Recently we tested out the solubility of Skittles in different liquids. Experimenting with candy is so much fun because candy is colorful, yummy (and we always sneak a few tastes), and my kid’s (Little Tiger-preschooler, and Little Dragon-toddler) always pay extra close attention (probably waiting for another chance to taste our experiment, lol).
We recently did a whole bunch of Counting with Skittles, but after buying 2 huge Sam’s club sized bags we still needed to find more fun things to do with them. I was originally going to try a different experiment but after testing it out and failing, I had to go back to the drawing board. I came up with a silly thought and ran to the supply closet to test it out. When the Skittles didn’t dissolve in my test tube I knew I had to get the kids in on the fun and make a fun Science Activity. I gathered 4 liquids that all look the same (but you could use different colored liquids). I was just trying to prove a point that even though some things look the same, they can be different and therefore cause different reactions. Later on in the experiment we used our noses to check out the different liquids and confirm they were indeed different.
Testing Solubility with Skittles
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4 Test tubes or small cups (I used this Wilton Halloween Test Tube Sprinkle Set (affiliate link)
1. Fill each test tube half way full with each liquid (1 liquid per test tube).
2. Place 4-5 Skittles in each test tube and observe.
We observed that all the liquids looked the same (clear), but the candy did different things in each tube. In the vinegar and water, the color dissolved off the candy quickly, the color in the alcohol tube took a longer time to dissolve, and the color in the oil tube never dissolved. We also saw parts of the letter “S” float to the top of our test tube
Then we smelled each tube and noticed that each one smelled different. The kids did not like the alcohol smell at all. It’s really strong, so you don’t have to put your nose very close to it to get a good whiff.
We left our experiment out for several days to see if any changes took place. The inside of the candy dissolved completely in the vinegar and water. Eventually the inside of the candy dissolved in the alcohol too, but it took much longer. Since I left our test tubes out where the kids could reach them, they would check in every day to see if any changes had taken place then they would shake the tubes up to mix the content inside.
A Simple Explanation of What’s Happening?
In order to dissolve, molecules in the liquid (solvent) and molecules in the candy (solute) need to be attracted to each other by positive and negative ions (picture the positive and negative poles of magnets). When they are not attracted, the candy will not dissolve (like in the oil).