Since Halloween was just a few days ago, we have way too much candy in the house! My kids think that this is great, but I’m looking for ways to get rid of it. I thought that one way that we could use some of the candy is with a cool experiment that requires leftover candy. I tried out this experiment at home and in my kindergarten classes. I started by handing out a chocolate ball to everyone and having them unwrap it. I then paired students with a partner. One partner got a clear plastic cup with warm water and the other partner got a cup with ice cold water. The warmer the water the better, but be careful not to make it too hot in case the cup spills.
First, everyone thought of a hypothesis for what they thought would happen. Would the chocolate sink or float? Would it melt or freeze? Would it explode or change colour? Everyone then dropped their chocolate ball into their cup of warm or cold water. Once it was in, we let it sit for roughly 5 minutes. Children observed their chocolate and noticed any changes. Some students noticed a slight white coating on the chocolate in the cold water as it became really cold. Students used their sense of smell and even hearing as they listened to their chocolate to see if it was making any sound, like a fizzing sound.
After the 5 minutes, I handed out stir sticks and students poked and stirred their chocolate around. Immediately, the students with the warm water noticed a change. The chocolate had begun to melt and dissolve into the water.
On the other hand, students with the cold water noticed that their experiment was not working like their partners! Nothing happened to the chocolate in the cold water. As much as the children stirred and poked, their chocolate remained the same.
We discussed the fact that both cups only contained water and chocolate. We did not add anything else, yet the results was different. I told students that although we can’t see the water molecules, they are behaving differently in the warm vs. cold water. If we were able to see the molecules in the cold water, they would be moving very slowly. However, the molecules in the warm water are moving quickly and bouncing around really fast. We moved our bodies to show the difference.
At home, my kids were curious to see what would happen if we used gummy bears instead of chocolate or even a whole chocolate bar. What would a sucker do? What about a chip? I was happy to have their candy being used for science! At school I encouraged students to view their Halloween candy as not only a tasty treat, but also a possible science experiment waiting to happen!