Junior Scientists: Edible Experiments

I was asked to do more science programs because they are generally popular and the kids really seem to enjoy them. To be honest I enjoy them too, but they make me nervous. My science background is not terribly strong and I always worry that people will ask me questions I won’t be able to answer or that when I am trying to simplify a concept I am actually totally getting it wrong and spreading misinformation. However, I really wanted to do a science night that had an edible component. Luckily for me the kids loved it and it was probably everyone’s favorite program this year. Mmmm, sometimes science is sweet!

SKITTLES EXPERIMENT
We started with the rainbow skittles & water experiment. I had them arrange their skittles in any design they wanted around a large styrofoam plate. Then at the count of 3 we all added water to the plate until it was touching all of the skittles and waited for the “rainbow” to appear. The kids thought this was so cool. I actually probably gave them a little too much water, so next time I’ll cut down on that so there is less mess. We talked about color being dissolved and moving from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration.

 


DANCING RAISINS EXPERIMENT
The next experiment was supposed to be dancing worms. You soak gummy worms in a solution of baking soda and then put them in vinegar and the resulting reaction makes them wiggle and squirm. It was on 800 blogs and all over pinterest and I tried it twice and couldn’t get it to work. Instead of doing a dud experiment I got two 2 liters of 7up and brought in some raisins from home and we did a dancing raising experiment instead. I explained about carbonation and buoyancy and let the kids drink the pop when they were done. I think this was the weakest experiment of the bunch and I might skip it next time.

I may have mentioned before that I have a problem with attendees coming late and I didn’t want to be interrupted mid experiment. So I had everyone prep for this experiment when they were first getting seated by sorting and opening five different flavors of jolly ranchers. My assistant, shelver Luna, added warm water to all the cups while the kids were busy working on their skittles so that the candy would be dissolved by the time we got to the….

LIQUID CANDY EXPERIMENT
Now we were on to the big experiment of the day. I had planned for this one to take a bulk of the program time and I was actually pretty spot on. Every table had 5 different flavors of jolly rancher flavored water in cups and every kid had their own small cup and a pipette. They were supposed to take 1 squirt of different flavors and mix them and note the results on a sheet I had made. Of course it quickly turned into making mixes of all the flavors but I don’t care the kids had fun and they probably could have kept going until all the water was gone except I had one last experiment up my sleeve.

BAKING SODA & VINEGAR
The baking soda and vinegar experiment is a classic but since we had purchased pipettes I thought it would be more fun to set out plates of baking soda and let the kids squirt in some colored vinegar. Each table got two cups of colored vinegar to use. I made red & yellow sets as well as red and blue sets. I have read that you can use jello to make this smell better and not have to color the vinegar, but I forgot to get some so I will keep it in mind for next time. I didn’t explain anything about this experiment because by now my voice was almost non-existent.

Junior Scientists – Edible Experiments
Attendance: 45 or so
Activity 1: Skittles Experiment
Activity 2: Dancing Raisins
Activity 3: Liquid candy mixing experiment
Activity 4: Vinegar + Baking Soda

I will definitely be running this program again. It might sound silly but I really want to get a lab coat for the science programs and maybe get a little in-character. I will have to think of a scientist name for myself.

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