Your child can learn more about the process of dehydration, along with the scientific method, with the help of some strawberries! Dehydration is one of the oldest methods of food preservation, dating back thousands of years. Along with being an exciting and interesting activity, dehydrated strawberries are also tasty – and healthy!
Invite your child to brainstorm how food is dehydrated. She can use a paper and pencil to write down all her ideas.
Now she can do some research online or at your local library on the process of dehydration. Originally, the sun was used to dehydrate food items such as fish or fruits. Today, people can use their ovens to dehydrate food!
Invite your child to wash and dry her strawberries. Then she can use a paring knife to slice her strawberries as thinly as she can.
Now she can cover a sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper and set the oven to the lowest temperature that it will go. Most ovens can be used at 170 degrees Fahrenheit, which works just fine for dehydrating. She can arrange the sliced strawberries in a single layer on the parchment paper and then put them in the oven.
Encourage your child to write down how long she thinks the dehydration process will take. She can use the scientific method to write out her ideas. She can start with her hypothesis, or guess, then her basis for the experiment, or what she’s planning on doing. Then she can include her theory, or what she thinks might happen, and then her predicted results.
Once she’s finished writing out her thoughts, she can create a chart to keep her on track during the dehydration process. Invite her to document the changes that take place every hour while the strawberries are dehydrating - the entire process can take up to seven hours!
When the strawberries are completely dehydrated, they will be crispy to the touch and no longer flexible. Your child can transfer them to a plate and let completely cool while noting how long the entire process took.
Now she can share her dehydrated strawberries with friends and family, along with her final results of her scientific method documentation!
Sarah Lipoff has a K-12 Art Education degree and enjoys working with kids of all ages.