Skip to main content
ATK Kids

Kitchen Classroom 2021: Week 52

Week 52 of resources to help kids learn in the kitchen—and make something delicious along the way.
By Published Dec. 24, 2021

Welcome to week 52 of Kitchen Classroom for 2021, which will also be the final week of this series. We began Kitchen Classroom in March 2020, right when the pandemic began, as a resource for families suddenly stuck at home—we hope you found the content useful, educational, and delicious. You can still access all two years (!) of Kitchen Classroom content here and here

A whole team of educators, cooks, writers, and editors has worked hard to bring each week of Kitchen Classroom to life, including Afton Cyrus, Kristin Sargianis, Tess Berger, Katy O'Hara, Andrea Wawrzyn, and Julia Arwine.   

For our final edition of Kitchen Classroom, we’re heading back into the Kitchen STEAM Lab for an engineering design challenge!

In Pack It Up, kids can explore the world of food packaging by designing their own package to protect a delicate potato chip from breaking during a fall. They will learn about the engineering process as they build their design, including meeting criteria, operating under constraints, and iteration. This activity is a great way to reuse leftover gift wrap and packaging as well as other materials kids can find around the house. If multiple kids want to be involved, turn the activity into a design competition, and see how many different successful designs can be generated among siblings, cousins, or friends! 

Don’t forget to share what your family makes by tagging @testkitchenkids or using #ATKkids on Instagram, or by sending photos to kids@americastestkitchen.com. Visit the America’s Test Kitchen Kids website for more culinary content designed especially for kids.

Here’s what’s cooking for the week of December 27th, 2021 through January 2nd, 2022.

Pack it Up Design Challenge
Pack it Up Design Challenge

Kitchen STEAM Lab: Pack It Up Design Challenge

In this hands-on activity, kids will design a package to protect a chip (or a cracker, a thin cookie, or whatever you have on hand that might fit the bill) from breaking after it’s dropped. This is a perfect way to use leftover gift wrap, cardboard packaging, and other materials laying around the house, from brown paper lunch bags, to an empty egg carton to pipe cleaners, and more. Encourage kids to be creative with their designs and try out multiple ideas. Decorating their packages is always fun, too! 
[GET THE ACTIVITY]

What You’ll Need
2-3 thin, fragile chips or crackers, such as potato chips, Pringles potato crisps, water crackers, or saltines
Building materials (Use what you have around the house—see the activity for a list of ideas.)

Learning Moment
Science (Engineering and Design):
Design challenges like this one present a wonderful opportunity to show kids that there are often multiple “right” solutions to a problem—there isn’t one correct way to design a chip package! Encourage kids to brainstorm several different package ideas, choose one (or more) of them to build, test it out, and evaluate whether it was successful. If the chip breaks, encourage them to try and improve their design. If their design worked, see if they can build another design that’s totally different. 

If your budding engineers are excited by this design challenge, encourage them to try these next:

  • Stay Dry! Can you design a waterproof package for a chip? What kinds of materials would help repel water? Test your design by using a spray bottle filled with water to spray the package 5 times. Wait 5 minutes before you open your package. Is your chip dry or soggy?
  • Stay Cool! Try designing a package to keep an ice cube from melting (instead of a chip from breaking). What materials will help insulate (slow heat from getting into) your package? Test out your design by placing an ice cube inside and leaving it out on the counter for 10 minutes: How much did the ice cube melt? If you want to be even more precise, weigh your ice cube before and after!

To learn more about the engineering process, you can share this video with kids.


Catching up on Kitchen Classroom? Find previous weeks using the links below: