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Candy Science: A Halloween Experiment

based on 13 ratings
Author: Beth Touchette

With Halloween right around the corner, find a way to use your brain and reward your tummy with a new type of science -- candy science! Have you ever wondered what makes candy bars different, besides just the way they taste? In this delicious (but not very nutricious) project, we'll look at what happens when you place two different types of candy bars in water.

Problem:

What makes a candy bar sink or float?

Materials

  • 2 chocolate candy bars filled with nuts
  • 2 chocolate candy bars filled with nougat
  • Plastic knife
  • 2 small plates
  • Note
  • Pencil
  • Magnifying glass
  • Large bowl
  • Water

Procedure:

  1. Unwrap all four candy bars. 
  2. Take a look at the outsides of each candy bar. What do you notice about each bar that is the same or different? Try to use all your senses (except taste -- that will come later).
  3. Write down three observations you made about the candy bar in your notebook.
  4. Use the plastic knife to carefully cut all four candy bars in half.
  5. Separate the candy bars based on what you see on the inside.
  6. What is the same or different about the way each group of candy bars look? Use your magnifying glass to examine each bar.
  7. Write down your observations in your notebook.
  8. Do you think any of the candy bars will float in water? Study what you wrote in your notebook. Do you think any of your observations could give you a hint?
  9. What do you think makes an object like a candy bar sink or float? Write down your hypothesis, or guess, in your notebook.
  10. Fill a large bowl with water.
  11. Place all four candy bars in the bowl.
  12. Do any of them sink or float?

Results:

The candy bars filled with nuts will sink to the bottom of the bowl, but the candy bars filled with nougat will sink. 

Why?

Even though all four candy bars looked the same on the outside, their fillings, the noutgat or nuts inside each bar, made a big difference. Nougat is usually made from sugar or honey. It has a lot of tiny holes in it -- kind of a like a sponge. When the candy bar filled with nougat is placed in the water, these air holes keep it afloat. On the other hand, the candy bar filled with nuts is much, much heavier. Those nuts don't have any little holes. In the same way that a heavy rock would quickly sink, the chocolate bar filled with heavy nuts sinks straight to the bottom of the bowl.

Now you know that candy bars can be different in another way besides taste -- some sink and some float! Can you think of any ways to experiment with your Halloween candy? Do you think all chocolate melts the same way? You could try microwaving milk chocolate and dark chocolate candy to see which type melts faster. Don't stop guessing and testing! Staying curious is what scientists do every day. And with candy science, you'll get a tasty treat after every experiment.

 

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