Sunday, April 13, 2014

Moira's (and my) first science fair

One of our homeschool groups does a yearly science fair. Last year we were unable to make it, but this time it was a date and time we could go. I've never actually participated in a science fair. I don't think my school had them. But I've seen it referenced enough in pop culture, and Moira saw one earlier this year at the school where she takes some classes, so she had some ideas for what she wanted to do. Her suggestion was that we should look for ideas on Pinterest, and she settled on making candy dissolve, fortunately we still had a big bowl of leftovers from Halloween that no one wanted to eat.

Colored water
We didn't look at any instructions, preferring to create our own plan. We talked about what we wanted to try, and what Moira expected to happen. Moira decided that we should put each candy in it's own cup and cover it with warm water. We noted the time we poured the water and then checked every so often to see how much was left. Some of the candies made the water cloudy, so we had to swirl them. Moira's hypothesis was that the Twizzlers would dissolve last, and the milk duds (there were three in the package and we used them all) would be first, because they were lightest.

Everything but the Milk Duds and Twizzlers had dissolved by dinner time. I actually left right after dinner and was gone the next day, so the next morning when they were exactly the same level of dissolved they had been at dinner the night before, Walker talked to Moira about saturation being the possible reason why they weren't changing any more. We had leftover Twizzlers, so they put one in a whole pitcher of cold water to see what would happen. We left it for a few days, and it looked puffy and lighter, but that was it. Moira was interested in seeing if we could get it to dissolve, so I suggested we try boiling one. It took 50 minutes for the darn thing to dissolve.

Will it dissolve?
She wanted to try some other liquids. We had five left, so we picked vodka, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, and vinegar, and the kids ate the last one. We assume the stomach acid fully dissolved them, but obviously we can't check. None of these had fully dissolved the Twizzlers, when I threw them away after 5 days. The hydrogen peroxide got closest, and broke it down into separate strands first, but the vodka was working almost as well. The rubbing alcohol did nothing. We shook these a few times to help things break down.

Still not dissolved
Here's what they looked like after a few hours. By today the pieces in the ones that were dissolving were all smaller. Interestingly, the vodka is the only one that is actually turning red, the hydrogen peroxide and vinegar were both light pinks. I did keep the vodka, since I figure it might get drunk at Norwescon. It does taste like liquid Twizzler after all.

Moira's presentation
Here is the presentation Moira and I made for the science fair. She wanted to tell them EVERYTHING, so it's very wordy. I have a slightly different conclusion then Moira did, which is that Twizzlers are terrifying, and we probably shouldn't eat them.

Moira presenting (with help)
And here she is giving her presentation. We forgot to bring the jars, which was sad. And I forgot to prepare her for talking about her project, she was worried that she had to READ the whole thing, and so she got nervous and didn't fully manage to get over that. But she did talk about it a little, and her friends gave her a big round of applause.

1 comment:

  1. Cool and sciency! And Twizzler vodka to show for it — score!