We just wrapped up another successful week of science experiments. As you know, we love science and any reason to get messy. This year was our first required year of conducting an experiment and recording the results. And we learned a few things. If you are looking for a fun, easy science experiment, with clear directions, this post is for you. I have included free printables for your little one to use if they too have a science fair and need a beautiful backboard. Ready? Its time to conduct our first graded science project, Dissolving Strawberry Hard Candy! **SPOILER ALERT: FINDINGS INCLUDED IN THIS POST.**
~disclaimer: this post is just a fun experiment. We take safety very seriously around this house. Please handle Borax with gloves if being used by little ones. Thank you~
Science Experiments Vs. Science Demonstrations
Did you know that there is a difference between an experiment and demonstration? A science experiment is defined as a series of tests without the outcome being known at the start of the science experiment, while a science demonstration is a test conducted where the outcome is already known.
At the start of science month at Southside Elementry, we were given clear and concise directions: Conduct an experiment, record the findings and create a presentation. Bug wanted to make slime, and I really wanted to show the ecosystem in a fun little terrarium. We had to submit to the teacher our desired project for final approval before we began. Both of our ideas were shot down with the reason being that they were not science experiments, but rather demonstrations.
Back to the drawing board. I am not positive who gave the idea to use candy and 5 different types of liquid, but when it was settled, it was simultaneously approved!
For This Science Experiment, you will need:
1 package of clear cups, 5 count. We found the perfect set at the dollar tree!
1 package of Strawberry Hard Candy (think the kind that grandmas are famously known to have almost always lying around.)
4 ounces vegetable oil
4 ounces vinegar
1 tablespoon borax
1 tablespoon salt
Free Printable Science Backboard Paper Set
White and Red poster board
Forming a hypothesis
Before you begin, ask your science partner what their hypothesis is. “How do you think this will end?” and “Which candy will dissolve the fastest?” are great conversation starters. This is an important step in getting little minds to open up more and become more inquisitive. Remember to record their answer!
Bugs official hypothesis is that the borax will dissolve the most of the hard candy in 24 hours. She says because it is soap it makes sense that it would dissolve the fastest.
A Word About Variables In Your Science Experiment
Variables are things that stay the same and things that will be different in your science experiment. For this one, we can list our variables as such:
Controlled Variables (things that will stay the same for the science experiment)
- Amount of liquid
- Type of candy
- Type of cup
- Temperature of liquid
- Length of time to test
Manipulated Variables (things that will change during the experiment)
- Type of liquid
Responding Variables (what you are measuring)
- Amount of dissolve each candy has after 24 hours
Each time you are conducting a scientific experiment, these three things must be present to be an actual experiment. This is called the scientific process. Teaching youngsters this at a young age will give them an advantage when it is time to participate in local science fairs and expos.
To Start Experimenting
To begin your experiment, you need to assure that all of your liquids are the same temp. We filled each cup accordingly, filling the remaining cups with 4 ounces of water each and one with the salt and one with the borax. (AGAIN: Borax may cause skin irritation. Please handle with care.) After filling each cup set the timer for 24 hours. This will give your liquid time to even out at room temperature.
At the 24 hour mark, its time to add your strawberry hard candy to your science experiment. And wait another 24 hours.
Recording Your Findings
*Spoiler alert: The rest of this post is considered our findings. Feel free to stop reading here until you have finished your own findings. OR, feel free to use this post as a guide of sorts*
Shortly after putting our candies into the cups, almost all of the liquid has a pinkish tint to it. All besides vegetable oil.
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Three hours or so into our science experiment, we have some great data to record. It appears that the hard candy in the borax water is dissolving the fastest. It has visually shrunk and some of the surface candy is missing. Be sure to record any and all changes you find between now and the 24-hour mark, as soon as you notice them. This will help you put together your data the most efficiently.
Over Night Results
Over the next few hours, your candy will begin to dissolve. This will be much more different and exciting when you wake in the morning. Here’s what we found.
The borax water dissolved all of the candy in about ten hours. The vegetable oil was unchanged still.
A 24 Hour Science Project
At the end of our tests, we had compiled our data and are ready to move to the next part of our project: making our data visually pleasing. (my favorite part)
We knew we needed to include the actual test cups on the board so we designed around those. They were glued to the backboard for a visual representation of how each candy faired against each solution.
Our conclusion is that because borax is indeed a soap, it dissolved the strawberry hard candy the fastest. And, because the oil did not have any noticeable change, we can only deduce that oil is some sort of protectant.
I hope that this science experiment brings you closer to conducting your own fun experiments with your kids. While we are not professionals, we do encourage that this and most science experiments are done with adult supervision.
Let this be your conversation starter. Maybe next you want to find out if all soaps will dissolve your hard candy at the same rate or is one more superior? Maybe you want to find out if there are any corrosive properties in the oils you have around the house and decide to test those next. Science should get you and your children excited, and not be a drag.
Books To Go With Your Experiments
Sometimes, we need more inspiration. Included are some of our favorite books as another starting point if this single experiment is just not enough for you. These are books my family has either read and owned or borrowed from friends and family. I highly recommend all of them to add to your collection!
~disclaimer: the following links are affiliate links. That means your price won’t change if you make a purchase, but I will make a small commission. To learn more about these policies, please see my blog disclosure page. Thank you!~
Oh, this book is our newest addition. It is jam-packed with clear and easy to follow instructions, with aids for parents to help get the ball rolling. A fantastic read and our top pick as far as science books go!
I think I have had this book since I was in school. It is timeless and such a great starting point to get things moving and the gears turning!
I hope you found this post helpful. Also, don’t forget to sign up for your science experiment backboard free printables. They will save you tons of time trying to design one on your own.
This kit packs a punch, and includes everything you need to get started conducting scientific experiments with your kids today!
Is there a certain science experiment you would like to see our family conduct? Feel free to drop me a line and we can chat!!
Until next time
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