Baking is science, too

Ever wonder what's the best bait to catch Dungeness crabs?

Starla Pointer / News-Register
Lila Primozich s science project.
Starla Pointer / News-Register
Lila Primozich's science project.

(Starla Pointer / education reporter)  Local school science fairs are underway, and students are showing off their projects in gyms across the McMinnville School District.

The projects explore all sorts of topics. Some are tried-and-true winners, such as which kind of bread grows the most mold. Others are more unique, such Memorial Elementary first-grader Emma Cole's exploration of the bouyancy of full soda cans; in her "Soda Surprise!" project, she discovered that Diet Coke floats, while Classic Coke sinks.

Many of the children are producing useful results, as well. Vincent Clevenger, a Memorial fourth-grader, tested the absorbancy of four kinds of paper towels in his "Soak It Up" project. His conclusion: Brawny towels soaked up more liquid than three other brands.

Other projects at the  Memorial science fair looked at the best string for soup-can phones; sound waves; water filters; optical illusions; and other ideas. One even tested the best bait with which to catch Dungeness crabs; raw chicken beat five other stinky baits.

But the most startling results may have come from Lila Primozich's project, which she called "Nobody Makes Cookies Like My Grandma." 

Lila got her grandmother, Dolly, to make a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. She also bought a package of the same kind.

Then she gathered her test subjects, tied on a blindfold, and offered them a sample of each type of cookie, the homemade and the store-bought. Eight tasters liked the commercial cookies best; only five prefered the homemade.

Lila had suspected that some people might like the boughten cookies best, so her hypothesis was correct. But she made sure that her display board, which was decorated with chocolate chips, proclaimed her preference: She definitely likes Grandma Dolly's baking.

The experiment made me wonder, though: Why do so many people choose the store-bought over the homemade? One school staff member offered her hypothesis: "That's what kids are used to."

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