Does Cutting Foods Into Pieces Make It Cook Faster Or Should You Leave It Uncut?

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Author: Sofia PC

Grade Level: 6th - 7th; Type: Physical Science


In this experiment students will find out whether cutting up meats will make it cook faster than just cooking it whole.

Research Questions:

  • How do you know when your food is cooked?
  • What is surface area and why is it relevant to cooking?

Meat is cooked when it reaches a certain temperature. At this temperature, all the harmful bacteria present in the meat is eliminated and is now safe to eat. Eating raw meat can be very risky as it contains contaminants such as salmonella, which causes severe upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. To prevent this, you should make sure your food is cooked thoroughly. However, most of us would like things cooked faster while being able to kill the germs!


  • Meat (like steak)
  • Knife to cut the meat
  • 2 skillets
  • 2 cooking thermometers
  • cooking stove

Experimental Procedure

  1. Choose two cuts of meat from the same part of the animal and that are the same dimensions and weight.
  2. Cut one of the meats into 1-inch square cubes. Leave the other meat uncut.
  3. Put the chopped cubes in one pan and the whole meat in the other. Stick a cooking thermometer through both of them to monitor temperature. See which one reaches the “cooked” temperature faster and at what time:
  4. Evaluate your results.

Terms/Concepts: temperature; cooking; surface area


Yu.D. Burago, V.A. Zalgaller, L.D. Kudryavtsev (2001), "Area", in Hazewinkel, Michiel, Encyclopaedia of Mathematics, Springer,ISBN 978-1556080104

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