Who Doesn't Love Bacon?

11 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT describe the process of diffusion and apply that understanding to the process of cooking bacon.

Big Idea

Why does bacon smell so delicious when cooked? It's all about diffusion! Students will learn the science behind this irresistible breakfast treat!


5 minutes

Welcome to the unit, Chemistry of Cooking! Before you move further, please watch the video below to learn more about the lessons.


I start the lesson by playing the AUDIO ONLY from the Cooking Bacon video:

After listening for a minute or two, I ask the students to guess where this sound may be coming from. I select a few random students to make their guesses, and them I ask the students to close their eyes and to place their hand, palm down, on the desk.  While still playing the audio, I place a bacon scented Scratch & Sniff sticker on each student's hand. I ask them to keep their eyes closed and - without saying anything - to smell their hand. While they still have their eyes closed, I also start the video. Next I count to three and have them guess aloud, again where the sound came from. I have them open their eyes so that they can see the screen which shows the bacon frying in a pan.

Students will keep sniffing their sticker and will probably make comments to each other about the smell or the food itself. After giving them about 30 seconds to discuss their reactions, I ask a few students give me one word that describes their reaction to the video on the screen. I will usually get something like the following:

"Yum!"          "Hungry"          "Bacon" (creative, I know!)          "Breakfast"

I ask the students if they have ever stopped to think about the science behind bacon. Naturally, most haven't, but that ends today! I introduce today's topic, explaining to the students that we will learn today about this breakfast food and how science makes it what it is!


10 minutes

To introduce the main scientific concept behind today's lesson and to assess student's background knowledge, I play the How Diffusion Works video, stopping at key points (see below) to have the students compose written observations and inferences about what they see.

0:05 - What do you think the yellow dots represent?

0:15 - What are they doing? What do you think causes this movement?

0:28 - Now what do you think the yellow dots represent?

0:39 - What is happening to the sugar?

0:49 - What do the yellow dots actually represent?

0:54 - What is happening to th sugar molecules? Why?

1:20 - what do you think this process is called?

Next, I have students watch the Diffusion Animation. This is the same as the video we just viewed, except it contains captions that describe what is taking place. I pause the animation at the same key points and have the students read the captions and provide written comparisons, to the notes they took during the video.


15 minutes

Now that we have learned a basic definition of "diffusion", I ask the students to consider how this relates to bacon. I give them a few minutes to Think-Pair-Share in an effort to apply the concept of diffusion to a real world scenario (cooking bacon).

Next, I pass out the Bacon Handout* and have students partner read, highlighting the connections between bacon and diffusion. After reading and highlighting, I ask them to compose a one sentence description of how cooking bacon is related to the diffusion of atoms.

I have each set of partners share their statement aloud. I purposely select students with a stronger understanding to share first, which allows the students with weaker connections to revise their statements before sharing. As each group reads, the class provides feedback to help each other revise their understanding of diffusion as necessary.

*The information presented in this handout was adapted from the blog, “The Science of Food”, by Scott McQuery.


30 minutes

Now that students have gotten a solid grasp of the concept of diffusion and how it relates to cooking, it's time to fry some bacon!

*For this activity, I usually elicit the help of parent volunteers to make sure students are working safely and using proper hygiene practices.

I start by having each student wash, dry, and sanitize their hands. Then I send them to 4-5 stations around the room, each of which is equipped with:

  • 1 hot plate
  • 1 frying pan,
  • 2 sets of tongs
  • bacon
  • paper plates
  • paper towels
  • hand sanitizer
  • oven mitt (This might not get used, but it provides a safe way to move pans and other hot materials)
  • 1-2 parents

Each students gets the opportunity to fry 2-3 slices of bacon.  Once they have cooked their bacon, they also get the pleasure of eating it!


10 minutes

Once the students have all had a chance to cook their bacon, I pass out the Bacon Questions Exit Ticket for students to complete before leaving for the day. This document helps me to assess their knowledge and clarify and misunderstandings they have at the beginning of the next class. It also allows me to determine if the students' understanding is clear enough to apply to other situations.