The Friday before Hanukkah, the Kindergarten class took a field trip to the Olive Oil store and learned about all the different types of olive oil as a way of preparing for the holiday. With the samples that they were given, they, along with their 4th grade buddies, then conducted an experiment. Which type of oil would burn the cleanest and the longest? Before the experiment, the 4th graders studied a text from the Talmud within which two rabbis discussed the best oil to use for the Hanukkiyah. One said olive oil because it burned clearer, while the second stated that he used poppy seed oil because it burned longer. The decision was that it was more important to have the flame be clearer, so the second rabbi switched to using olive oil. We then discussed why that would be a more important value in terms of the need to advertise the miracle.
On Wednesday morning, we gathered in the kindergarten class and, using small glass bowls, we lit the wicks that were soaking in different types of oil. We tested canola, sesame, vegetable, really good EVOO and regular EVOO as well as herb-infused EVOO’s like olive oil with garlic, lemon, or cayenne. The students made predictions as to which would burn longer or with less smoke. The chart below indicates their predictions. We discovered that the olive oil and the sesame oil both burned the best: not much smoke and lasting longer than the canola and vegetable oils. It did not seem to matter if the oil was infused with different herbs or not. The students loved doing the experiment and, as it turns out, their predictions did not match the results.
On Friday, we came together again to sing to the seniors who were celebrating Hanukkah with a lunch party sponsored by the Kosher Meal Site of R.I. Our students sang songs and helped to bring holiday joy to the attendees of the lunch. One senior remarked to me, “Thank you so much, this made my day!”