Sunday, May 25, 2008

Why Does Popcorn Pop?

That is the first question we have answered using The Science Chef. I have been using an unschooling/hands-on approach to science for quite some time, and this book is really helping us out in the kitchen. We all know science happens in the kitchen, that is a no brainer. But actually finding out why things happen and work in the way they do is key.

The Science Chef, a random book I found in my library, is an excellent book that gives kids enough information and directions to get them started. The kids can then take over and find the magic of science. (or something like No worksheets are needed or theory forms filled out, just the inquizativeness and sponge that is your child's brain, and a mama who doesn't care that her kitchen is covered with popcorn.

To start with the kids measured three cups of popcorn. 1 cup went into a control bag.
The next cup was put on a baking sheet and stuck in a 250 degree oven for 1 hour.
The next cup went into a bowl of was for an hour.
Then they made popcorn in the air popper using the popcorn they began with. After the popping for all three batches of popcorn was done, the kids then measured the popcorn in cup incriments.They then viewed the results and determined which batch popped the best. This is where, if mommy was on her A-game, I would insert the picture of all three batches with the index cards that told what batch it was and how many cups of popcorn there was. Of course we ate the result way before I even thought of taking pictures.
The results were not at all what the kids expected. The guessed the popcorn in the oven would pop better than either the control or water popcorn. In reality, the control and water popcorn both popped the same amount, around10 cups. The oven only popped about 8 cups. What they ultimately learned is that there is a tiny drop of water in each kernel of popcorn which gives it the steam that allows it to pop. By putting the popcorn in the oven they dried the droplet of water thus now allowing the popcorn to pop to it's full potential.
copyright 2008 The Homefront Lines


Sam said...

Cool experiment!

School for Us said...

What a neat experiment! I'll have to do this next time I'm at my mom's as she has an air popper.

Freakmom said...

Cool! I just put that book on my Amazon wish list. I'm thinking Violet my science loving chef will be all over it! Thanks!

BevG said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. We did a similar popcorn experiment earlier this year. We also froze some of the corn to see if that was better. It was.

Our soaking overnight and our drying in the oven produced fewer pops than the control. Here is a link to my blog post.

- BevG

Sarah Conway said...

Hey could you please please tell me what kind of popcorn maker that is? My gramma used to have the same one! Please?? Whats the make and model?

Sarah Conway said...

Hi what kind of popcorn machine are you using in these pics? Like the make / model?
Thank you so much!

Gerky said...

Unfortunately, I don't know what kind of popcorn popper that was. I probably bought it at a garage sale. Since this post I have had to purchase another $1 garage sale popper.