Chemistry isn't just incredible ... sometimes it's edible, too! These crystal lollipops are a delicious introduction to some very lick-able chemistry concepts. Teach your child about saturation, evaporation, and crystallization with a simple kitchen concoction that will leave her hungry for more chemistry.
What You Need:
- Measuring cups
- Wooden spoon
- Plastic wrap
- 2 cups water
- 4 cups granulated white sugar
- Glass jar
- Popsicle sticks
What You Do:
- Help your child dip the popsicle stick into water.
- Have her sprinkle a small amount of the granulated sugar onto a flat surface.
- Let her roll the popsicle stick around in the sugar, creating a place for the crystals to start growing.
- Turn the heat on the stove to medium and place the pot on the stove.
- Help her to carefully add the water to the pot.
- Allow the water to come to a full, rolling boil.
- Take over duties and carefully pour one cup of the granulated sugar into the pot.
- Using the wooden spoon, stir the sugar until it's completely dissolved.
- Then, still handling duties, add in the next cup of granulated sugar.
- Using the wooden spoon, stir the sugar again until it’s completely dissolved.
- Repeat with the remaining two cups of sugar.
- Once the last cup of sugar is dissolved, remove the pot from the heat.
- Allow the sugar water to cool for ten minutes.
- Help your child place the funnel into the glass jar.
- Take back over duties and carefully pour the sugar water into the jar.
- Next, help your child carefully place the wooden skewer in the jar.
- Ask her to place a sheet of plastic wrap over the jar (poke it around the popsicle stick).
- Find a cool place for the jar to sit undisturbed overnight.
- Allow the crystal lollipop to sit until the desired amount of sugar crystals are formed. Crystals will begin to form in about three hours.
- Help your child remove the lollipop from the jar and let her enjoy her scientific treat!
What's Going On Here?
Heating the water forces more sugar to dissolve than could possibly do so under ordinary conditions. This process leads to supersaturation, which is what happens when a chemical solution contains more solute, or subtance that helps create a solution than is typically possible. When the mixtures cool, the water can no longer handle all that extra sugar. After you pour the lollipop solution in the cups, the water evaporates and sugar crystals remain.