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Candy Science Experiments for Summer Learning Fun!

  • 3 min read

DIY Science Has Never Been So Sweet

School might be out for the summer, but there are still plenty of opportunities to learn in the meantime!

Science can be fun to explore, but did you know that it can be delicious too? That’s why we’ve put together two candy science experiments to help teach kids interesting scientific concepts. Each experiment comes with an easy list of materials, a set of directions, and an explanation as to how it works! We’ve also recommended some of our favorite candies for both experiments too. The sweetness of candy meets the fun of science. What’s not to love?

 

Gummy Bear Osmosis

You’ll need:

 

Directions:

 

 

 

 

Place a handful of gummy bears in two different glasses each.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

Fill both glasses with regular tap water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pick one glass and dissolve in a tablespoon of salt.

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

  

Place both glasses in the fridge. Check back in after an hour. Then check back in after a day passes. Observe how the gummy bears have changed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How it Works:

For the most visible results in this experiment, use multicolored gummy bears. The different colors in each bear will make it easier to see (and compare) what happens to them as they take a nice, cold bath. Of course, if you want to grab your favorite flavor as an excuse to snack on it (like we did with the Delicious Dozen), then we totally understand! The changes that the gummy bears will experience during this experiment demonstrate osmosis, the movement of water through a semipermeable membrane.

This is a way to show the ways in which cells interact with their fluid surroundings. Like cells, gummy bears are encased in an outer membrane that will allow water to pass through to equalize them with their surroundings. If a gummy bear is placed in a solution with salt, water will travel through the membrane, causing it to change shape. Watch what happens to the gummy bear in the unsalted water.

Do you think it will have the same reaction? Why or why not?

 

Candy Chromatography

You’ll need:

 

 

Directions:

 

 

 

Lay out paper plates for each participant. These are to prevent spilling. Place a coffee filter on top of each one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have each junior scientist pick a handful of their favorite candies and sort them by color. Place those candies into the center of a coffee filter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If using a drinking straw, you can turn it into a DIY pipette by holding one finger over the end and dipping it into water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drop-by-drop, pipe small amounts of water onto them. It might not appear to do anything at first, but go slowly. Watch as beautiful colors begin to bloom!

 

 

 

 

How it Works:

This experiment demonstrates chromatography, the process of separating components based on their properties. It does so through capillary action, which means it’s a double feature for scientific concepts! Don’t worry, we’ll explain it in more detail in a second.

The candy coating contains different dyes, and as the water moves up the coffee filter, it carries them along, creating these unique, floral streams. Once you’ve gotten comfortable with the process, try repeating it on a cluster of multicolored candies. Feel free to snack on a few! You’ll notice that different colors will travel in different ways. Some will form wider streams, while others will travel further. Other colors might blend together and make new, beautiful shades!

The different strands created by this process features chromatography, the chemical process (like what the water did in this experiment) to separate elements (or colors in this case) in order to get a closer look.

Meanwhile, this colored water travels through the coffee filters because of capillary action, which allows liquids to flow in incredibly narrow spaces. Water molecules like to stick together, and in a tight enough space, this force can even make them flow against gravity. It’s the same process that made water stay inside a drinking straw earlier in the experiment, and many plants use it to suck water up through their roots! In this case, it makes for some beautiful (and educational) art!

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