From a Liquid to a Solid - Making Pancakes

Children will investigate changing states of matter using some foods that come from farms.

Lesson Objective

Children will investigate changing states of matter as they make pancakes, which contain foods that come from farms.


What You'll Need

Note: See Lesson Tips

  • Book: Pancakes, Pancakes by Eric Carle
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1¼ cups milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 3½ tsp. baking powder
  • 3 tbsp. melted butter
  • Electric frying pan
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Cooking spray
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon
  • Pancake turner
  • Butter
  • Small plates – 1 per child
  • Plastic forks– 1 per child


What To Do

  1. Ask the children where they think food comes from (see Guiding Student Inquiry).
  2. Introduce the story, Pancakes, Pancakes, by Eric Carle. Tell the children that it is a story about a boy who wants a giant pancake for breakfast and needs to find the ingredients.
  3. Read the story to the children.
  4. Focus on each of the ingredients for the pancakes in the story and where they come from.
  5. At the end of the story, have the children recall where each of the ingredients came from.
  6. Ask children where they think wheat grows and where chickens and cows can be found (see Guiding Student Inquiry).
  7. Tell the children that they will be investigating changes from liquid to solid by making pancakes using some of the same ingredients they learned about in the book (see Lesson Tips).
  8. Display and discuss characteristics of each ingredient.
  9. Invite the children help to measure the ingredients into the bowl, and have the children take turns using the spoon to mix the pancake batter. Discuss the changes as the dry ingredients are mixed with the liquids (see Guiding Student Inquiry).
  10. Spray the electric frying pan with cooking spray, and heat it at a medium setting, away from the children.
  11. Pour batter in 3" puddles into the hot pan. Turn the pancakes over when the batter has bubbled and the edges look dry.
  12. When pancakes are lightly browned, remove from pan, and place pancakes on plates.
  13. Distribute plates of pancakes to the children, and discuss how the batter changed (see Guiding Student Inquiry).
  14. Distribute the forks and butter to the children, and enjoy the pancakes as a snack.

Guiding Student Inquiry

  • Tell me where you think food comes from.
  • Explain where you think wheat is grown.
  • Tell me where you think chickens and cows can be found.
  • Describe the ingredients (flour/eggs/milk/salt/sugar/melted butter).
  • Explain how the ingredients changed when they were mixed together.
  • Describe how the batter changed when it was cooked.

Explore, Extend & Integrate

  • Have a pancake topping tasting with syrup and different jams and jellies. Have the children vote for their favorite pancake topping, and graph the results.
  • This lesson could follow the lesson, Let’s Make Butter, also found on this website. Refrigerate some of the butter from the activity, and have the children use the butter they made to top the pancakes.
  • Place clean measuring cups, measuring spoons, plastic bowls, spoons, pancake turner, children’s play frying pans, aprons, empty pancake mix boxes, empty milk containers, and empty egg crates in the dramatic play or kitchen area. The children can pretend to make pancakes.
  • Make a pretend farm in your play space. Provide straw hats; a child-size wheelbarrow; child-size shovels, rakes, and hoes; plastic vegetables and fruits; and stuffed or plastic farm animals. The children can pretend to be farmers.

Check for Children’s Understanding

  • Could children tell where they think food comes from?
  • Could children explain that wheat is grown and that cows and chickens can be found on farms?
  • Could children describe the ingredients?
  • Could children explain the changes in the mixed ingredients?
  • Could children describe the changes from the batter to cooked pancakes?


Did You Know?

All foods are different forms of matter—liquid, solid, or gas. Some foods can change. Changes in matter can come from mixing things together or changing the temperature. For example, water is a liquid. When it is frozen, it is a solid. When water is boiled, it becomes steam, which is a form of gas. Similarly, flour and salt are solids. Milk is a liquid. When solids are mixed together with a liquid, they change. When we made pancakes, the flour and salt changed from a solid to a liquid.

A farm is a large piece of land where food is grown and animals are raised. People who work there are called “farmers” or “farm workers.” Farms produce many of the foods people eat. Farms grow wheat, which is ground up to make flour. Farms also raise chickens, cows, and other animals that produce some of the other foods we eat. 

Vocabulary: Child-Friendly Definitions

  • pancake – a flat, round cake made from flour, eggs, and milk.
  • ingredients – parts of a mixture.
  • wheat – the grain that comes from certain grasses.
  • investigate – to look closely at in order to get information and learn facts.
  • change – to become different.
  • batter – a thick mixture of flour, eggs, liquid, and other things. Batter is used to make other things, such as cake.

Lesson Tips

  • Be sure to note that not all solids change when mixed with a liquid. For example, sand does not change to a liquid when mixed with water.
  • You can use commercially packaged complete pancake mix and water in place of the other ingredients. Explain to the children that the dry pancake mix contains dry milk and usually egg products.
  • Be sure to have children wash their hands before helping with the pancakes.
  • Place the hot frying pan in an area where children can observe the pancakes cooking but is out of their reach.


  • Pancakes, Pancakes by Eric Carle
  • Curious George Makes Pancakes by Margret Rey and H. A. Rey
  • Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola
  • If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff

Home School Resources

Home educators: use these printable lesson PDFs to teach this lesson to your home schoolers. They're available in English and Spanish.

Home/School Connections

Las Conexiones a la Casa

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Content Provided By

Common Core State Standards Initiative – These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge [1]. Visit the CCSS