Well, the holiday season is over, but I came across a bunch of left over candy canes the other day. Although my kids would have happily eaten them, I decided that we could use them for really easy science projects – and it was a great way to avoid wasting them. All you need for this experiment is water and candy canes!
I gave every student their own candy cane to experiment with. We have discussed how in science we uses our senses, but we rarely use our sense of taste. Today they were very excited to use this sense. After a few licks of their candy canes, they were given either warm water, or ice cold water. The hotter the water the better, but be careful when working with kids. They then dropped their candy cane into the water.
At first, they just watched to see what was happening. Initially, there didn’t seem to be any changes, but student began to notice that the bottom of their cup looked foggy and a bit green or red.
I then handed out stir sticks for students to mix their candy cane and water. Students noticed right away that some of the colour on the candy cane had faded or ‘disappeared’.
We talked about the fact that it did not disappear, but rather that it begins to dissolve. Students then began comparing their candy canes with others around them. Students with cold water noticed that their candy cane was still largely the same.
The candy canes in the warm water, however, looked very different! It was dissolving into the warm water. The stripes were gone and they had trouble picking up the candy cane because it was almost fully dissolved.
I then gave students the chance to use their sense of taste again. Everyone wanted to find out where their candy cane had gone, so they tried a few sips of their water. It tasted like a candy cane!
It was a really easy science project to do with kids. The experiment is a great, hands-on, way to introduce concepts such as dissolving and how hot and cold water may look the same, but they behave very differently.