Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Cranberry Sauce Texture Exploration

I don't think I actually know anyone who enjoys cranberry sauce. It always shows up at Thanksgiving, but personally I would rather have cranberries in my baked goods, or even dried cranberries in my salad.  I think it's a texture thing, whether your family does cranberry sauce from a can or homemade, both versions have physical characteristics that are all their own, this is precisely what makes cranberry sauce the perfect subject for a texture comparison.

Whenever I use food in the classroom it is strictly for exploration, the children are always welcome to taste it if they want, but it isn't required.  Any sensory exploration is different depending on the age of the children in the class.  Younger preschoolers are more likely to explore with their hands - all in, squishing and smearing.  Older preschoolers are generally a little more cautious - they might smell it first, or poke it with one finger.

The conversation is important during an exploration like this. I try to draw the children's attention to the similarities and differences;

  • What colors do they see?
  • Why do they think one sauce is chunky, while the other is smooth?
  • Can they think of any other foods that have similar textures to these (i.e jello, applesauce, etc.)?
  • Can they see the cranberries in both sauces, or just in one?
  • What is the sauce from a can shaped like? Why?
I ask purposeful questions to help the children think deeper.  We may also talk about what we know about cranberries and cranberry sauce, or test out all of our senses by describing what the cranberry sauce looks like, feels like, smells like, and tastes like.  

How else could you explore cranberry sauce? Share your thoughts in the comments and make sure to check out yesterday's post on cranberry science!

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