Making soft matter accessible: Teacher workshops on science and cooking

Top: Teachers learn about the science of bao with local chef Jason Doo during summer 2023 in-person teacher workshop. Bottom left: Teachers work in teams to make bao during summer workshop. Bottom middle: Teachers share implementation strategies over Slack™.

The Harvard MRSEC engages K-12 teachers and students through the science of everyday materials. Through a collaboration with Bite-Scized Education, led by teacher Kate Strangfeld, the MRSEC co-develops workshops for teachers and after-school programs for K-12 students that are modeled on the Science and Cooking course developed by David Weitz and Michael Brenner and teach science through food and cooking.

In 2023, this partnership grew substantially, offering 5 in-person and virtual workshops and engaging 56 teachers from 25 states. By December 2023, 64% of workshop participants overall and 100% of participants from the in-person workshop implemented at least one lesson in their classroom, with an average of 2.5 lessons implemented, engaging over 620 students. Follow-up support through post-workshop zoom meetings and Slack™ discussions helped drive classroom implementation.

David A. Weitz (Physics & Applied Physics), Kathryn A. Hollar (Engineering & Applied Sciences), Pia Sorensen (Applied Mathematics), and Kate Strangfeld (Bite Scized Education)
2023-2024 Harvard MRSEC (DMR-2011754)