Scroll over the mosaic for more info … look at the destroyed tooth and what diet soda does to cotton candy! It smokes! Each has a caption to explain the action. My kids were enthralled.
SPOILER ALERT! Yes.. we like dessert (spoilers… the end of books) first.
Final thought: I think that Candy Experiments 2 is a excellent addition to any science curriculum or just for fun. I would actually say that this COULD BE YOUR science for a year of homeschooling in early elementary (PRK to 4th). I pull the book and mark one or two things to do each week to tie into science, history, and even art and color theory. From 14 to 8, they love it and retain both what we do together with the candy and what their focus lessons for the week. Win-win!
Ok. Now that I’ve shared the “spoiler…” stop! Put the coffee down! Drop Facebook! Run to your Amazon cart or the book store and buy Loralee Leavitt’s, Candy Experiments and Candy Experiments 2! You will not regret it!
In the sugar-induced daze of too many Christmas cookies, egg nog, hot toddys, and candy, JJ and I decided to use our day together blowing-up all of the candy we have yet to inhale. Mother -son time at it’s best. My son sees candy and likely thinks of eating it. I see the cotton candy turned to slime – and one less cavity to pay to fill. We all have an agenda. Sometimes we keep the anti-cavity, educational agendas to ourselves.
We received Candy Experiments 2 a month ago. Ok, two months ago. Bad reviewer. We were just letting our candy hoard become stale(r), but we have been stockpiling and tagging pages to do for weeks. We pulled our copy of Candy Experiments (the first book) and correlated candy and experiments. Gathered all of the candy we collected, and “borrowed” DD’s new gumball machine stuffed with two LARGE bags of Skittles together. What could she say? She was on a play date. She’ll never notice… right?
Candy Experiments is a series of two books by Loralee Leavitt. She has a FANTASTIC website and blog at http://www.candyexperiments.com/experiments.html where she has a wealth of free experiments to start your candy chemistry investigations. We have been using the site and first book for years. Now we have the second book to “play” with.
I’ve embedded a pH graph of candy between water and a car battery. Think about that sour ball again. My son just needed $1k in fillings in 1 tooth. He adores sour candy. Now we do sour sugar free gum, but still.
Here are pictures, candy we learned from (destroyed), and the experiments we did.
Pop Rocks: After watching a Myth Busters where they blew-up a pig stomach with these suckers, we were in. We did: “Popcorn Pop Rocks,” “Pop Rocks Bubble Trap,” “Unbubbling Pop Rocks,” and, “Puffy Pop Rocks.”
Cotton Candy: Please don’t imagine the warm sugary crispy, whispy-scented cotton candy of the fair. Imagine old cotton candy packed into a can at the Dollar Store and made to taste like Christmas cookies. We focused on: “Cotton Candy Stained Glass,” and, “Cotton Candy Worms.”
Skittles: Ah. If you make something so obviously disgusting by floating the “S” and turning it into an array of dyes, even my kids won’t eat it. Hee hee… very smart Loralee! This was by far my fav! “Candy Ice Tunnels.” Who knew?
Life Savers: The book says to be sure to buy the loose bag of Life Savers. We did this and it did work better the cylinder of them. We tagged two experiments to do with these after finding them at the Dollar Store – a bag of Christmas flavors. Really? I have to kill the cherry ones? Mint… no problem. “Dissolve Test,” and, “The Saltwater Test.” We also went back to the first book and melted them in the microwave and analyzed the colors with coffee filters.
Spice Drops: “Yuck.” My kids fervently believe these are only for STEM/STEAM science building. Marshmallows are not thick enough. Dots are too heavy – we crashed a Native American longhouse with those things.. oh and one kiddo needed a rapid throat clear after nearly choking to death. I kid you not. Remember to CHEW your candy. So, we decided to use spice drops since no one lies to eat them. And guess what? You can sub them out for Peeps! when making “Dueling Peeps!” It was a spice drop duel! “Spice Drop Duel.” We also did the acid and saltwater tests.
Hard Candy: In all honesty, I had no idea what we would do to rid our house of this stuff. My kids think it all tastes like “cat.” Not sure what that means, but as we are not cat folks, therefore it can’t be good… and they refuse to eat it. Another sure sign. Loralee didn’t have any experiments for this, but we thought we could abstract from other experiments in her book. “The Acid Dissolve Test,” and, “The Saltwater Test.” And… yep micro melt and eventually a hammer to see the sugar crystals under a slide.
And one final experiment: “Acid Dissolve Test.” We took all the left-over candy (minus what I inhaled) and tested for changes when in an acid base. We are lucky the dog didn’t go into the pot. Yesterday (on a rainy day), he rolled in horse/pig/ or cow poop and wanted to come into the nice snug house. Nope. Acid dissolve or freezing cold bath. He chose the bath. He’s lucky my eldest didn’t decide for him. Or my hubby. The discussion ended after, “What would Our Lord do?”
In the end, I have come to this conclusion. Blow-up candy in the name of learning with your kids at every turn. Finish read-aloud each day and announce that it’s time to blow-up candy. They will NEVER know that you are teaching them about chemistry. They will never mourn the loss of their hoard of candy. They will laugh, oh, and ah. And in the same way daily read-aloud is immeasurably beneficial to our kiddos, so too is daily science. Loralee Leavitt’s, Candy Experiments 2 will aid you in this. I saw dendrites firing. I saw chemistry extensions all over the house for the rest of the day. I woke up today to, “Mom, did you know you could also use candy to play with states of matter?” “Mommy, I just looked at the cotton candy under the microscope on a high setting. It’s crystals! They aren’t moving, so they aren’t alive, but what if we heat them a little? Will they move or slide? Candy: Zero. Mom: Googleplex. Kids: A life-time of scaffolded learning about and interest in chemistry. “Mom, maybe we could use the candy to make a periodic table of candy … like they made for Minecraft.” Need I say more? Off I go to find materials for my quasi-unschoolers after Epiphany.
Maybe I will toss some questions in about the colonists and Native Americans and candy. Or why early candies were made with natural dyes and real sugars, etc. Easy link to Mystery Science’s “Why are toys made of plastic now not wood?” Why are candy full of bleached sugar and dyes… and whatever those “S’s” and “M’s” are made from. It’s all there. And it is so much fun! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. I pull it each week when I see what each kiddo is studying in science and mark one or two to tie-in. It truly enhances what they are learning.
Thanks, Loralee for saving my kids’ teeth in the name of learning and science! Please reference the picture up top of the tooth prior to a sour War Head soak and a post pic. BLACK. My son even stopped at that… and that would be all he ate if allowed. You have to see it to believe it. Order the books… CE1 and CE2 now! The experiments and explanations are easy for both stupifyingly dumb unscientific parents and kids. My kids like to tag things and do them together without me in the afternoon or early morning. So far, our house is still standing. 🙂
PS. And if you look on page 139, you will see the best use for Peeps! that was ever created… ok, jousting Peeps! was fun… but smashing them like the bottle pops you hit with a hammer… SOOOO much fun. And quite relaxing. Think yoga/workout or nursing endorphins. SO much fun! Who doesn’t want to hear Mom say, “Hey kids, swing those hammers and kill those Peeps! It’s science today!” Just saying….