Experiments, Holiday, Tips and Tricks

Experimenting with Peeps

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This past week, we experimented with some peeps in the kitchen! Many of the experiment ideas, I was able to find by just searching the internet, but we also improvised. In the cases where I followed experiments exactly, I included their links for reference to ingredients and recipes.

Young children love experimenting… their entire day truly is just experimentation – so less structure is better and it’s more fun when introducing new concepts to them. We usually do the experiment together (it must be short for attention span) and then I give them plenty of time to explore and test on their own with whatever is left.

Peep ‘Slime’: (We followed the recipe listed on Little Bins for Little Hands.)

This experiment didn’t turn out like slime… I would consider the texture to be more like taffy. It even tasted a little like taffy! (This might have happened because we had one less peep than the recipe calls for…) But it was fun for the kids to watch what happens to peeps in the microwave and also mix all the ingredients together to see the texture of the peep change. They played with it a little but both were more interested in tasting it.

Sinking Peeps:

A few weeks ago we tested out various fruits and vegetables in water to see if they would sink or float (see my link on instagram with photos here or purchase the book ‘Awesome Science Experiments for Kids’ with the instructions here). So when I told them we would be doing the same thing with a peeps, they were very excited!

I asked them to form a hypothesis – if the peep would sink or float and why. We all seemed to agree that the peep would float because it had air pockets – similar to the fruits and vegetables that we tried. We tested the hypothesis to see if we were correct and we were.

I then allowed them to try sinking the peep. So they dunked it and pulled it apart… I would say they got a little crazy at this point and the peeps turned into chunks of white on top and powdery colored water. They threw the peep slime in the bowl and it sank! My four year old pointed out that the corn starch eliminated the air pockets which caused it to sink.

Dissolving Peeps:

Lastly, we decided to dissolve a peep. I personally selected white vinegar because it was an ingredient we would soon we using in egg coloring. I also assumed that if any liquid would dissolve a peep from our kitchen it would be that one. You could also try oil, water or any other liquids in your kitchen.

We formed a hypothesis again. My four year old thought that the white vinegar would dissolve the peep. I told her that I did NOT think that it would dissolve the peep. We put the peeps in the white vinegar solution and observed them for several days. Initially, within the first hour, the white vinegar turned a yellow color from the sugar dissolving away on the bottom of the peeps but the peep itself didn’t dissolve.

My four year thought I had won, but we decided to wait a few more days to see what might happen. Over the course of those days, the peeps did in fact begin dissolving in the white vinegar slowly. The peeps became smaller, began tearing when I picked them up and they were also sinking. My four year old was so excited that her hypothesis was correct. This was a great way to teach her that sometimes your tests have to take longer than you expect them to in order to get a desired result.

Let me know if you try any of these experiments at home! I’d love to hear and see your results! You can contact me on social media or at momgineeringthefuture@gmail.com.

Experiments, Halloween, Inexpensive and Versatile

Leftover Halloween Candy Experiments

Happy Halloween!!! 

I love Halloween.  Seeing the smiles on my children’s faces when they finally pick out the PERFECT costume, watching them go door to door and then the excitement they have when they get home and check out all the candy that they received.  I remember trick or treating with my brother and some cousins when I was younger.  We used to dump all of our candy on the floor, sort through it and trade pieces.   It was the BEST!

Now that I’m a parent, I think about… how do I regulate this candy intake for my child’s health AND how do I keep myself from eating it and gaining 5-10 pounds (haha)!?!?!?

Well… why not take some of that leftover candy and do some STEM experimenting???  So, that’s what we did!!!  I researched a few experiments on-line and we got started.

We did a few simple experiments to study dissolution and weighing.  Then my 3 year old completely surprised me with her own design!  It taught experimentation, observation and provided her practice in verbalizing what we observed.  The supplies are so simple and are typical items I think most parents have in their house at all times.

