Science Sunday: Popping Popcorn in Illinois

 

I was trying to think what I wanted to do with popcorn late one night, and all I kept thinking of was charting what their favorite flavors were, and that didn’t sound exciting.  It sounded boring, mainly because I’d done that a lot when I was teaching public school.

 

Then in a flash of insight I popped out of bed and grabbed some bowls and pour 1/4 cup of popcorn into three bowls.  I started soaking one in water, another in oil, and left the third plain for a control.  About halfway through I had a vague memory of Almost Unschoolers doing something similar, so I looked up and they did an experiment with strawberry extract.  Interestingly enough we had very different results.

 

The next day at geography co-op we read about popcorn and how each one has a little drop of water in it.  Then we predicted which would pop best.

 

The majority thought the water soaked popcorn would pop best, but we had one holding out for our control and one for the oil.

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There was a lot of very excited watching of the popcorn popping.  It amused me to see my kids who normally ignore our popcorn popper absolutely enthralled by it.

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From left to right: oil, water, control.  The oil and control popped about the same amount (I got flustered getting ready to leave and left my giant measuring cup at home).  There was mixed feelings on which of them tasted better, but it leaned more towards the oil one.

 

Everyone was very surprised by the result of the water one.  It didn’t pop at all.  The kernel size was noticeably bigger and apparently it didn’t react well to absorbing all that water.

 

Our results are different that the google results I got when trying to find the science behind this.  Or the “best popcorn secret,”  I’m guessing the difference is don’t soak it for over 12 hours, that’s the difference.

 

So, do you think I’m right, it’s the extra time soaking that makes the difference?

 

Let’s see what others did this week:

Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational shared Origami Bats, I wish I was good at origami.

 

Enjoying the Journey shared her tips for making rock candy.  One of the rare times someone has shared it and the project worked right.

 

Homeschool Mo shared her preschool flower studies, I love the flowers they made to go with it.

 

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7 thoughts on “Science Sunday: Popping Popcorn in Illinois

  1. It never occurred to me to soak the kernels. I always pop ours in coconut oil. It is so good it doesn't need any butter, and I just add a little sea salt. Your post now has me craving popcorn!

  2. I remember when Almost Unschoolers did this experiment, and I wanted to try it, too, to create colored kernels. Now I know to soak the kernels in colored OIL and NOT colored water! :0)

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