What makes popcorn pop? This popcorn science fair project will help you answer that question. Trust us. This project will put the "pop" in your project! So...
...let's find out what we have to do.
Time - Give yourself about one week to do this one.
1. Popcorn (not microwave kind)
2. Hot air popper (not microwave)
3. Stove top
5. Chronograph timer
7. Measuring spoon
9. Adult help for the whole project
10. Family and friends
11. Graph paper
13. Cardboard for display (order at Amazon here)
16. Computer (optional)
In science it's always important to ask questions. So...
...let's ask a question about popcorn before we get to our really important question...
Why does popcorn pop?
Research this question thoroughly. Find all you can about what popcorn is and how it works. Ask an adult, or get on the internet. That should give you enough information to ask your really important question...
Which method of popping popcorn is best?
This is a good question because we can try it out in our kitchen. Don't forget to ask for help from an adult before you use the kitchen. But don't try it yet. We need to answer our important question first!
Let's do that now.
What do you think will happen?
Which kind will be better?
Write it down on a piece of paper. Don't change it until you see what the experiment does first. We call this guess our hypothesis.
Now it's time to get your stuff from the list above. Let's move to the next step.
Now comes the fun part...
...let's experiment! Measure (I said measure!) out the exact same amount of popcorn for the hot air popper and the stove top. Have your parents help you with how much to pop and read the label on the jar of popcorn for cooking instructions.
Cook each "batch" of popcorn separately. Use a chronograph (many cell phones have one) or a clock with a second hand to keep track of when you hear the first pop. Write down the time so you can keep track of it.
Also, write down the total time it took for each method to stop popping.
You may want to make a chart to help you keep track of the times.
Make one chart for each kind.
After the popcorn is done, put the popped corn into a separate bowl and count the total "old maid" kernels, like this...
Now, check the fluffiness and texture of each kind. Which one looks better? Set up a taste test with your family to find out which tastes better.
Don't forget to take lots of pictures of the popping and the counting for your popcorn science fair project. (Your family [especially your sister] may not appreciate you taking pictures of them eating though!) Pictures show you did your own work.
Also, don't forget to write down your information on your chart. And of course...
The bowls may be hot and could hurt you. This is why you must have an adult with you at all times for this popcorn science fair project!
...let's make the graph for the popcorn science fair project!
Take your graph paper and make two graphs, one for each method of popping corn. It should look something like this...
It's time to tell what you've noticed. Write a report about what you saw.
You should include...
1. What you guessed about the popcorn.
2. What you did with the popcorn.
3. Which popcorn popped the best.
4. If your guess was correct about the popcorn experiment.
Be careful to obey all the school rules for your science fair report. One or two paragraphs for each grade level will do if you weren't given how long it should be.
Now you get to make the display for your popcorn science fair project!
Carefully put three pieces of cardboard together so it looks like this...
If you want more information about how to put together and arrange displays click here.
You can buy displays at many retail stores as well. However you do it, make sure you follow science fair rules!
Now, on a piece of paper neatly write your important question and your guess. If you would like, type it. You might get style points!
Now, just like you did your important question, write (or type) your supply list on a separate piece of paper.
Paste your guess, supply list and report onto your display board along with any pictures you might have taken. Make sure you label each so the judges know what is what. Making sure everything looks good is important!
If you want to get some ideas for your display we have some examples for you. Just click here for examples of displays for your popcorn science fair project that you might want to use.
Try playing with some of the display ideas you see. You don't have to use the exact ones we use. Make them fun! Be creative!
And don't forget to name your project at the top of the display board. You may want to use your important question as the title. You may want to purchase stencils to make cutouts of letters. Or you may purchase already made letters at many retail stores.
Whatever you do, have fun with this popcorn science fair project!