Friday, September 18, 2020

Drop a Warhead in baking soda water, and bubbles erupt. Leave a Skittle in water, and the S floats to the surface. Melt a Starburst, and shiny oil spots form. You're doing candy experiments--science experiments with candy.

Melt Halloween candy. Dissolve Valentine hearts. Float Easter Peeps. Or let your kids create their own candy science experiments.

Candy experiments. All candy. All science. All fun.

As seen in Family Fun, Parents, Mothering Magazine, Highlights, the Chicago Tribune, ParentMap, Miami Family, and The Red Tricycle

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Incredible Growing Gummies!

Gelatin contains long protein molecules that tangle together to trap water molecules. Because gelatin absorbs so much water, candy containing gelatin acts like a sponge. That’s what makes “The Incredible Growing Gummi Worm” one of our favorite candy experiments.

Soaking gummi candy for two days can make it grow twice as long. As the gelatin molecules form bonds, cross-linking like a jungle gym, they trap water molecules between them.

To turn a gummi worm into a “gummi snake,” fill a flat dish with water and drop in a gummi worm (or several). Set aside a dry gummi worm for later comparison. Check back every few hours to see your gummi worm growing, since it can continue to absorb water for up to two days.

Once your gummi worm has grown to its full length, you can perform tests to see how much it grew.
  • Use a ruler to measure the length of the giant gummi worm, then measure the dry gummi worm and compare.
  • Weigh it and compare its weight with a dry gummi worm. Be gentle, because a water-engorged gummi worm becomes fragile and splits easily, like Jell-O. Try moving it by tipping most of the water out of the dish, laying down some plastic wrap, and sliding the gummi worm onto the plastic to weigh it. Then weigh a dry gummi worm and subtract it from the weight of the giant gummi worm. The remainder is the weight of all the water that was absorbed.

You can also try this activity with other gummi candies, like fruit snacks or Life Savers Gummies. Check the ingredient labels to make sure that your experimental gummies do contain gelatin. Gummi candies without gelatin, like Swedish Fish, don’t absorb extra water.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Stormy day, big library crowds!

The Everett librarian and I thought that the rainstorm outside would keep the kids home. I thought we'd be lucky if we had 5. Instead, our 24-max Hands On Candy Presentation ended up with 30 kids! With well-behaved kids, and helpful parents, we were still able to get through all the activities.

Our program today had 15 adults (thank goodness!) and 30 kids (yay! …The kids had fun and we were very happy to have so many parents helping out with the experiments…Loralee was very organized and efficient and was able to keep chaos from breaking out even with a very crowded room. Some of the science we learned was about acids, colors, endothermic reactions, air pressure, and how much sugar is hidden in everyday foods besides candy. Some of the kids were very impressed and grossed out which is always fun… Thank you for another fun program.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Apple Jack experiments

Candy Experiment: Apple Jack marshmallows, usually as hard and crunchy as Styrofoam, turn soft and mushy if left in the cupboard for a year. They're hygroscopic, absorbing water from the atmosphere!

Also discovered as a result of scientific testing: 3-year-olds eat them. Even when the Apple Jacks are a year old.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Americans thinking about added sugar

Americans might be starting to actually cut down on added sugar. At least 58% of poll respondents in spring of 2016 said they’d tried to limit sugar in their diets in the past 30 days. When you’re trying to cut down on added sugar, look at sodas, yogurt, kid snacks, “nutrition” bars, cereal, and other places where sugar can hide--not just candy!

“Newsbites” April 2016, pg 1, Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter

Monday, September 19, 2016

Diving Warheads

Warheads sink. Air bubbles float. A Warhead inside an airtight wrapper does both...if you squeeze it hard enough to compress the air bubble. This makes the candy wrapper package denser than the water, and it sinks. But if you release the bottle, the bubble expands and the candy floats again! You've made a Cartesian diver.

To make a Warheads diver:
  • Open a bottle of water and push the wrapped Warhead inside.
  • Make sure the Warhead floats. If you put it in the bottle and it sinks immediately, try another one. (Some Warhead packages don't contain enough air to float, or have holes that let water in.)
  • Fill the bottle completely full, so that there are no air bubbles at the top. Any extra air bubbles will make the Warhead harder to sink.
  • Screw the bottle cap on tightly, or you'll send water shooting everywhere!

You can also try this with ketchup packets or other items that trap air bubbles.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Lucky Charms, Sugar, and the General Mills Journey

General Mills is on an exciting journey to be responsible and give back.

Apparently, "That's why Lucky Charms Has... 10 g of sugar per serving."

Written in the finest marketing speech, this sounds like bragging. But it's not. Since a serving size is only 27 grams, this cereal is 37% sugar.

That's like eating eight nickel-wide Smartie candies.