Halloween is just around the corner, so candy is abundant these days! I wanted to do something interesting for our evening tween program this week, (and maybe I was just craving candy corn a little bit?) so here we have CANDY CORN SCIENCE!!
I started out looking on Pinterest for halloween crafts and ending up finding this blog entry from Coffee Cups and Crayons about experimenting with candy corn. The author experiments three ways, dissolving candy corn in water, microwaving it, and freezing it. She even has some great printables and examples of questions and observations. I decided to adapt things a little bit to make it work better in my library, so here’s an outline of my event:
First we talked about science experiments, how people do them and why. Most of the kids had some examples of things they had done in school. I then asked them if they had ever done experiments with candy, which they all said no. One of my learning goals with this program was to show kids that science is literally everywhere and if you’re curious about something, explore it! We then watched this video from Science Fridays that I found from exploring the Candy Experiments website. Both are new resources to me, but had tons of ideas and information. I’m definitely going to be coming back to both.
The kids were mesmerized by the video. Since we weren’t in space, we had to then devise our own experiment using candy corn that we could do here on Earth. I gave each kid a piece of candy corn and asked them about their observations – color, texture, hardness, size, etc. I then brought out 3 containers of water – one with ice cubes, one room temperature, and one hot. I then had them make predictions about what would happen when we put candy corn in each container. Many of them thought it would float in the ice water (since the ice was floating), some thought it would change color or dissolve, or that nothing would happen. But stuff did happen, and it was gross and so cool!
Here are our containers after a few minutes:
The same things happened in all three containers, just at different times. Basically, bubbles formed around the candy corn, the outer skin started to peel off and dissolve, the color leaked out into the water, and the candy corn slowly started to dissolve completely. The hot water went the fastest and the cold water the slowest. So, we got to talk about catalysts and how heat can make things change or react more quickly.
And here are some close ups of all of action:
Some of the kids were totally grossed out and never wanted candy corn again. Others thought it was so cool. We also talked about other things we could do to the experiment, like mushing the candy corn into smaller pieces before putting it in the water. We talked about how what was happening in the water might be similar to what happens when we eat candy corn. We also predicted how other candy would react in the same experiment. Everyone wanted to try poprocks and make chocolate melt in the hot water. It was a fun program and a cool way to add some science into Halloween.