Simple Candy Experiments for Science

Candy-related Earth Science experiments are fun because they bring science and the joy of eating and cooking together into one experience. When teaching Earth Science, you'll want to take advantage of opportunities to make experiments hands-on and interactive so you don't risk boring students. As a parent, you can enhance your child's Earth Science education by trying some fun science activities at home.

Kids will love these two candy Earth Science experiments, because they end with delicious treats to enjoy.

Making Rock Candy
Creating rock candy demonstrates how crystals are formed. The experiment is relatively simple and does not require much in the way of ingredients, cost or effort. It does take time, however, so kids will need to be patient while they wait for results.

What You Will Need:

  • A clear jar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 piece of string, about 10 inches long
  • A popsicle stick or a wooden spoon

In a small saucepan, mix the sugar and water together over low heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved. This may take quite a while; ideally you should add the sugar one spoonful at a time and mix until the sugar dissolves, then add another spoonful.

Pour the sugar and water mixture into the clear jar. Tie one end of the string to the popsicle stick or the handle of the wooden spoon. Balance the stick or handle on top of the jar so that the string hangs down into the water mixture.

Allow the jar to sit for a week. Each day you will need to break up the hard coating that will form on the surface of the sugar solution. Do not stir the mixture when you do this. Watch each day as the water evaporates and the sugar crystallizes on the string.

This project can also be done in shallow pans. The crystals will collect on the bottom of the pan, rather than in the classic rock candy formation.

Candy Erosion
This candy Earth Science experiment will help your children explore the effects of erosion on geological structures. Using candy, water, wind and acid, you can show your children how different forces erode a solid substance at different rates.

What You Will Need:

  • A bag of SweeTarts candy
  • 1 cup water
  • A hair dryer
  • A bottle of mildly acidic liquid, such as cider vinegar

Talk to the kids about how erosion affects geologic structures, using the Grand Canyon as your example. Then have the kids do the following steps:

Have the kids place one whole SweeTart into a bowl. Using the hair dryer, blow hot air on the candy. See if they can get the SweeTart to bang around in the bowl. Talk about how wind erosion can cause damage to geological structures, especially if the wind picks up pieces of sand to buffet against the stone or soil. Remove the SweeTart from the bowl.

Now have the kids crush a SweeTart and then place it in the bowl. Use the hair dryer on the crushed SweeTart, then discuss how more vulnerable to erosion crushed rock, or soil, is than solid rock. Dump out the crushed candy.

Place another whole SweeTart into the bowl. Pour water over the SweeTart and time how long it takes for the Sweet Tart to dissolve. Wash out the bowl, then discuss how some solid substances can be dissolved using water, whereas some substances resist this form of erosion. Repeat this step with crushed SweeTart and discuss how much faster the erosion occurs.

Clean out the bowl and start with another whole Sweet Tart. Cover the Sweet Tart with an acidic liquid and record how long it takes for the Sweet Tart to erode. Repeat this step with the crushed Sweet Tart. Apply your findings to real-life erosion situations.

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Doing Earth Science experiments with your child is a great way to encourage interest in scientific study. Try these simple ideas to bring the main branches of Earth Science to life.

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