Thanksgiving is almost upon us!
Bring on the turkey, the sweet potato casserole, the pumpkin pie, and . . . the science!
In honor of the upcoming holiday, I wanted to share with you all three Thanksgiving science activities that you can enjoy after the clean-up is done.
But before we do that, I have to take a proud mama moment to tell you that the turkey pictured in this post is actually a napkin holder handmade by my daughter – didn’t she do a great job!
Ok . . . back to the thanksgiving science activities!
#1 – Talk a Post-meal Nature Walk
Let’s face it, we all eat too much at Thanksgiving. I don’t know about you, but my weakness is sweet potato casserole. It’s like eating dessert as your vegetable, which is just awesome!
So, after you have consumed a day’s worth of calories in one sitting, you can definitely use a walk. Why not take that walk in a local park or nearby woods? That way you can sprinkle some science into the moment through impromptu nature study.
#2 – Debunk the Tryptophan Myth
Have you heard before that the tryptophan in turkey is the cause of the traditional post-meal nap? This is actually a myth!
In fact, the chicken you eat on a more regular basis has more tryptophan in it than turkey does. The more likely cause of the Thanksgiving post-meal sleepiness is the abundance of food that you just consumed. Your body diverts blood to your digestive system to handle the food, which causes you to be sleepy.
Mythbusters explored this very myth in episode 196: Food Fables. You can sit down and watch the episode together, just make sure you keep pinching one another so you can stay awake!
Or you can watch the following video that busts the tryptophan myth:
#3 – Experiment with Cranberries
Grab an extra bag of cranberries to experiment with when you do your thanksgiving shopping. Then after the meal, you can pull them out and get the science fun rolling!
Here’s a few ideas:
- Explore how cranberries float and then cut them open to see why. (Inside a cranberry is a pocket of air that contributes to their buoyancy.)
- Make your own cranberry juice by boiling the cranberries for several minutes. (Watch out as the cranberries will “pop” open before releasing their juice.)
- Use your cranberry juice to test some kitchen acids and bases. (Cranberry juice remains red in the presence of an acid and will turn a greenish-purple or yellowish-tan in the presence of a base.)
Once you are done, you can string some orange slices and cranberries together. Then, hang the fruit garland outside as a treat for the birds.
In a Nutshell
Whether you take a nature walk, debunk the tryptophan-myth, or experiment with cranberries, I trust that you will enjoy these thanksgiving science activities for years to come!