How does baking powder work?

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Baking is one of our favourite family activities. In fact, we like baking cakes and biscuits and breads almost as much as we like eating them! My daughters are getting pretty good at following a recipe and measuring out the ingredients that we need to use.

Many of the cake and biscuit recipes we use ask for baking powder or bicarbonate of soda. My girls want to know what these same-looking, white-powdery ingredients are made of and what is their job in baking?

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Why does the salt have a lid?

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Salt and pepper are seasonings that I sometimes use when I am cooking to make some types of foods taste better. I keep them in special plastic pots with twisty tops that grind the salt or pepper into a fine powder that can be used easily to flavour our food. But my daughters want to know why the salt pot has a lid, when the pepper pot does not?

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Why do clothes get creased?

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My 7-year-old said she’d like some unicorn bunting to decorate her bedroom. We found some instructions online, bought some fabric and got out the sewing machine. But the cotton fabric we had bought was creased and folded. We had to make it all flat and smooth before we could draw on triangle shapes for the flags and cut them out.

So, why does fabric get creased? And why does pressing it with a hot iron make the creases go away? The answer is all to do with chemistry, so let’s find out more…

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How do they put the colour in fireworks?

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“Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot…”

Bonfire night is an annual celebration in Britain. It is celebrated on November 5th every year and marks the failure of a plan, called the Gunpowder Plot, to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London. It is tradition to mark the occasion by lighting bonfires and holding firework displays.

Fireworks were invented hundreds of years ago and are used for lots of different types of celebrations and festivals throughout the year. My daughters want to know more about how fireworks work and how do they make such bright colours in the sky?

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