Monday, December 1, 2014

Tessa Arias' "The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies"

I think this very important cookie research is appropriate for the Christmas cookie baking season. I also believe that it provides a good example of the scientific method.

Arias started out with a baseline cookie recipe (baseline Nestle Toll House Cookie Recipe, which also served as her control group) and modified the recipe in a number of different ways (IVs) in order to study several dependent variables (texture, color, density, etc.). The picture below illustrates the various outcomes per different recipe modifications.

For science!

Also, being true scientist, her original study lead to several follow up studies investigating the effect of different kinds of pans and flours upon cookie outcomes.
I used this example to introduce hypothesis testing to my students. I had them identify the null and alternative hypotheses, the control and experimental groups, etc.