Why does a peppermint disappear in your mouth while you suck on it? For our activity, we’re going to see how temperature and water affect sugar!
What you need:
- Peppermint candies
- Three cups
What you do:
First, we need some variables for our experiment. We’ll start with temperature. Fill one cup with hot water, one with cold water, and the last with room temperature water. Have the kids make predictions about what will happen to the candies in each cup.
Next, allow children to unwrap the peppermints and place one in each cup. Use the timer to see how long it takes each peppermint to begin to change in the water.
Questions to consider:
- What happened to the peppermints in each cup?
- In which temperature cup did the peppermint change the fastest?
- Do you think this could happen with other candies?
Why it works:
Water breaks down the bonds between sugar molecules, causing sugar to dissolve. The heat of the hot water makes sugar molecules move quicker, dissolving the sugar faster than the cold or room temperature water. The lower temperature of the cold water makes the molecules slow down, dissolving the mint less quickly. Try tasting the water! It should taste like sweet peppermint. Despite sugar molecules breaking apart from each other, the individual molecules stay stuck together, causing the taste.