to explore

  • Ask your kids to change the quantities of milk and juices and try the activity.
  • You can try with different kinds of vinegar
  • Also try with different kinds of milk like skimmed milk, whole milk, soya milk etc.
  • Make a record and compare the results.

Clean up

Also tell kids some clean up activity after the work is done. You can ask them to keep the work area clean by cleaning the used bowls and pouring all the waste solutions in the sink. This way kids also learn keeping things clean and neat.

Tisha’s role in this experiment was to help to get the ingredients, measuring milk and pouring. However, I did not let stir because it was hot.

Curds and Whey Kitchen Science for Kids

In case your kids are older, then you may ask them to mix. But be with them and help them.

I checked the temperature and switched off the stove.

She was proud that she helped in adding vinegar too.

I was so glad that making cheese is a damn easy process. Not more than 30 minutes we spent to get this done. By only using things available at home we made this cheese. Also, it is the best activity to be performed indoor during the rainy day.

Also, you can make it in small quantities and these are fresh every time. Do away with the store bought cheese from now on. There is no need to store it anymore as you need 30 minutes time to prepare this for your meal. When there are more milk packets, then convert them into cheese and have a treat. Are you thinking of what to do with the whey? Try these suggestions and stay healthy. 

Why curds and whey get separated

Milk contains minerals, fats, proteins, sugar, and water. The proteins present in milk include whey and casein proteins. These are all combined together forming a colloid. The colloid will not settle down together and hence gets separated in this process when adding vinegar.

Molecules in protein repel each other at a normal pH level. When the pH drops, the immediate casein proteins attract with each other and form a clump to become curd. This process is called curdling and the water left out is called whey.

You can drop the pH level in milk by adding buttermilk, lemon juice, vinegar, etc. We have tried it with variety of juices. In a nutshell, adding acid will curdle the milk. Heating is required to speed up the process.

How do you separate whey from curd?

Take a cheese cloth muslin cloth as a strainer. Place it over a bowl and pour off the mixture of whey and curds. It takes few minutes for the whey to drain. Squeeze the curd that is strained in the muslin cloth until all the whey separates out from the curd. 

Does curd contain whey?

Whey is the leftover liquid after the milk is curdled ans strained. So, curd doesn’t contain whey anymore.

What exactly are curds and whey?

Curd and whey are the by products formed during cheese making. Curds are formed when the milk coagulates with rennet (an enzyme). Whey is nothing but the liquid that is expelled while curdling process. 

How do you separate milk from curd?

Take a pot with required amount of milk and add an enzyme derived from new born ruminant. the enzyme helps milk to separate curd by coagulating process during curdling.

How do you separate whey from milk?

Pour off the curd into the strainer (a cotton muslin cloth can be used) and let it drain for sometime. the liquid whey drain out into the bowl after several hours at room temperature. 

 Is cheese made from curds or whey?

Yes, cheese makers cook curd and whey at desired temperature to achieve the perfect consistency of the curd which is then processed into cheese.  

What part of milk is whey?

Whey is the liquid part of milk after curdling process.

What is the difference between curd and whey?

Curd is the solid mass of milk during curdling process whereas whey is the liquid portion.

What exactly is whey?

Actually, milk is made of two proteins i.e. whey and casein. Whey gets separated from casein in the milk during cheese making and as a by product of milk curdling process. 

What can you do with whey?

Yes, whey is very much useful and handy ingredient in our kitchen. Below are some uses of whey:
1) Use it as a starter culture when fermenting vegetables.
2)Add it to smoothies and shakes to provide more vitamins, minerals, and proteins.
3)Drink it straight!
4)Reconstitute fruit juice to add nutritional value
5)Use whey to soak grains, Nourishing Traditions style
6)Make tasty whey lemonade

 

If you’d like to read about recipe variations, I liked this post from The Food Lab where he tries out a bunch of different methods to make ricotta and documents the results.  And in case you’re confused about where the recipe actually is at the end of the post (like I was), here it is here.

Try this recipe posted in Food lab to make some variations in the recipe. See here to know where exactly the post is.

Get more edible science projects for kids that includes the following

  • Try sherbet recipewith your kid to feel the fizzy reaction on the tongue.
  • For making a delicious recipe with fun and observe the frothy reaction, try Anzac biscuits
  • Check out the edible glassrecipe in which you can make glass from sugar and eat them too.
  • My favorite one is the Honeycomb Feel free to add or not chocolate on its top.

 Find all my work on Pinterest also in the following pages

  • Go Science Kids
  • Edible science projects

Making whey Experiment with kids

Disclaimer:All the opinions in this review is my own (or my kids’ 🙂 ). This is not a sponsored post. This post contains affiliate links. An affiliate link means that when you purchase using the link provided in this page, I would get a small referral fees WITHOUT any extra cost to you. I highly appreciate your understanding and support.

Making Whey And Curd using Juices
How to make curds and whey edible science for kids

Comparing Different Seeds – An Activity About Nature Science

To study and to compare various vegetables and flower seeds that are edible – science activity for kids about nature.
Studying and comparing vegetable and flower seeds fun spring nature study science activity for kids

My kids and I wanted to make an attempt to grow food on our own. Pritika always wanted to become an agriculturalist and that is her ambition. Off course, she has changing ambitions every often. Still, I wanted to nurture her thoughts and made up my mind to teach her some concepts about farming. I took up a decision to grow some plants to show her the actual life cycle of plants from seeds.

Seeds are the base for growing plants and most of the plants grow from seeds.  We followed the process religiously and planted seeds. From the small plants, we observed the plant life cycle.

As a first step we purchased seeds from the store and we selected them based on how they will grow, what will they yield, and which will grow in the summer season. I preferred vegetables but my daughter wanted to see flowers grow as well. So we had both the seeds that will grow like a plant, yielding flowers (edible) and vegetables.

Also, I did not want to plant them just like that. So I studied them and compared to teach some science to my daughter. Both my girls looked at the seed with excitement.

Studying and comparing vegetable seeds fun nature study science activity for kids

Then I took 2 trays and gave one for my elder one and another to the younger one. Also, I gave them with pencil, paper, and magnifying glasses. I did not give any instruction to them but allowed them to do per their thoughts.

Pritika currently is 6.5 years old and she started comparing the seeds based on their look. Took the spelling of the seeds from the cover and noted them in her paper. She segregated seeds as long, big, and round.

Comparing seeds nature study science activity for kids
Seed Comparison

Finally, she told that the biggest seed was corn, longest was marigold, fattest was nasturtium, smallest was the carrot, roundest – radish, and pointiest – parsley.

I was so proud to see her working out the math, science, and her English skills in one activity!

I gave her a suggestion to rank seeds but she was keener in putting labels to them.

We discussed seeds and their characteristics. I told her that seeds look will not decide the appearance of the plant. Both flower yielding plants nasturtium and marigold did not have similar looking seeds.

Now, let me tell you about my younger one Tisha who is 4 years old did something different with the seeds. She is indeed small to work diligently like Pritika. She sorted the seeds into groups and wrote its name in the craft sticks. They were colored indeed as she loves to have fun with colors.

Labelling craft stick seed markers

Ok, its time to plant them and see them grow. 

Get a few nature activities from the Nature Study Projects for Kids page

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 Go Science Girls

 Nature Study Activities for Girls

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