Candy Science Experiments & STEM Challenge

Halloween Candy Science Experiments

These science experiments are the perfect way to get rid of leftover Halloween candy or to just add something sweet to your science curriculum!

Skittles Density Rainbow

In this fun science experiment you use Skittles candy to create a rainbow in a clear glass or jar. It’s perfect to do after Halloween with leftover candy or in the spring around St. Patrick’s Day. It is a simple way to teach students about density.

Materials Needed:

Skittles candy
6 small glasses or jars
eye dropper
hot water
a tablespoon

Place 2 Tablespoons of hot water in each of 5 glasses.

Place the following number of Skittles in each of the 5 glasses:

2 red
4 orange
6 yellow
8 green
10 purple

Skittles for rainbow density experiment

Skittles for rainbow density experiment

Wait for the Skittles to dissolve. If you need to speed up the process, microwave each cup up to 30 seconds.

While the Skittles are dissolving, I have students record how many Skittles of each color we are using for the experiment.

We then discuss which color they think has the most sugar and would therefore be the most dense. I then have students predict what color they feel should be on the bottom of the rainbow (the purple because it is the most dense and therefore the heaviest).

Skittles rainbow experiment page

Once the candy is dissolved, allow the water to cool (cold water is more dense than warm water).

Have students help you arrange the glasses from most dense to least dense.

Using the eye dropper, transfer the purple water to a new glass or jar.

Then add the green water to the new jar using the eye dropper and SLOWLY dribble the water along the inside of the glass. If you dump the water in or add it too quickly they will mix together and the rainbow will not form.

adding colors to the rainbow Skittles density candy experiment

Continue to slowly add the remaining colors in order using the eye dropper to form the Skittles density rainbow.

Skittles density rainbow candy experiment

Skittles density rainbow science experiment

After the experiment, I have students draw pictures of the rainbow and write what they learned (The water with the most Skittles was the most dense because it had the most sugar. The water layered from most dense to least dense.)

Skittles Rainbow experiment page

Candy Sink or Float Experiment

This simple and fun candy sink or float experiment is the perfect way to teach students about the scientific method and get rid of leftover Halloween candy.

Materials Needed:

a variety of candy bars or candy
bowl of water
recording page

Show students the candy and pose the question “Do you think the candy will sink or float?”.

candy sink or float experiment

Allow students to pick up and observe the candy bars before making their predictions (hypotheses) about each one.

I had each student make their own prediction and record it on a page. They drew a picture beside each candy to show their prediction (drawing a picture and knowing where to place it in the bowl helps reinforce the concept of sink or float).

candy sink or float experiment recording page

Place each candy bar in the bowl of water to test whether it sinks or floats.

Here were the results from our test:

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup – sank

candy sink or float experiment

Three Musketeers Bar – floated

candy sink or float experiment Three Musketeers Bar

Tootsie Roll – sank

candy sink or float experiment Tootsie Roll

Kit Kat Bar – floated

candy sink or float experiment Kit Kat Bar

York Peppermint Patty – sank

candy sink or float experiment York Peppermint Patty

100 Grand – sank

candy sink or float experiment 100 Grand Bar

As we tested each candy bar students recorded the results of the experiment on their pages.

candy sink or float experiment recording sheet

After all the results were recorded it was time to analyze the results. We broke open the candy bars to observe the insides and figure out why the Kit Kat bar and Three Musketeers bar floated. We observed that they both had more air pockets inside and were therefore less dense than water which made them float.

What Dissolves Candy Corn Experiment

Candy corn is one of my favorite treats so I always have a lot of it on hand at Halloween which is why I do several candy experiments with it. Unfortunately it is ALL sugar and one of the worst candies for you, especially for your teeth :(. This experiment is a fun way for students to learn what dissolves candy corn (sugar) the quickest.

Please note that the liquids used for testing can be modified (warm water works best so I advise that be used). These were the ones we had on hand and the students wanted to test.

