Use Up Leftover Candy Corn With a Science Experiment!

October 29, 2015

Halloween is this weekend, which means now is the perfect time to stock up on discounted candy corn! While these super sweet, sugary treats usually pale in comparison to most other halloween candy elites, their composition makes them the perfect addition to a post-halloweekend science lesson. While you’re lesson planning for the following week, think about extending the holiday fun with this simple science experiment.

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The Objective: This lesson will teach students how to hypothesize, conduct an experiment and revise their hypotheses as they go based on their findings. The experiment will work to find out which household liquids will dissolve candy corn, and how long each that does will take.

The Necessities: In order to perform this experiment you will need candy corn, small glass bowls, plastic spoons, sticky notes, paper towels and three liquids: Water, vinegar and vegetable oil. The amount of each material you require depends on how you’re going to conduct the lesson. If you’re demonstrating to the class, 3 bowls, a bag of candy corn and a small amount of each liquid will suffice. However, if you choose to break the class into groups and allow the students to run their own experiment, you’ll need to adjust quantities accordingly.

The Experiment:

  1. Introduce the experiment and ask each student to record their hypotheses for each solution. It may be beneficial to give them direct questions like: Will this liquid dissolve the candy corn? Will the candy corn sink or float? Do you think it will change color? How long will the results take to show?
  2. Set up your demonstration experiment, and help your students set up their own if applicable. Lay out the three glass bowls on top of a paper towel, filling them each with about an inch of water, oil or vinegar. Then use the sticky notes to label which bowl contains which liquid.
  3. Add two pieces of candy to each bowl, and have students record their observations. Make sure that students note exactly what they see happening. Have specific benchmarks of time where you ask them to record changes – 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, etc.
  4. After a little while, remove the candy corn with your plastic spoon and place them onto the paper towel in front of their associated bowl. Have your students compare the recently dissolved candy corns to new, untouched ones.
  5. Finally, the students revise their original hypotheses, noting why they think the changes in candy corn occurred and why the reactions might have been different in each liquid.

Can you think of any other fun ways to incorporate leftover Halloween candy in the classroom next week? We’d love to hear all about them on our Facebook page!

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