Saturday Science Club: Halloween Candy Experiments

My boys spent their Saturday morning checking out a local 4-H science club.  Not being familiar with 4-H and any of the programs that they offer this was pretty new to us.

Many of our homeschool friends participate in the program as well so we thought we'd give it a try.

My boys LOVED it!

They worked on a lot of fun Halloween experiments.

First up:  They made slime.  Taking equal parts liquid clear glue and liquid starch mixed with some food coloring they were able to make blue, green or yellow slime.

Next they started in on candy experiments:

1.  Dissolving candy pumpkins and sour patch kids: Taking 6 cups and filling two with water, two with cooking oil, and two with vinegar they divided the cups into two equal groups and put one candy corn pumpkin into one cup of water, oil and vinegar and then repeated the process with the sour patch kids.  They made predictions of what would happen and then set the cups aside to see what would happen.  They referred back to them frequently throughout class and eventually removed all 6 examining them and seeing how the vinegar and water reacted differently to dissolve the candies but the oil didn't do much of anything.

2.  Making the M's and S's float off the top of skittles and M&M's.  They took another bowl of water and carefully placed each of the colors of M&M's inside the bowl equally spacing them out the kids made predictions as to what would happen to the M's, the candies, and even the water.  They soon saw the colors dissolving and settling on the bottom of the bowl.  After a bit the M's started floating up to the top with many of them completely intact.  They repeated the exact same experiment with Skittles predicting if the skittles would dissolve faster or slower than the M&M's.

3.  Sink/float:  Using a variety of different candies the kids made predictions about which candies would sink or float and why.  They then tested to see.  All of the candies they used today sunk!  They discussed why they sank and again left them in the water when they were done to see which would dissolve first and discuss why.

4.  Soda bottle/ balloon/ pop rocks and Nerds:  Filling a balloon part way with pop rocks and another balloon part way with Nerds the kids predicted what would happen when the balloons were stretched over the top of a soda bottle and the candies were allowed to fall in.  They then go to see (and hear) it in action.  Both balloons filled up with air and a bit of soda (the pop rock balloon did not work as well since a bit of the soda had spilled before the experiment started).  We could hear the pop rocks snap, crackle, and popping, and the kids were amazed that the balloons never deflated.  When asked why Alec explained that the pressure was stable and equal inside them.  When the balloons were pulled off at the end of class they deflated.

5.  Using warheads to recreate experiment one:  After agreeing/ noticing that the warheads dissolved rather quickly in the big bucket of water left from our sink/ float activity they decided to recreate experiment one and try seeing which liquid would dissolve the warhead faster; the water, the vinegar or the oil.  The kids made predictions, talked about acids, bases and what happened with previous experiments.  They compared stomach acids to vinegar and when asked if hot or cold water would work better for dissolving candy unanimously decided hot water would work better.  They found that while the airheads dissolved just a bit faster in the water the vinegar made more holes while the water left the sides smooth and unblemished.

Not bad for an hour and half science class on our "day off!"  My kids did tell me on the way home that while they had fun they didn't find much of the class to be all that new.

They reminded me of all the candy experiments we've done over the years and it got me thinking that with Halloween just around the corner it was time for me to start looking them up and adding to our growing list of experiments so we'll have something new and fun to do with this year's candy.

Looking for more ideas??

Check out this list of candy experiments.


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