Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Awesomely Nerdy

Okay ... I'll admit it ... I'm a math nerd. This year marks my 20th year of teaching math ... 2 years of middle school math and 18 years of high school. I've got so many math T-shirts that it isn't even funny. I wear my nerdyness like a badge of honor.

So this week I had the opportunity to make math and science cupcakes. I wasn't sure how I was going to do it. I thought and thought and thought for several days. And then the other night I got out all my fondant and started messing around. What I ended up with was awesomely nerdy.

I started out by just cutting some white disks. I then got to work on the math stuff. The coordinate plane was kind of fun. I just made some indentations in the fondant disk to represent grid lines. I then cut some really thin strips of red fondant to make the x- and y-axes. I was just thrilled with how it turned out. The little arrows on the ends were a little tough to make. I just cut a square and then cut it along the diagonal. The problem was that they were so small that they just kept sticking to my fingers. When everything dried, I used an food writer to put the x and y in the proper spots.

The right triangle was actually super easy to make. I just cut a rectangle out of some blue fondant and then cut it along the diagonal. At first I cut it too big and it didn't fit on the circle. I really hate it when I misjudge the size of something. You would think that I would be better at estimating ... but then you'd be wrong. After it was all "glued" together, I used the food writer to put the Pythagorean Theorem on it. It was a bit simple, but I still liked it ... it's math after all.

Having just come off my "pie" cupcake week, it only seemed fitting that I make a Pi cupcake. For this one, I just cut some strips out of black fondant and then shaped them into Pi. Once again, however, I made the strips too big. I had to keep trimming and trimming and trimming until I got it right. I was pleased with how it came out.

Up next, science! I decided to make an apple. What does an apple have to do with science? Good question. The story I was told was that Isaac Newton discovered gravity when an apple fell on his head. So, I cut a circle out of red fondant and shaped it a bit. I then cut a daisy out of green fondant and cut the petals off to use as apple leaves. It became a science apple when I used my food writer to put 9.8 m/s under it. 9.8 m/s is the gravitational pull on an object. Pretty cool!

From Newton to Einstein. In physics, mass-energy equivalence is the concept that the mass of a body is a measure of it's energy content. I know ... blah, blah, blah ... but physicists and physics students may understand how this formula works. I was trying to make this look like a chalk board with the formula on it. It probably would have worked better if I would have had a white food writer.

For my final science cupcake, I made an atom. This was mostly just drawn on the fondant disc with a food writer. I did add a few little red, blue, and green fondant balls to make it look more 3-dimensional. This wasn't very creative, but I was pleased with how well I drew on it.

To finish it all off, I made chocolate cupcakes, filled them with chocolate ganache, and topped them with my very yummy chocolate fudge icing. You have to admit ... these are awesomely nerdy!

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