Cookies & Milk

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by MmeParker
Last updated 5 years ago

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Cookies & Milk

Most cookies are made with flour, sugar, and fats. When the cookie is partially placed in the liquid, the liquid is drawn up inside the whole cookie because of the capillary action in the channels of the cookie. Once the liquid is inside, it dissolves the starches (flour and sugar) which cause the cookie to soften and disintegrate. People of all ages enjoy cookies without thinking of the physics and chemistry they are experiences. The conceptsof chemical change, physical change, and reactions are confusing to many. Students often finish science units with misconceptions about changes in matter, and many adults (including teachers) harbour misconceptions.

To support these ideas, hands-on activities could be done involving changing water from an ice cube to steam (to illustrate changes of state) (2A, SLE 1) and sugar and salt could be dissolved in water (to learn about solutions and dissolving solids (5C, SLE 5).

The Tim Tam Slam is an amazing experience, during that “afternoon slump” when one craves a coffee or perhaps upon coming inside from a winter activity. This video was retrieved from YouTube on July 8, 2014.

Cookies & Milk

If cookies are a solid, how is it they turn into a liquid when we dip them in milk?

This would be a fun and delicious activity to do with students when discussing solids and liquids in grade two (Exploring Liquids: SLE 1: Matter exists as a solid, liquid or gas; Matter can change state). This would be fun with grade five as well, with the benefit of discussing the chemical changes taking place (Classroom Chemistry: SLE 3: Distinguish substances that will dissolve in a liquid from those that will not, and demonstrate a way of recovering a material from solution.) It should be made clear to the grade five students that a chemical change is not taking place; it is a physical change.

By Jennifer Spearman – ParkerReferences.Chocolate Chip Cookie. (n.d.) [photograph]. Retrieved from Biscuits. (n.d) Retrieved July 9, 2014 from, B. J., Pegg, J. M., Shanahan, M. C., (2013). Science for elementary school teachers: Concepts, explanations, and activities. Edmonton, AB: Ripon Publishing.How to eat a Tim Tam (2010) [video]. retrieved from YouTube on July 8, 2014.

It would seem that by dipping the cookie in milk long enough, or in the case of the Tim Tam Slam, slurping your chai too slowly, the contact with liquid mysteriously causes the cookie to become liquid as well. This photo was retrieved from on July 10, 2014, to illustrate a common experience many of us share. If possible, I would prefer to have my students experience this phenomenon firsthand to showing them this picture.


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