DISSOLUTION:

Experiment 1:

GATHERING SUPPLIES:

I used 9 clear plastic cups, about a half cup each of vinegar, water, and vegetable oil, and leftover Halloween candy (we used Skittles, M&M’s and Smarties, do not use chocolate candies because it will not dissolve).

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DESIGNING / SETTING UP THE EXPERIMENT:

My toddler is just learning to read but can’t quite read yet, so I knew I needed to make the instructions visual for her.  I drew out our plans on a sheet of paper.

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Our plans for Experiment 1

We walked through the plans step by step.  I filled the cups with the liquids (oil, water and vinegar) and she dropped each candy in.

RESULTS:

Right away she noticed that the water and the vinegar had removed the color coating on the Skittle and the M&M.  We let them sit for a while… maybe 30 minutes then relooked at them.  She was able to identify that the vinegar and water solutions were better for dissolving the candy than the oil.

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Top (left to right): Smartie in vinegar, water and oil; Middle (left to right): M&M in vinegar, water and oil; Botttom (left to right): vinegar, water and oil

After about an hour, the Skittle in vinegar was completely dissolved and almost dissolved in the water.  She recognized that the chocolate from the M & M did not dissolve and the Smartie did not dissolve at all but if shaken slightly, it broke apart a little bit in the vinegar and water.

Experiment 2:

GATHERING SUPPLIES:

Gather three tablespoons of water in a shallow dish, a spoonful of baking soda, and candy NERDS.

20181031_085709SETTING UP THE EXPERIMENT:

Add water to the shallow dish.  Dump in the candy NERDS and then a spoonful of baking soda.

RESULTS:

Wait a few minutes and you will start to see bubbles forming.  The bubbles form due to a chemical reaction that creates a gas.  The baking soda is very basic, the nerds are acidic and the water, which is neutral, helps the reaction along.  If you let it sit for a really long time, the NERDS will completely dissolve.

Experiment 3: 

GATHERING SUPPLIES: You need one SMARTIE and a half a cup of vinegar and a plate.

SETTING UP THE EXPERIMENT: Place the SMARTIE on a plate and pour vinegar over the top of it.

20181031_085323RESULTS:

You will see bubbles forming on the surface of the SMARTIE and eventually (this literally takes FOREVER), some candy will break off the edges.  This experiment could give an example of how erosion works but Experiment 2 with the candy NERDS would accomplish the same thing – it’s a bit quicker and more exciting.

WEIGHING:

GATHERING SUPPLIES:  We used a coat hanger, 4 total cupcake cups, yarn, a hole punch and some M&M’s.

20181031_091540.jpgSETTING UP THE EXPERIMENT: I layered two cupcake cups together, then punched holes on each side of the cups.  I strung some yarn through (I recommend making your string longer than mine to create a more dramatic effect when one cup is filled with candy).  I then tied the yard with cups to each end of the coat hanger and hung the coat hanger on a handle.

RESULTS:  My three year old chose a side to pour the M&M’s into and I made her guess what would happen (develop a hypothesis), the she poured the M&M’s into the side she selected.  We watched as the hanging moved to that side.  I asked her what she thought that meant.  She said, “there are ‘too many’ M&M’s on that side”.  Basically, she was right but I helped her understand it wasn’t that their were ‘too many’, but that one side was heavier than the other side.  Then my one year old knocked them out of the cups and the M&M’s were eaten… so our experiment ended (HAHA!).

Side Note:  During the experiments, we had several candy spills.  My toddler surprised me and completely gathered her own supplies, designed and made her own pulley system to help bring the candy up from the floor.  I was in complete and utter awe of her thinking and creativity.  It made me feel like I was doing something right as a ‘Momgineer’.

If you do a web search for “Halloween candy STEM experiments”, tons will pop up!  I personally LOVED this website and wished we could have done the Pop Rocks experiment – but we didn’t have Pop Rocks. 

Let me know if you try any other experiments or have a piece of candy you’d like to test but don’t know how!!!  If you’d like to write a feature article on your experiments for my page, please don’t hesitate to contact me at momgineeringthefuture@gmail.com.

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