With the Thanksgiving holiday just around the corner, we thought we’d prepare you with a fun activity to keep your little ones busy while they are home from school. In this experiment, we’ll use popcorn as a yummy way to teach your kids about estimating and volume. Then, for a little fun, we’ll take the popcorn and make a popcorn turkey!
Background knowledge: Volume is the space occupied by an object. As a practical example, a measuring cup in your kitchen can measure the volume of liquids that you use.
- Popcorn kernels
- Measuring cup
- Air popcorn popper (or you can put kernels in a brown paper bag in the microwave)
- 1 large paper bag
- 2 small paper bags
- White paper
1. Measure out ½ a cup of popcorn kernels. Have your kids estimate how many cups of popped popcorn they think this will make. 2 cups? 4 cups? Write down this prediction to come back to later.
2. Pop the popcorn. Explain to your kids that adding heat to the popcorn causes a reaction that pops the corn and changes its form, or its state of matter.
State of Matter: A distinct form that matter can take. The four observable examples are: solid, liquid, gas and plasma.
3. Measure the popped corn. Record how many cups, then compare with the estimations. Were you close or not?
4. Use the information that you’ve gathered to make predictions for the volume of popped popcorn for 1, 2 and 5 cups of kernels. This will require your kids to solve problems using critical thinking.
5. Finally, what’s time off from school without a little fun? It’s time to make a popcorn turkey with your popped corn! Stuff the popcorn into a large paper bag and tape it closed. (We found that if you butter the popcorn, it leaks through the paper. To avoid this, line the bag with parchment paper.)
6. Get two small paper bags for the legs, and add white paper fringe to the top closure.
7. Tape the legs onto the large paper bag. Now you have a yummy popcorn turkey!
We hope you have a delicious time learning about popcorn and volume! Want to get your child involved in more STEM fun? Consider signing he or she up for a winter STEM class at Sylvan! Happy Thanksgiving!