Sugar and teeth

Doing so many candy experiments has led me to ask questions about the chemistry of tooth decay. I've learned that sugar contributes to tooth decay as long as it's on the teeth, but so can raisins, crackers, or anything else that the tooth-inhabiting bacteria digest and turn into acid.

When I got my teeth cleaned last week, the dental hygenist had a new fact for me. Eating single jelly bean can cause as much tooth decay as eating a pound of sugar--as long as it's on your teeth the same amount of time. So remember to brush!

Down the drain

Reading online about how to unclog my blocked drain, I found a suggestion to pour down baking soda and vinegar. The resulting bubbles are supposed to loosen clogs.

Wonder what would happen if I used Warheads instead?

And it's playtime

My daughter had friends over for a playdate a few days ago. "What do you want to do?" I asked them. "Draw pictures, play games, play outside?"

The answer was unanimous. "Candy experiments!"

So they experimented for 45 minutes. Didn't even eat the candy. The only drawback? A very sticky table.

Easter Candy Perfume

7-year-olds investigating Easter candy fragrance:

-"I'm making smell-good soup."
-"Can you be our judge for whose soup smells better?"
-"I'm making perfume for the Easter bunny!"

Peeps Experiments (Overheard)

Conversation between three 7-year-old candy experimenters:

-"Oh, no. You can only fit about four jelly beans inside of a Peep. Then it'll explode."
-"More Peep eyes!"
-"I put Peep Eyes in your candy stew."
-"Why don't I get any Peep eyes?"
-"You'll need lots of surgery after this, Peep."
-"Peep blood! Peep blood!"
-"Take all the dead Peeps out."
-"I need to get my Peeps nice and soft."
-"Which ones are ready for the candy graveyard?"

USA Science and Engineering Fair Contest

Here's information about a video contest being run by the USA Science and Engineering Fair, where we will be presenting Candy experiments Oct 23-24 in Washington DC.

K-12 Students: Tell us why Science is Cool! Enter now for the USA Science & Engineering Festival Kavli Science Video Contest!
Have your video screened on the National Mall, win prize money and electronics and possibly even a trip to the Expo in Washington D.C.! Do you think Science is cool? Do you want to share your passion for science with others? Here is your chance to inspire thousands of people to be more curious, and to care about science & engineering the way you do: create a short video that explores the question "Why is Science Cool?" Videos might explore a scientific concept, show us the wonders of nature, give us a glimpse into the future, show us what scientific discovery has done for us in the past or will do for us in the future, introduce us to a great scientist or engineer, tell us why you think science is so cool or simply show us why we should care about science and/or engineering. Sponsored by The Kavli Foundation and conducted in partnership with SciVee, the contest closes on July 15, 2010. Prize money goes to the organization the student is representing (be it a school, after-school program, or other outreach program) - students win electronics prizes and either a trip to DC to the Expo or tickets for a VIP event to meet the Mythbusters. For more information visit

Aero bars

I told a friend that chocolate bars sink. "What about Aero bars?" she asked.

Aero bars! I hadn't thought of that English delicacy since my exchange student days, and the idea was tantalizing. So the next time we visited Canada, I persuaded my husband we couldn't recross the border without stopping for Aero bars.

Here's the result:

They float well. (Not that surprising, since an Aero bar is just a chocolate bar with lots of bubbles.) Even better, a gentle nudge sets them spinning nicely.

Air Pressure Presentation

I did a first grade class presentation on air and air pressure today. The kids loved watching a balloon fill up with gas from Pop Rocks dropped in a soda bottle. I did the Mentos and Coke experiment, with one Mento in a small Coke bottle, since I didn't want an 18-foot eruption indoors. The only problem? The kids didn't want me to stop.

Combining Pop Rocks with Sprite inflates a balloon

Candy and Chuck E Cheese

My daughter spent all of her Chuck E Cheese tickets to buy experiment candy: a Tootsie roll, a lollipop, and a pack of Pop Rocks. Although I tried to convince her that I had plenty of candy already, I'm glad she likes the experiments as much as I do.

Floating Easter Candy

Spring is in the air, and hearts are light. So is Easter candy.

Floating Easter candy, including Peeps and chocolate covered marshmallows

Why is Easter candy so floatable? Maybe nothing says springtime like marshmallow.