Trivets are used to prevent hot dishes from damaging tabletops. They're often made out of cork because of its resistance to heat. Discover the science behind materials that absorb heat—and materials that don't—by constructing this cork trivet for your dinner table.
Corks collected from empty wine bottles. Use only real corks, not plastic ones—they'll melt!
5" x 7" size or 8" x 10" size empty photo frame
Hot glue gun
What You Do:
Help your child prep the empty out the photo frame by removing any photos, mats or packaging that may be left inside of it. Leave the glass part of the frame inside.
Turn the frame over so that the glass part is on your work surface. Have your child arrange the corks inside the photo frame on top of the glass, using enough corks to completely cover the glass. It takes about 24 corks to cover a 5" x 7" frame—encourage your child to use math to predict how many corks he'll need if you're using a bigger frame! He may need to arrange corks vertically, horizontally, or both in order to cover the entire frame.
After you child has finished arranging the corks, heat up the glue gun! Remain on standby for this part of the process, as glue guns can get very hot and he may need assistance. Glue each cork onto the surface of the glass in the position where you child placed it.
After the glue has dried, try it out! Bake up a casserole or hot entree together and present your dish on your new trivet.
Beth Levin has an M.A. in Curriculum and Education from Columbia University Teachers College. She has written educational activities for Macmillan/McGraw-Hill and Renaissance Learning publishers. She has a substitute teaching credential for grades K-12 in Oregon, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.