Thanksgiving Food Science Lab at the Bruce

Do you have an older child ready to take a deep dive into science? Then check out Bruce Explorers: Thanksgiving Food Science Lab, taking place on Sunday, November 17, 1:00 – 2:30 pm in the Bruce Museum’s Education Workshop. 

This pre-holiday drop-off program is designed for children ages 7 to 16 interested in doing hands-on work in a laboratory setting. In this Bruce Explorers session, participants will use chemistry to help better understand the food we eat during Thanksgiving, from determining the pH of cranberries to seeing what foods have a ton of sugar or starches in them.

Megan Brown, the Museum’s manager of youth and family programs, and intern Gabby Perez recently performed a trial run of an experiment they’re planning for Sunday’s Food Science Lab. It involved determining whether everyday items are an acid or a base.

“Most Thanksgiving tables feature a side dish cranberry sauce, which tends to be pretty sweet, because a lot of things we consume with cranberries have other ingredients combined with them” says Megan. “However, pure cranberries and even most cranberry juices taste very tart. The reason for that is cranberries are acidic.”

“Cranberries contain a special, color-changing pigment that can be used to test whether something is an acid or base,” Megan adds. “In this experiment we used cranberry juice to test for acids and bases and also tested some other common kitchen items, such as lemon juice, baking soda, and baking powder.”

Megan also plans to have the Thanksgiving Explorers perform additional tests on such holiday staples as turkey, stuffing, rolls, potatoes -- real and instant mashed potatoes -- corn, carrots, and pie in which kids will be able to test for glucose, or sugars. “Because it’s a qualitative chemical reaction, we’ll also be looking to determine whether the sugar in the foods we test is natural or added,” she says.

The cost for the Nov. 17 Bruce Explorers: Thanksgiving Food Science Lab is $45 for Museum members; $55 for non-members. Register at brucemuseum.org.

The Bruce Explorers series of programs continues next month with Bruce Explorers: Weather Investigation, an exploration of weather phenomena, on Sunday, December 17, 9:00- 11:15 am. In this Bruce Explorers, kids will be get create their own backyard weather station to take home. The cost is $50 for Museum members; $60 for non-members.

For more information about Bruce Explorers, contact Megan Brown at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 203-413-6740.


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