Mobile Navigation
Camp CMS: A science experiment to flip for

Some Camp CMS students are having their science experiments and eating them, too.

At Huntingtowne Farms Elementary, Kelly Moore's class prepared and cooked pancakes as one way to learn about physical and chemical changes. As they threw in M&M's, the beaming smiles got brighter.

Before the experiment, Moore described how students could distinguish between a chemical change and a physical change. They intently listened as she described a chemical change as permanent, while a physical one affects properties like shape and size that can often be reversible.

"I am a visual learner, so I like to incorporate that into my teaching. When you can take something they see daily, it helps them make those real-world connections to science," said Moore. "We have students I know very well, and others I don't know since students from Pinewood and Paw Creek are in the program, too. I look for things that will pique everyone's interest. Who doesn't want to learn and get rewarded?"

As the students sat around to watch Moore combine the ingredients into a bowl, she asked questions to make it interactive.

"When I mix the dry and wet ingredients, what type of reaction is it, physical or chemical?"

Pancake experiment 8_insidepic1.jpgThere was a collective shout of agreement that it was a physical change. Moore agreed and explained that adding the water to the powder was a physical change because if they evaporated the water, they would end up with the pancake mix.

"When a pancake cooks and changes from batter to a perfect golden brown, what kind of change is it?" asked Moore.

The students were quick to respond that it was a chemical change.

Moore said they were correct because there was a change of identity from batter to pancake and changes from liquid to solid. She pointed out that they could see it happening when the batter started to bubble. The air was not there before, and changes such as the formation of smell and color can be signs of chemical reactions.

Student Kayla Simpkins asked which one digestion would be, physical or chemical, sparking conversation and debate. Moore said it would be chemical. During the process of digestion, food is broken down into smaller molecules. The salivary glands present in the mouth help break down the food. In this process, there is a formation of a new substance.

"I never knew there was a science to cooking," said Kayla. "It's been fun learning about it."

Alison Brizo knew cooking involved some chemical changes but had never thought about the physical changes until Moore's lesson.

Pancake experiment 8_insidepic2.jpg"I can't wait to get home and tell my family— that includes my dog, too," said Alison. "It's school but way more fun. Science is one of my favorite subjects, especially when we get to do cool experiments."

Students agreed it was an educational and delicious activity.

"Even though I've known how to make pancakes since I was 8, now I can explain the science behind it. I like that the teachers are making it fun," said Michael Rodriguez. "They give us work and free time, so it doesn't feel like regular school."

Following the cooking activity, there was lots of eating, a worksheet and an episode from Bill Nye the Science Guy about the topic.

"Getting to eat the pancake was the best part," said Patrick Trieu. "I like coming because I'm learning and seeing my friends. I also love math, and right now, we are working with decimals, fractions and multiplication. I like when we get to do that, too."

P.O. Box 30035
Charlotte, NC 28230-0035
Phone: 980-343-3000
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools website ( is in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Any website accessibility concerns may be brought via the following, Email the Web Accessibility Team at WebAccessibility or Call: 980.343.0115. In compliance with Federal Law, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools administers all education programs, employment activities and admissions without discrimination against any person on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, national origin, age, or disability. Inquiries regarding compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities, may be referred to the District's Title IX Coordinator at titleixcoordinator or to the Office for Civil Rights, United States Department of Education.