Cooking up a plate of fluffy buttermilk pancakes isn’t just a great life skill, it’s also an opportunity to work in some serious math and science lessons. Plus, the results are delicious!

learning math and science with pancakes

What You’ll Need

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 Tablespoons melted butter at room temperature

1. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Mix wet ingredients in a medium size bowl.
3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix until just combined.
4. Pour about a 1/4 cup of batter onto a hot lightly-greased griddle for each pancake. Cook over medium heat until you see bubbles form on the top of the batter and the bottom of the pancake is brown. Flip and cook 1-2 minutes more or until the other side is brown.

Now that you have the recipe, here are some ideas for working in some math and science lessons.


For younger kids, ask them how many cups of flour, eggs, etc they would need if you were to double the recipe.

You can also work in some fractions by laying out 1/2 and 1/4 measuring cups and spoons. How many does it take to equal a whole?

For older kids, have them convert the recipe from cups to milliliters for some conversion practice.


There are two special chemical ingredients in these pancakes.

The first is 
Sodium Bicarbonate better known as baking soda. It’s a fast acting leavening agent that fills the gluten with air. It’s also an alkaline or base.

The second is buttermilk. Buttermilk is the liquid left over after churning butter. Unlike regular milk, buttermilk is slightly acidic

Here’s another fact about good old buttermilk: Its sour taste comes from lactic acid. It’s the same thing that makes your muscles burn when exercising.

When the kids combine the wet and dry ingredients, they’re really mixing an acid and base to create chemical reaction. The result? Bubbles that form to make the pancakes light and fluffy. Have the kids observe the batter. Do they notice it expand?

Now you can talk about the chemical change that happens when the pancake batter cooks.By applying energy, in this case heat, we’re able to change a liquid to a solid. Our buttermilk mixture becomes pancakes we can eat.

Once the pancakes are cooked up, it’s time to put all that hard work to a taste test. Plate up a stack, pour on some syrup and enjoy. MMmm….

Oh, don’t let the science stop with pancakes! Here are some more kitchen science ideas to try:

Kitchen Science Lessons

Red Cabbage pH Indicator
What Will Freeze First?
Growing Plants from Food Scraps
Changing States of Matter
Make Your Own Preposterous Polymer
Solar Oven S’mores

More Adventures in Learning

About Jennifer Cooper

Jennifer Cooper

Jennifer Cooper is the blogger behind, an online resource for creative families.  Her favorite past times include: dancing around her living room, watching the Pink Panther with her kids and daydreaming. She lives in Baltimore, MD with her husband, photographer Dave Cooper, and two children. 

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