Incr-Edible Science: Popcorn Lab

incredible-science

All of the information in this post comes from this popcorn lesson, absolutely none of it came from me!  I am simply recording what we did.

Gathering Information

First I read out the goals and aims of the day.  We had one whole day to carry out the four to five 45 minute lessons given in the plan.

The children watched the following video as an introduction to pop corn:

Then they read the following article which I photocopied so each child had their own copy.

I managed to find the recommended ‘Good Eats’ video called Pop Culture on Youtube.  It wouldn’t let me embed it but you can find it here.

The following video is about the science and history of pop corn and is needed to be able to do the final assignment:

And finally a quick ‘How popcorn is made?’ clip.

Understanding the Information

The lesson includes a pdf file of questions related to the main article the children read.  I really appreciated this because I always try to find some way of checking the children have read and understood the information I give them.

Comparing Popcorn

The three types of popcorn we compared were microwavable popcorn (sweet and salty varieties), packet bought (both salty and sweet) and home made variety (where we added salt to one batch and sugar to another).  We, therefore, had six different types of popcorn to compare:

popcorn1

I let the children make their own popcorn, following this recipe:

popcorn2

Handily, again, the lesson contains pdf printable comparison charts, as well as questions which help the children dig a bit deeper.  I lay out the popcorn in a sweet set and a salty set and the girls tasted and compared them all:

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The children had charts to fill in comparing price, taste, time taken to prepare, nutrition and taste.  Together we made bar graphs to show diagrammatically the differences between the popcorn types:

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It was unanimous.  Everyone enjoyed the home made popcorn the most.  But what really surprised me was the price difference.  The bought ready made popcorn was almost 7 times the cost of the home made and the microwavable popcorn was almost 3 times the cost.  This meant that the home made was better in terms of taste and far, far cheaper than the other two options.  Win, win!

The final thing the girls needed to do was to write a report for a magazine outlining 20 facts about popcorn.  The lesson provided a really clear rubric for the girls to know what was expected from them and also for me to use for marking as well as giving an example of a similar article.  I set this as homework for all four girls, to be handed in the next Friday.

This lesson was one of the most comprehensive and well planned lessons I have ever done and is really worth checking out!

8 comments

  1. What a fun lesson and what a great website. I will be adding that one to my favorites. It will a perfect addition to our home economics next year (which starts in a month).
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. We did a mini lesson on popcorn back when we were studying one of the states that grows corn, and we did an experiment with soaking popcorn kernels overnight to see if they popped better. One group was claiming they would pop better if soaked, that was not our experience.

    1. Gosh, I can’t imagine why that would be. I would have thought the water would have made them too soggy and therefore far less likely to pop. I don’t know. Our popped with an almost 100 % popping score!

    1. I think they are. I’m on holiday now for four weeks so we’ll not be doing anything formal. I’m needed in the Shakespeare Summer planning department right now. We’re doing five weeks and I’m thinking I may have bit off more than I can chew!

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