Chocolate Chip Stoichiometry

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Few Chemists believe Stoichiometry and chocolate chip cookies go together.   After Friday’s cooking challenge, Our MS Eagles know it’s true.


First we offered a series of difficult questions about chemical equations and stoichiometry.  If you solved these, your earned a chocolate chip cookie recipe and the right to buy ingredients.  Each individual had to answer individual questions and each mistake cost five Eagle Bucks, so learning about science early in the week made you a valuable team member.

Two challenges.  First, the recipe was for 40 cookies.  Second, it was stated in cups. Eagles had to translate into a smaller batch of cookies and into grams of ingredients, applying a different cost per ingredient to calculate the overall cost.

Then a team had to reserve and pay for a slot time in the oven.  Reserve a slot too late in the day, and cookie demand might be sated.  Reserve too early in the day, and you might not be ready in time.

Either way, you would have a lot of Eagle Bucks were at risk.  Welcome to our attempt to make Chemistry and Cooking relevant

Most of us in the real world don’t need to know much about chemistry or cooking.  Thanks to modern science and a free economy, you just spray a little Raid on a wasp’s nest to rid yourself of pests or toss a burger on the grill when hungry   Tolerances are high and mistakes are cheap.

Pest control professionals and chefs have a higher standard – they get paid to master a process and get it right every time.   Likewise, those charged with inventing the world’s fastest computer chip or tastiest potato chip need a firm grasp of theory;  trial and error is just too costly and imprecise.

How could we convince Eagles to care about process or theory with such a minuscule impact on their lives?  The answer: make it into a contest with scarce resources, where accuracy and speed matter, and theory leads to a more valuable product.

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Yes, it was messy.   And a Guide’s mistake on the answer key didn’t help.  But the studio pulsed with the energy of a high end bakery or Bell Labs, because “getting it right” mattered to the Eagles.

That’s how you turn Chocolate Chip Stoichiometry into an unforgettable scientific and culinary experience, with real world implications for our young heroes.


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