Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Day 6 of the 13 Days of Halloween: Colorful Candy

Candy is everywhere on Halloween.  Sure they could eat it all, but we should us some for science.  I enjoy creating colorful mixtures with different candy.  It is very easy and creates beautiful results with the right candy.


Different Candies:  Gobstoppers, Sprees, Nerds, Smarties, Gumdrops, Red Hot's, Skittles, M&M's, Peppermints, etc.  They don't all have to work.  That is something the students can learn from.

Small Dish (I like petri dishes.)
Here I used gum drops.  They worked wonderfully.


Alka-Seltzer for extra fun.


1.  Place several of the candies around the dish.  Make sure you use different colors.  You don’t want the same color side by side. 
2.  Slowly pour water into the center of the dish to almost cover the candies. 
3.  Observe.  Make sure no one is bumping the table.  We want to keep the water still. 
4.  Once the color pattern is created have a little extra fun by adding an Alka-Seltzer Tablet. 

How does this happen?

If the candy is brightly colored it will slowly dissolve causing the water around it to turn that color.  There is no special magic trick as to why you get such defined shapes of colors.  It all has to do with mixing.  Since we poured the water slowly the molecules do not mix quickly.  The colors slowly diffuse making a pattern.  If you wait long enough eventually it will all become one mixed color.  If you use warm water this process will happen more quickly.  If you use cold water it will happen more slowly.  It all deals with how fast the molecules are moving.  

Scroll down to see lots of examples and a video.  Students of all ages can do it.
Place the peppermint candy in the center for an interesting pattern.

Spree Candy has very bold colors

Nerds Candy makes beautiful streaks.

Smarties Candy does not do anything.  It doesn't have the dyes.

My favorite is using the white gumball.  I placed it on black paper to truly see the colors.

Take it up a notch and add an Alka-Seltzer tablet.  The fizzing will cause the colors to mix and create more excitement.

This is a STEM Activity where students create their own effervescent table experiment.  Lots of fun and a great addition to color candy.

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