Materials Needed:

candy corn
glass jars or glasses
room temperature water
vinegar
oil
pop (or some of you may call it soda, we used Sprite because it was clear)

Fill each jar or class with the same amount of each liquid. We used 1/2 cup which was more than enough. Label each.

Ask students to predict which liquid they think will dissolve candy corn the quickest.

We recorded our results before beginning the test (experiment).

candy corn science experiment page

Drop a piece of candy corn in each jar at the same time.

candy corn science experiment

Observe the jars/glasses. You should observe that the candy corn begins to dissolve in the warm water fairly quickly followed by the vinegar. It was bubbling in the pop (soda) but not dissolving quite as quickly as it was in the water and vinegar. It didn’t seem to do much at all in the oil.

You can either wait to see which liquid completely dissolves the piece of candy corn first or take out the pieces after a while to more closely observe the results (this is what I did to make it easier for students to observe and record the results).

candy corn science experiment results

In our experiment the warm water dissolved the candy corn the quickest followed by the vinegar, pop, oil.

I had students record the results of the candy experiment on their pages.

 

candy corn science experiment recording sheet

Students can also record actual photos of the experiment using Pic Collage.

candy corn science experiment recording sheet Pic Collage

The Science Behind It:

Water molecules have powerful magnetic properties that break apart the bonds that hold sugar molecules together. They can actually insert themselves between the sugar molecules which is why the sugar (candy corn) breaks apart. Eventually they insert themselves in between all of the sugar molecules dissolving the candy corn.

What Dissolves Candy Corn Experiment (Hot or Cold Water)

Another version of the dissolving candy corn experiment to try is whether hot water or cold water dissolves candy corn the quickest. This is an easier version for younger students.

Materials Needed:

candy corn
2 clear glasses or jars
hot water
cold water

Before beginning the experiment have students hypothesize which water they think will dissolve the candy corn the quickest and record their predictions.

candy corn science experiment page - hot or cold water

Place the same amount of hot and cold water in each jar or glass (we used 1/2 cup). Place a piece of candy corn in each glass at the same time.

candy corn science experiment - hot or cold water

The hot water starts to dissolve the candy corn piece right away.

Observe the glasses until a piece of the candy corn is dissolved.

dissolving candy corn science experiment - hot or cold water

Record and discuss the results. Students can draw the results or take photos with their iPads and record the results in an app such as Pic Collage.

candy corn experiment page

candy corn experiment page - Pic Collage

The Science Behind It:

Water molecules have powerful magnetic properties that break apart the bonds that hold sugar molecules together. They can actually insert themselves between the sugar molecules which is why the sugar (candy corn) breaks apart. Eventually they insert themselves in between all of the sugar molecules dissolving the candy corn.

The heat in the hot water makes the molecules move faster so the water molecules are able to break up the sugar (candy corn) molecules at a faster rate.

Candy Corn Stacking STEM Challenge

There is a legend that says candy corn got its name because when you stack it up just right it looks like an ear of corn. In this STEM challenge students see how high they can stack pieces of candy corn before the stack collapses.

Materials Needed:

candy corn (approximately 60-75 pieces per student)

Give each student a bag or pile of candy corn.

Explain that they are to stack the candy corn in a circle to resemble a piece of corn and that their base (bottom) must have at least 10 pieces of candy corn.

candy corn STEM challenge

On your signal students begin to build their candy corn stacks.

candy corn STEM stacking challenge

Once their stack falls or pieces fall in to the center (they usually fall in on themselves) they have to stop and count how many pieces of candy corn they were able to stack.

You can give students a certain time period to stack their candy corn or allow them to stack until all stacks fall.

candy corn stacking STEM challenge stacking candy corn STEM challenge

Have students record how many pieces of candy corn they were able to stack. You can also have them reflect on what was the easiest and most challenging parts of stacking the candy corn.

Discuss the findings. The winner is the student who was able to stack the most pieces of candy corn.

candy corn STEM challenge page

If you would like to use the candy science experiment printable pages from this post with your students CLICK HERE.

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