The science of sugar and spice – STEM learning through festive baking


Have you been baking this festive season? Many families embark on the age-old tradition of holiday baking. From the iconic gingerbread house to intricately decorated cookies, these delicious creations offer more than just a sweet treat – they provide a perfect opportunity for STEM learning in a fun and festive setting.

The foundations

Just like a STEM experiment, building a gingerbread house requires careful planning and structural understanding. The ingredients act as the building blocks, while the baking process becomes a mini engineering challenge. 

How do we ensure the walls stand tall, and the roof doesn’t cave in? It’s a tasty lesson in physics and architecture.

Maths in the mix

Festive recipes often demand precise measurements. Children, often unknowingly, practice their maths skills as they measure flour, sugar, and spices. 

Baking becomes a hands-on math lesson, reinforcing concepts like fractions and ratios, all while creating delightful treats.

The science of baking

Ever wonder why cookies rise in the oven? The magic happens through chemical reactions. Baking powder reacts with other ingredients, producing carbon dioxide, which causes the dough to rise. 

This is a delicious introduction to chemistry, as children witness firsthand the transformative power of what happens when we mix different elements.

Engineering creativity

Once the baking is complete, the true engineering and artistic challenge begins – decorating! Children learn to apply creativity and design thinking as they turn plain cookies into edible masterpieces. 

It’s an exercise in spatial awareness, colour theory, and fine motor skills.

The technological in modern gadgets

Baking gadgets bring technology that is now an integral part of modern baking. From electric mixers to digital timers, children engage with various technological tools during the baking process. 

Exploring and understanding these gadgets contributes to technological literacy.

Learning beyond the oven

The learning doesn’t end when the oven timer beeps. Families can extend the educational aspect by sharing their baking experiences. Encourage children to discuss what they learned, from the science behind rising dough to the maths involved in adjusting recipe quantities.

What have you been baking?

We invite you to share your festive baking adventures! What did you bake this holiday season, and what did your children learn in the process? 

Whether it’s a gingerbread house triumph, a new cookie recipe discovery or a savoury treat, we’d love to hear your stories. 

Share your baking stories with us!