taste testing eat your science homework by ann mccallum and leeza hernandez

Put on your aprons, lab coats and best bibs!

Ann McCallum and Leeza Hernandez, who tessellated our taste buds and dispelled our fear of polygons, fractions and tangrams with their delightful Eat Your Math Homework: Recipes for Hungry Minds (Charlesbridge, 2011), have just published a wonderful companion cookbook featuring six edible science projects.

In Eat Your Science Homework: Recipes for Inquiring Minds (Charlesbridge 2014), they serve up a bit of geology, chemistry, astrophysics and forensics, successfully turning “toil into tasty and drudgery into delicious.”

When you think about it, the kitchen is the best laboratory around — a fun place to experiment with various ingredients and methods with delectable and sometimes surprising results. Ann’s recipes give upper elementary kids a chance to learn about The Scientific Method, Atoms and Molecules, Properties of Matter, Inherited Traits, Rocks and Minerals, and Our Solar System with hands-on activities in a familiar setting.

Author and Recipe Maven Ann McCallum shows off Atomic Popcorn Balls (photo by Tom Fedor/The Gazette)

A little puzzled about atoms, elements and molecules? Munch on a batch of Atomic Popcorn Balls. Ever wonder why oil and vinegar don’t like to mix? Dip some veggies into a honey barbecue sauce dressing while contemplating density. And what are black holes, anyway? See how gravity swallows up sausage bits right in your muffin tin. And I can’t think of a more appetizing way to understand sedimentary layers than by making a pan of pizza lasagna.  🙂

Atomic Popcorn Balls photo by Ann McCallum

Each of the recipes comes with a lively, engaging explanation of the concept or process, fascinating sidebars, and a “Science Sampler” to encourage further application and practice.

Once again, Leeza Hernandez has filled the pages with her charming, amusing, rabid rabbits, who are shown cooking, mixing, baking, experimenting, investigating and tasting with a little help from an eager beaver and mischievous pup. I love the great energy in Leeza’s illustrations, and how she’s made all the facts and recipe steps look pleasing, palatable and easy to digest. A Review and Glossary rounds out this scrumptious offering, which will tempt young scientists to eat their homework for every meal. 🙂

Black Hole Swallow-ups photo by Ann McCallum

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I’ve always liked that baking is part science, part magic. You measure and mix certain ingredients and through various chemical reactions they coalesce, rise, and brown. Goopy batter turns into moist and delicious cake!

Mr. Cornelius and the Alphabet Soup helpers decided to make the Invisible Ink Snack Pockets because they heard it was Ann’s favorite recipe and they liked how mysterious it sounded.

It was as easy as slicing refrigerated pizza dough into rectangles, sprinkling on a little cheese, folding the dough over into square pockets, and then, best of all, “painting” on secret words or designs with an “invisible ink” made of baking soda, sugar and water.



After just a few minutes in the oven, the secret words magically appeared! Mr. Cornelius was happy to see how the sugar in the “ink” caramelized under the heat, its re-formed molecules appearing in a darker color. Oxidation! Of course now he wants to be a spy and write secret words on everything.



Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 5-7 minutes and 1 to 1-1/2 minutes

Total Time: 18-1/2 minutes

Oven Temperature: 425 degrees and low broil

Yield: 3 servings

Difficulty: Medium



  • 1 package refrigerated thin-crust pizza dough
  • Shredded cheese — mozzarella or cheddar work well
  • Optional add-ins such as ham, mushrooms, green pepper, crumbled bacon, etc.
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Enough water to make a paste (about 2 teaspoons)



  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Cookie sheet or tray
  • Cotton swab or new paintbrush



  1. Ask an adult to preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Unroll the dough onto a clean cutting board. Cut rectangular sections about 3 inches by 5 inches.
  3. Spread a generous sprinkling of cheese onto each rectangle. Place the add-ins of your choice on the dough.
  4. Carefully fold over the dough to make a square pocket. Place each pocket on a cookie tray, two inches apart.
  5. Prepare the “invisible ink.” Make a runny paste with the baking soda, sugar and water. Dip a cotton swab or new paintbrush into the ink and print something on top of each roll-over snack.
  6. Ask an adult to place the roll-over snacks on the top shelf of the oven for about 5-7 minutes. Then, for 1 to 1-1/2 additional minutes, turn the oven on LOW broil. (Watch carefully so they don’t burn!) Remove the snacks as soon as the invisible writing appears.

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EAT YOUR SCIENCE HOMEWORK: Recipes for Inquiring Minds
written by Ann McCallum
illustrated by Leeza Hernandez
published by Charlesbridge, August 2014
Nonfiction for ages 7-10, 48 pp.
*A Junior Library Guild Selection

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♥ MORE ♥


*Interior spreads posted by permission of the publisher, text copyright © 2014 Ann McCallum, illustrations © 2014 Leeza Hernandez, published by Charlesbridge. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2014 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

26 thoughts on “taste testing eat your science homework by ann mccallum and leeza hernandez

  1. Sedimentary pizza lasagna sounds like a great idea — I’d better follow that link next. I’ll bet the invisible ink idea would work well with apple turnovers, too.


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