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

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.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Candy Experiments potion to celebrate Harry Potter

Candy Experiments potion from the Harry Potter book release signing party

Watch this purple potion turn blue, then bubbling purple, then bubbling pink! Is it magic...or science?

To make the potion yourself:
  1. Pour purple cabbage indicator into cup.*
  2. Add baking soda to turn it blue.
  3. Add a Warhead to make the potion bubble and start turning purple again.
  4. Add Pixy Stix powder to turn the potion pink and bubbly.
Purple cabbage juice is an acid-base indicator. Add something basic, like baking soda, and it turns blue. Neutralize the baking soda with an acidic Warhead, and it starts turning purple again, while the acid reacts with the baking soda to make bubbles. Acidic Pixy Stix complete the potion by turning the indicator pink.

Happy Harry Potter Day!

* Make cabbage indicator by letting chopped red cabbage sit in water for an hour, or boiling it for more color. Strain and refrigerate.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Tricky lollipop math

You might be able to eat just one-half of a lollipop, or one-fourth. But if you were given this giant lollipop, could you eat just one ninth?

Giant lollipop weighing 141.7 g or 5 oz

You'd have to, if you wanted to stick to just one serving.

Label reads: serving size 1/9 piece (15 g)

And if you did, you'd be getting 15.7 g, which rounds up to 16, not the 15 promised on the label. Hmm...

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


Black circles appear and join together on this foggy film. Raindrops?  No, they're water drops that have condensed from steam onto plastic wrap. As they draw together, surface tension joins the droplets in sudden bursts, producing bigger and bigger droplets, appearing suddenly as new dark circles.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Taffy and the Near Failure of 1950s Baseball Cards

Baseball card designer Sy Berger almost failed at his first baseball card venture because he chose the wrong candy to market.

Berger was hired to design cards to sell gum. His first cards, for characters like Hopalong Cassidy, were successful, but his first baseball cards were a dismal failure. Why? Because those 1951 baseball cards were packaged with a piece of taffy. Disaster. The taffy "picked up the flavor of the cards' varnish," one article read. Berger himself remembered, " 'You wouldn't dare put that taffy near your mouth.'"* The next year he used gum in the pack instead, and the pop-culture phenomenon of baseball card collecting was born.

Why did the taffy absorb the flavor of the varnish? Perhaps because taffy is hygroscopic, absorbing water from the atmosphere around it. The gum was clearly a better choice.

*"Sy Berger: The salesman who reinvented the baseball card." <i>The Week</i>, December 26, 2014.