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DIY Science

Rainy day blues? Summertime slump? Cabin fever?

Don’t worry… we’ve got you covered!

Adventure Science Center is proud to offer DIY Science lessons and experiments the whole family can enjoy! Each lesson provides instruction, a materials list, and ideas for activities to get hands-on with science, including sample questions to get those gears turning. Check back for more lessons!

CANDY CANE CAPER by Bethany Caldwell, Science Educator

Appropriate for: Pre-K to Kindergarten

The winter season is here, bringing all the lights and cheer! Snowmen and reindeer are all around, and a winter caper has been found. It’s minty and sweet, and some say a tasty treat…

We know that crunching and munching on a candy cane will make it disappear. But, what happens if we add a little science? Could candy canes dissolve faster in different liquids?

Materials

  • Five small candy canes
  • 5 jars
  • 1 cup of soda
  • 1 cup of vinegar
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 1 cup of room temperature water
  • 1 cup of cold water
  • Stopwatch

Activity

Let’s use the scientific method to guide our process! Our question is “Could candy canes dissolve faster in different liquids?”

Start by forming a hypothesis as to which liquid you believe will dissolve your candy canes the fastest.

Then, begin setting up your experiment. Pour a different cup of liquid into each of your jars, making sure to label which one is which. Going one liquid at a time, drop a candy cane into the liquid and use your stopwatch to keep track of how long it takes to dissolve. Observe what happens as the candy cane dissolves, and record the time on a sheet of paper.

You can even test how long it takes for a candy cane to dissolve in your mouth. Just resist the temptation to chomp down… it’ll skew your results!

Once you’ve tested all your liquids, it’s time to analyze the data you’ve collected and draw a conclusion. Which liquid made your candy cane disappear the fastest?

The Science

Matter is the name of the game in this experiment.

Why does the candy cane disappear? For a liquid to dissolve a solid, the molecules must attract one another. Sugar (also known as sucrose) is made of large molecules. When sugars dissolve, whole sugar molecules separate from one another – but the molecule itself doesn’t come apart. As the attraction between water molecules and sugar molecules overcome the attraction of sugar molecules to each other, the sugars then begin to separate and dissolve.

Did you smell a minty aroma as you conducted the experiment? That’s the candy canes changing states of matter from a solid to a gas

Further Exploration

  • Could other liquids be used for this experiment?
  • What happens if you use a different size of candy cane?
  • Could other wintery treats be used for this experiment?

What’s Next?

Take a photo of your experiment, post it on social media, and tag Adventure Science Center for a chance to be featured on our page!

  

- Bethany Caldwell, Science Educator

Posted by Molly Hornbuckle at 7:30 AM
800 Fort Negley Blvd. Nashville, TN 37203
615-862-5160
Hours: 10:00am - 5:00pm
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