A CANDY Heart Experiment

(This post was supposed to be up last week but thanks to the lovely sub-zero temperatures and other projects it didn't get the attention it deserved until this morning!)

Valentine's Day is not officially here but it is in Room 238. We have been talking about our candy heart experiment for a week now and the kids were thrilled. I wanted to plan something fun and hands on for our Valentine's Day that would not involve them eating sugar or getting too wound up. Science experiments are a fantastic learning opportunity and usually are very cheap or involve items you already own!

I had them all gather around the table and had my ingredients hidden inside my picnic basket. At first, they thought we were going on a picnic. Much to their dismay, I explained it was snowing and there was no way we were partying outside!

Now, what was inside my picnic basket you ask? Well...just a few household ingredients was all I needed to grab out of my pantry this morning.

  • Conversation Hearts (I bought a pack of 5 Brach from Wal-Mart but any brand will do)
  • Plastic Cups (I used clear so they could see what was happening)
  • Light Corn Syrup (mine was from Aldi)
  • Honey (also from Aldi)
  • Maple Syrup (I think this was from Wal-Mart)
  • Lemonade Mix (any mix would do, I didn't think to grab a can of pop)
  • Hot water (right from the tap)
  • Cold water (right from the tap)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (I really wanted distilled vinegar but alas I was out!)
  • Sugar (we added it to water)
  • Salt (iodized salt added to water)
  • Index cards (I used pink for Valentine's Day to label each experiment.)
These were all of the conversation hearts that I had but there were still many left over. I think 1-2 boxes would do the job.

Before we dropped the candy into the cup, we would make predictions on what we thought would happen. After each experiment, we sat and watched each cup for a minute or so before beginning the next. We left the cups alone for about an hour while we passed out treats and then returned to see what happened. Many of the students were surprised with the results.

Cold water BEFORE
AFTER...the cold water did eventually leave a sugar ring at the surface of the water.
Apple Cider Vinegar BEFORE
AFTER...the apple cider vinegar was the only mixture to COMPLETELY dissolve the candy.
Light corn syrup BEFORE
AFTER...this was the only mixture that really did not show a change. Although we could turn the cup upside down and nothing really moved. Hmm, not sure I want to bake with this anytime soon!!!
Table salt BEFORE
AFTER...we combined cold water with our table salt and we saw the solution begin to dissolve the candy and leave a heart ring at the surface of the water.
Lemonade Mix BEFORE
AFTER...this was the most difficult to see because the mix turned the water yellow and made the water cloudy and difficult to observe. It did, however, begin to dissolve the candy.
How water BEFORE
AFTER...the hot water did dissolve the candy faster than the cold water.
AFTER...all of the kids thought the sugar water would make the candy more sugary. While that may be true, the sugar water did dissolve the candy and leave a sugar ring at the surface of the water.
Maple syrup BEFORE
AFTER...surprisingly the maple syrup did dissolve the candy.

The students were SO tempted to touch the cups. But I make a rule that just like an operating table, they are only allowed to look and not touch:) Eliminates any accidents.

AFTER...the honey did dissolve the candy hearts after a while.


These are just items I chose for our experiment. I think just about anything would work here! I would love to hear what you have done with your classroom!

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