Creating a Salad Dressing

Recommended Age Groups: Later Elementary and Middle School

This lesson was developed by Reach Out!

Guiding Questions

  1. What is the scientific process?

  2. Can I make a new salad dressing recipe?

  3. How can the scientific process help me to make my new recipe?




Steps of a scientific process:


  1. Question – a problem that needs to be answered

  2. Hypothesis – a guess of the answer to the problem

  3. Procedure – a list of the steps needed to answer the problem

  4. Experiment – physically following the procedure step by step to arrive at an answer

  5. Data – observations made while performing the experiment

  6. Results – observations made after performing the experiment

  7. Conclusion – What do the results tell you? Was your hypothesis (guess) correct?

Picture courtesy of the Kraft Interactive Kitchen (




Each person or pair needs access to the following:

  1. Salad oil
  2. Cider or wine vinegar
  3. Sugar
  4. Salt
  5. Pepper
  6. Sage
  7. Rosemary
  8. Oregano
  9. Garlic powder or salt
  10. Lemon, lime or other juices
  11. Measuring spoons
  12. Glass or plastic jar with lid to put ingredients in.
  13. Paper towels for spills and drips
  14. Handout

Room Preparation

Need ample elbow room. Spills may happen.

Safety Precautions



  1. Pass out the handout and go over the steps for creating their own salad dressings.

  2. What is the problem? – Give examples of the questions they might write, such as “Can I come up with a sweet salad dressing?” or “Can I develop a tangy salad dressing?”

  3. What is their hypothesis? – Tell the children to guess about how they can make their salad dressings taste a certain way.

  4. What is their procedure? – Review the need to write down the ingredients they choose to use for each experiment or recipe. Emphasize the importance of careful measuring and documenting the amount of each ingredient on their handouts. If this isn’t precise, we cannot duplicate the recipe or experiment — the recipe will be lost!

  5. Experiment! – Start to make the salad dressings following the procedures (recipe) they have already created.

  6. Write down the data – What happens while following the recipe? What does the dressing look like? They might want to taste it to check out flavors during the experiment.

  7. What are the results? – When they taste their final concoction, they should use plenty of adjectives to describe the result. Have them use many senses — smell, sight, taste.

  8. What are the conclusions? – Did they make the recipe that they were expecting to make? If their concoction isn’t what they started out to make, have them describe what seems to be off. For example, is it too sweet or bitter? Do they think they used too much sugar or other ingredients? This information is key to starting over again and trying to learn from previous experiments.

  9. Once they like their salad dressings, choose names for them. You have your recipe for what could be a new salad dressing invention!


Ask again the guiding questions:

  1. What is the scientific process?
  2. Can I make a new salad dressing recipe?
  3. How can the scientific process help me to make my new recipe?

Listen for evidence that they have come to a better understanding about the scientific process. If possible, have them share this lesson and experiment with others. When we “teach” something, we definitely come to understand it! This is a fun experiment to share with friends.

Extension Ideas

  1. It is fun to take someone else’s recipe and try it out. This is a great way to test another person’s documentation.

  2. Cooking and baking are fun ways to learn about and experience first hand the scientific process. You may want to provide a variety of ingredients and let them come up with their personal recipes for cookies, muffins, ice cream, soup, and so on. You might pull together these “experiments” to make a recipe book!

Careers Related to the Lesson Topic

Prerequisite Vocabulary

Carefully examining and checking something out. Keeping track of and noting details about what you see, including measurements and what you think about something.
A well-organized written document that lists and describes the specific problem, the hypothesis, all the procedures for the experiment, plus the results and conclusions.

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