STEAM at Home: Creepy Candy

To celebrate Eat Anything You Want Day and Twilight Zone Day (May 11), I thought it would be fun to experiment with creating some creepy candies: dancing worms, growing gummy bears, and rainbow candy art.

I have always been fascinated by creepy crawlies and I have a sweet tooth, so a project that combined experiments with candy sounded like lots of fun. I also love researching STEAM projects and learning the creative science behind the process.

As an adult, it’s a really fun way to get in touch with your inner child. And as a parent or caregiver these experiments can be educational, fun and yummy!

 

Dancing Worms
For this experiment, you will need:

  • ½ cup of baking soda
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of vinegar
  • a knife
  • a spoon
  • paper towels
  • gummy worms

First, slice the worms through the middle, so that they become skinny (make sure to slice the gummy worms very thin). Next, place the thinner gummy worms on a paper towel. Mix the ½ cup of baking soda into the cup of water and make sure to stir it well. Next, take the thin gummy worms from the paper towel and place them in the water that has been mixed with baking soda. Wait fifteen minutes for the gummy worms to absorb the baking soda. After fifteen minutes put the soaked worms into the cup of vinegar. Watch them dance and wiggle!

The science behind dancing worms:
The worms dance because of the chemical reaction that occurs between the baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and the acid in the vinegar. This reaction creates gas bubbles that stick to the worms’ sides and cause them to float up and down. If your project doesn’t work the first time, you can try adding more baking soda or cutting the worms even thinner.

 

Rainbow Candy Art
For this experiment, you will need three ingredients:

  • regular plate (use a sturdy one, not paper)
  • candy that has a few different colors (I used Skittles)
  • hot water

First arrange the candy in an order that seems pleasing: (I used green, yellow, red, purple and brown.) Next, boil some hot water. Carefully pour the water in the middle of the plate. Wait a few minutes to watch your beautiful candy art develop!

 

The science behind rainbow candy:
Skittles are coated in food coloring. When water is poured over the candies, the coating dissolves and spreads through the water. Both the color and sugar dissolve into the water and then diffuse through the water, making it the color of the candy.

 

Floating Letters:
For this experiment, you will need:

  • M&M’s in a variety of colors
  • bowl or short cup of water

Something really cool happens when you place a few M&M’s in a cup of regular water, wait, and watch! Just like in the rainbow candy experiment, the colors will create a rainbow. If you wait a bit longer, the edible paper “m” will detach from the surface of the candy and float to the top!

Growing Gummies:
For this experiment, you will need:

  • gummy bears or gummy worms
  • liquids of your choice: water, water mixed with baking soda, salt water, vinegar, milk, lemon soda, etc.

Gummy worms and bears are probably my favorite candy, so making them bigger sounded fun. Soak the gummies in one or more of the liquids listed above. After soaking them for four hours, see if they have grown any bigger. You can use a notebook and write down your observations.

 

Some questions to consider about your Growing Gummies:

  • Which liquid changed the gummy bear the most? Why?
  • Did any of the gummy bears stay the same size?
  • What were the measurements before and after the gummy was soaked in the liquids?
  • How does osmosis affect the gummy bears?

Resources:
https://www.thoughtco.com/dancing-gummy-worms-science-experiment-604166
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNuuh6l2VAw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANu-KuzxSv4
https://www.homeschool.com/blog/2014/04/homeschool-science-gummy-bear-osmosis/

Twilight Zone song
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVSRm80WzZk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-b5aW08ivHU

Kanopy Kids video
Creepy Carrots by Weston Woods

Books and videos on OverDrive
Crafty Science by Jane Bull
*Everything I Need to Know I Learned in the Twilight Zone by Mark Dawidziak (for caretakers)
Food Network Magazine: The Big, Fun Kids Cookbook
National Geographic Kids Cookbook
Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds (book & video)
Art for Little Kids, Abridged Edition by Susan Schwake

Categories: eNewsletter, Featured, Homepage Kids, Kids, and Library News.

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