STEAM Saturday – The Science of Popcorn! (6/8/2024)

popcorn science photo 3

Science doesn’t have to be complicated.  In fact, it’s everywhere you look… and everywhere you COOK!  Even popping a bag of popcorn is an opportunity for your aspiring scientist to learn.  Today, you and your child will enjoy a tasty treat together while exploring the science of popcorn!

popcorn science photo 1The next time you’re looking for a tasty snack, pop yourselves a bag of popcorn!  You’ll need popcorn kernels, a paper bag, and salt and butter (or your favorite seasonings or additions) to make your popcorn to your liking.

Add 1/3 cup of kernels to your paper bag, then fold the top of the bag down twice.  Place your bag in the microwave and cook it on high for about a minute and a half (or press the “popcorn” button if you have one).

Be sure to listen out for the popping sound… When it starts to slow down, you’ll want to stop the microwave to prevent your delicious popcorn from burning.  Once the popcorn is done, carefully remove it from the microwave and open the bag.  Remember, the bag and the contents will be very hot, so use caution!  Add salt, butter, or seasoning as you please!

popcorn science photo 2Before chowing down, take a few moments to discuss the science behind the satisfying process of popping corn.  It involves all three states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas!

Each kernel contains a small drop of water in the soft starch inside.  When the microwave heats up, so does the water within the kernel.  The heat causes the water to evaporate, forming a gas, which continues to expand until it breaks the kernel open!  The soft starch bursts out of the kernel’s hull forming the unique shape that makes popcorn so fun to eat!

Now that you know the science behind your yummy treat, it will make enjoying it together so much more satisfying!

Learn more about the science of popping corn from Little Bins for Little Hands HERE, and bon appetit!

As always, get as creative as you want, and above all, have lots of fun learning together!

We’ll see you right back here next Saturday for another STEAM Saturday activity!  Scroll through the rest of our website to learn how Critchlow Adkins is Building Brighter Futures for the children and families we serve!

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