Popcorn is one of my kids’ favorite snacks. Every few days they ask to make popcorn. Our recipe for microwave popcorn is shockingly easy, which makes this STEM investigation a snap to do on a rainy day or any lazy Saturday. We were so pleased with our results and this true popcorn science STEM investigation will definitely last in my kid’s minds.
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My kids love love love some popcorn. I mean every time we have a movie they ask to make some popcorn in our popcorn maker. It only made sense to use popcorn for our latest science experiment!
What you’ll need for the popcorn science experiment:
We started our STEM investigation by asking if changing how the kernels are treated before placing them in the microwave would change how well and how many of the kernels popped.
We had four kernel groups:
- Control group (plain kernels)
- Soaked in oil group
- Soaked in water group
- Pre-heated group
We measured 1/4 of a cup of kernels for each group. The oil and water groups we soaked for about an hour before popping. We heated the pre-heat group in the microwave for 40 seconds before popping.
The kids carefully labeled each container so they could keep track of which kernels belonged in each group.
We placed each group of kernels in a brown paper lunch sack and folded the top down. Each group of kernels were heated for exactly 2 minutes in our microwave.
After heating, the kids performed a taste test and a kernel test to determine the best way to cook popcorn.
- The pre-heat group tasted burned, but had the most kernels pop.
- The soaked in water group had the least amount of kernels popped and tasted “watery.”
- The non-treated group had some non-popped kernels.
- The oil treated group tasted a little better and had more kernels popped than the water and non-treated groups.
The kids determined that soaking kernels in oil before heating them is the best way to ensure your popcorn tastes good and pops the majority of the kernels.
What is your favorite rainy day STEM activity?
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