CHEM 120 Unit 1: Scientific Method and Calculations

Option 1

When I think about preparing a large meal Thanksgiving is the first holiday that comes to mind. In my family, the women prepare the meal. We try to do as much of it ahead of time as possible so that there is very little cooking done on Thanksgiving Day. First off, we make observations about what worked in previous years. We also observe and research how much refrigeration space is needed to be able to hold all the food. We plan the menu and make a hypothesis about how much food will feed a certain amount of people. Based on that hypothesis we go grocery shopping and buy all the food. We experiment with different kinds of cooking since we only have one oven, for example, some food is cooked in a pressure cooker or a Crock Pot. The results are a wonderful Thanksgiving family feast. In theory, nothing ever goes according to plan exactly the way you have it laid out. Some variables that affect the end result being that there never seems to be enough room in the fridge or enough room to cook all the food. With three ladies in a small kitchen, we are always juggling for space. We never seem to account for longer cooking times when putting multiple items in the oven. We usually say we are going to eat at 2 pm but it is always 4 pm before dinner is ever served.

Kenji Lopez-Alt, J. (2016, November 21). Serious Eats. Retrieved from

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Teacher’s Pet (2014, August 17). You Tube. Retrieved from

As we all can imagine, planning a wedding is not an easy task, especially when you think you can do it all by yourself or with close friends and family, as opposed to spending extra money on a wedding planner. So, in 2009, my wife and I decided to take our marriage to the alter for a church wedding. Roles and assignments were distributed, and my role was to arrange for the banquet hall, the limousine and the drinks. Although these tasks do not seem like a lot of work, I must admit that I invested more thinking into them more than the actual execution of the tasks. I will elaborate more on just one of these tasks, the drinks. Having attended many other weddings in the past, my observation has always been that people really do not care about the quality of Champagne that is popped and distributed to the guests for the toast. A lot of people pay more attention to their wine, liquor or mixed drinks. I therefore, came up with the hypothesis that, instead of buying the expensive Moet Chandon champagne that a lot of people are familiar with, how about I buy something cheaper but rare? The very next day, I scratched off the 15 bottles of Moet Chandon champagne of $57.99 per bottle in my list and replaced them with a rare Australian champagne of $7.99 per bottle. A few weeks later, on the wedding day itself, after the toast was proposed and the guests sipped the Australian champagne, a lot of people became curious as to where the champagne came from. Some said the champagne tasked so good and was very smooth. Others asked if I had imported them from Australia. These questions validated my hypothesis above that you do not have to spend a lot of money to leave a good and long-lasting impression on guests at a wedding.

Cita, S. (2013). Dinner with Churchill: Policy-Making at the Dinner Table. Retrieved from

Option (I):

Both of my children and my niece share their birthdays in August, we usually celebrated them separately. However, we decided to combine them last year. That was the first time my sister and I were prepared for a large party by ourselves. Before we decided on what we needed to purchase from the store, we needed to make the observations on how many people would be attending the party, then researched on which types of food will be suitable for both children and adults. Finally, we created a menu for what to serve for the party. After we finalized the list, my sister and I, we made the hypothesis on the amount of food that enough to feed the number of people that would be at the party. After we did the calculation of how much food would be enough and what type of food would be served, then we would base on that hypothesis to buy our groceries. Although my sister and I cooked before, we had never cooked a large amount of food before.  Few weeks before the birthday party, we prepared the small amount of food that anticipated for the party, and we did the exact calculation on how much of each spice and ingredients to add in the food. We failed with the tastes couple times but achieved the tastes that we desired.  In theory, we planned and knew how many people would be at the party, but in reality, we prepared too much food.  We had so much leftover food, but we were happy that everyone enjoyed what we made and even packed to go.


Teacher’s Pet.  (2014).  The Scientific Method [Video file].  Retrieved from (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.Links to an external site.

McCreary, W., & Hill, J.  (2016).  Chemistry for changing times.  Boston, MA: A Pearson Education Company. 

wow, I know the feeling of preparing too much food for small parties and family get together’s. When I as a kid, my Grandmother would cook two and three types of meats, a three to four different vegetables, including peas or bean, rice, and potatoes for the people that didn’t want rice and both,  cornbread and dinner rolls. 

Culturally, I was used to cooking a lot of food. But when I had my own family, I realized that I was having to throw away quite a bit of food. To keep from wasting so much, I asked my mom what she recommend I do to tweak the amounts. She suggested creating a list of the of food that I regularly prepare and utilize the serving sizes that typically come with most packaging. Then for meat and vegetables, she instructed me to start with less, being realistic in assuming how much one person will generally eat in one setting. In example, one large head of cabbage will easily feed a family of four, with left overs for lunch. Or a whole hen and a bunch of greens, even without the rice, would be enough for my family for two consecutive dinners. I minimized my daily meals to one meat, or one meat and a fish, and one vegetable, unless we would be having guests over for dinner. This really helped me to minimize food waste, and eventually I began to understand the one meat, two veggies, a starch like rice or potatoes, and one type of bread is more than enough. 

Nowadays, there are several tools on the internet to help with party planning. I like using the one on the Food Network. They offer a party planning calculator to help you estimate the right amount of food needed of any occasion. See the link below.

Krishna,P. (2018). Food Network. Plan Your Party, Serve the Right Amount of Food. Retrieved from:

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