Moment of Science: The Science of Gingerbread Houses

by Discovery Cube – November 5, 2017

Kick off this holiday season by creating a gingerbread house with family and friends! Once you’ve designed and built your gingerbread house, enter your creation in Discovery Cube’s annual Science of Gingerbread competition. But how can you ensure your gingerbread house is strong enough to hold a roof-full of candy?

Start with the right choice of dough so you can build the gingerbread house of your dreams!  If you are making your own gingerbread, aim for tough dough with a springy texture to avoid cracked walls.  Since all materials have the ability to resist change, having springy dough can help maintain its original shape.  You can also choose to use a pre-baked gingerbread house kit.

A strong sealant can go a long way as you construct.  Icing is traditionally used as “glue” to hold the gingerbread house together.  What makes the icing dry like glue?  The secret ingredient is egg whites, which create a thick and strong paste. Cement-like textures can also be created by melting caramels, gummies, or marshmallows, making the house sturdier.

Finally, design matters.  In order to avoid cracked or collapsed structures, think about the difference between a flat rooftop versus a narrow A-frame rooftop.  Also, keep in mind how the height of the house influences the stability.

Now that you have carefully thought about your choice of dough, icing, and architectural design – start building. Once you are done building – it is time to decorate! This is a great way to re-use your leftover Halloween candy.

Once you are finished with your creation, enter your gingerbread house in the annual Science of Gingerbread competition. For additional details on the competition and entry form, click on the campus below.

Discovery Cube Orange County                                   Discovery Cube Los Angeles

For more tips on how to best build your gingerbread house, check out the video below.