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Why Does Honey Crystallize?

based on 155 ratings
Author: Tricia Edgar
Topics: Third Grade, Food
See in slideshow:
10 Food Experiments for Kids

Has your sweet treat turned tough all of a sudden? If you’ve ever struggled to get honey out of a jar, you’ll know that this treat is sometimes a liquid and sometimes a solid.  In this experiment, you’ll explore the properties of honey to answer the question: Why does honey crystallize?

Problem:

What makes honey crystallize? What factors change the speed at which honey crystallizes?  

Materials:

  • 5 small, identical food jars with lids
  • Masking tape to act as labels
  • Cotton ball
  • Popsicle stick
  • Honey (If possible, get natural honey that’s from a local farm. Some honey is mixed with other substances, and this could change the results of your experiment)
  • Measuring spoons
  • Canola oil
  • Water
  • Freezer
  • Timer
  • Toothpick
  • Digital thermometer

Procedure

  1. Add a small amount of cold water to each container. Container #1 gets one teaspoon of water, container #2 gets 2 teaspoons, container #3 has 3 teaspoons, and container #4 has 4 teaspoons. The fifth container will have only honey.

Honey Crystal Container Diagram

  1. Add 1 tablespoon of honey to each of the containers. This is the tricky part, since honey doesn’t like to flow easily off a spoon! Oil your spoon using the cotton ball by dipping the ball in the oil and spreading it lightly over the spoon. Next, fill the spoon with honey. Finally, push the honey off the spoon into the container. Use the Popsicle stick if you need to scrape it off the spoon so that you don’t feel tempted to eat the experiment!
  2. Use the popsicle stick to gently mix the honey and the water together in each jar.
  3. Create a hypothesis, your best guess about what is going to happen. When you put your containers in the refrigerator, which one do you think will crystallize the fastest? Why?
  4. Create a chart to track your findings. The chart will have five rows. On the left side of each row, place the jar numbers. Begin with jar 1 at the top and go down to jar 5 at the bottom. On the top of the chart, place times. The first time is 2 minutes, the second is 4 minutes, and so on. You will place an X under the time when you first see crystals forming. On the side of the chart, create an area for notes. This is where you will note the temperature at which each jar of honey started to crystallize.

 

 

2 min

4 min

6 min

8 min

10 min

12 min

14 min

Jar 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jar 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jar 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jar 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jar 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Put all of the jars into the freezer, and set a timer. After 2 minutes, look at the jars and check them for signs of crystallization. The honey may look rough or cloudy. Watch the jars but try not to handle them, since the heat from your hands could change the way the honey crystallizes.
  2. Continue to look at the jars every 2 minutes. If you see crystals forming, place the thermometer into the honey and record the temperature on your chart.
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