The Three Rs of Tea

With summer fully settled in, most people’s thoughts are far from the schoolroom. Yet, my thoughts can never quite go completely on summer vacation, and I’m always trying to think of unique ways to make learning a bit more exciting. This summer, I have been taking a class on how to teach science. We’ve designed a CSI-themed summer camp, currently in the first week of a two week session. Although I’m looking forward to teaching a lesson on DNA evidence, my other thoughts are more about how I could use tea to teach science.

Tea has its place in American history, and every child has learned about the taxes on tea that caused the fishies to have their own taste of the drink. But can it be brought into the lab? I say absolutely. After all, we must measure the amount of the tea and the temperature of the water for ideal results. Tea lends itself well to teaching concepts such as independent variables (the variable changed by the experimenter) and dependent variables (the result of the experiment). Students can design a nearly infinite number of experiments using tea as a base. Think of testing solutions by measuring how much sugar will dissolve in iced tea versus hot tea. They can run taste tests based on different types of water, different steeping times, and so forth.

Although I’m being somewhat tongue-in-cheek, what with the limitations of standardized testing, engaging the taste buds can be a great way to engage students in the classroom. When students can consume the results of their experiments, they are a great deal more invested in the activity. Not to mention that teaching students about tea can be a great way to make them consider beverages other than sugary juices and sodas, even if it takes a touch of sugar to make the tea palatable to young tastes. Besides, it’s never too late to begin to educate the next generation about our favorite drink.

Get the scoop at Stephanie’s blog, The Tea Scoop!

[Editor’s note: Our blog is chock full of great articles on this topic. Use our search feature to find them!]

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