STEAM Ahead

Me: One of my favorite things to do is bake and decorate cakes.

You: Wait … isn’t this supposed to be a post about STEAM?

Me: It is, stay with me.

You’re probably already familiar with the term STEM or STEAM as it’s become an educational buzz word in recent years. Science, technology, engineering, art and math, are considered the most important skills for life in the 21st century; and while it may sound intimidating, it doesn’t have to be.

So, what does baking a cake have to do with STEAM education? Let me show you the recipe for a tasty learning experience you can share with your kids.

Science: Observe the chemistry of how the separate ingredients combine to make something new — and delicious.

Technology: How does the oven work? How much more difficult would this be without an electric mixer? You could also research all the amazing kitchen gadgets currently available.

Engineering: Why does a tube pan have a hole in the middle? Often I have to stack multiple layers (or tiers) of a cake in order to make sure they don’t fall — I also have to figure out what sort of support system is needed. Have you ever seen one of those topsy turvy cakes? It’s not magic, it’s engineering — and yes, occasionally there are power tools involved.

Math: You have to be aware of what the different units and measurements mean. If you want to make a bigger or smaller batch of something, then you’ll have to use your skills to adjust the recipe. Measure carefully and check your work.

Arts: This is my favorite part — decorating — mixing colors for icing or gum paste, drawing with piping tips, designing where I want to place the flowers, or Rae from Star Wars, or the handmade, edible Mardi Gras beads. This is your chance to get really creative. You can even employ science, technology, engineering and math again in your artwork.

Want to learn more?

Check out the resources below to discover even more exciting STEAM ideas and activities.

Smithsonian Maker Lab by Jack Challoner
Steam Lab for Kids by Liz Lee Heinecke
Ada Twist Scientist by Andrea Beaty
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
Stir Crack Whisk Bake
Baking Class: 50 Fun Recipes Kids will love to bake
The Complete Baking book for young chefs
The Ultimate Kids Baking Book
MasterChef Junior Bakes
Star Wars maker lab
The zoom, fly, bolt, blast, steam handbook
101 kids activities that are the ooey, gooey-est ever!
25 fun things to do for your neighbors
1, 2, 3: Calligraphy!
Nature Play at Home
Go on a Critter Scavenger Hunt
25 things to do on a rainy day
Maker lab outdoors

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Ask a Librarian

STEAM Ahead

Ask a Librarian is a service available to patrons via phone or email (online chat coming soon). Not only can librarians provide book recommendations for you and your child, they can help you in so many other ways — they can actually help you find answers to the world’s most fascinating questions. For example, they can …

  • Find answers to questions for research in any area of study from aeronautics to zoology
  • ‎Locate information so you can develop a business plan, find sales leads to grow your business and research your competitors
  • ‎Identify alternative approaches to health care and wellness, focusing on perspectives of complementary, holistic and integrated health
  • ‎Research businesses by industry or segment and company size; employment statistics, mapping and traffic modeling
  • ‎And yes, even help with the tough homework assignments students have in elementary, middle, high school or college

So, the real question is … What are you going to Ask a Librarian?