My fifth grader came home the other day all excited. She’d apparently just had a fantastic science class and wanted to do a science project at home. We’d just been to the store, and I had purchased a few pounds of candy. She decided to see which type of candy would dissolve in water the fastest and how long it would take for all the candy to dissolve. Without further ado, here is her project — the candy experiment.
We started by selecting which candies to test. She decided to use a Starburst, Skittle, Tootsie Roll, and Smartie. She placed them in about ¼ cup of water each and left them to sit.
My fifth grader thought at the beginning that the Smartie would be the first to dissolve. She said she thought the Smartie would be the first to dissolve because of how fast a Smartie dissolves in her mouth. She also thought the Skittle would take the longest to dissolve because of how much she has to chew a Skittle to eat it.
After about two minutes in, the Skittle had lost its outer coating. After about 13 minutes about half of the Skittle had dissolved. After about 25 minutes of sitting in the water, the Skittle had completely dissolved. It was the first of the candies to dissolve in the water.
The next candy to dissolve completely was the Tootsie Roll. The Tootsie Roll started dissolving almost immediately, but seemed to slow considerably. At about eight minutes, we could no longer see into the Tootsie Roll’s water and thought it was dissolved, but reaching in with a spoon, we found it was still 2/3 of its original size. At 20 minutes in, only about 1/3 of the Tootsie Roll was left. The Tootsie Roll was completely dissolved after 42 minutes.
The Smartie was the next candy to dissolve. Although, how it dissolved was really surprising to us all. After 21 minutes, the Smartie appeared unchanged. The water was clear, and it appeared to have not changed at all. At the 25 minute mark, though, we found out that the Smartie was dissolving from the inside out. We reached in a spoon to take pictures of all the candies at this point. When we did, several pieces of the Smartie broke off. However, it wasn’t until minute 55 that the Smartie had completely dissolved. It was our third candy to dissolve.
The candy which took the longest to dissolve was, surprisingly, the Starburst. At minute 21, the water holding the Starburst was also so cloudy that the Starburst was difficult to see. But, by minute 31 only half the Starburst had dissolved. By minute 55, the Starburst was down to 1/3 of its original size. The Starburst just kept on dissolving. It wasn’t until 117 minutes, or 1 hour and 57 minutes, that the Starburst had completely dissolved.
My fifth grader was very surprised by the way the candy dissolved. Honestly, so was I. We both expected the Smartie, which is made up of sugar, to dissolve the quickest, and would not have guessed that it was the Skittle which would win the dissolving race. The best part about this experiment for me was watching my daughter be excited about finding the answer. This experiment was her design and her idea. She was curious and figured out a way to satisfy that curiousity.
Have you done any fun science investigations with your children lately? I’d love to hear about it if you have.