Popcorn Science Fair Project : What you’ll need for the popcorn science experiment

Popcorn Science Fair Project : What you’ll need for the popcorn science experiment

The popcorn craze has hit my house hard, especially with the youngsters. It’s to the point where they request popcorn every time we watch a movie and use our popcorn maker. Popcorn was a natural choice for our latest scientific endeavour.

What you’ll need for the popcorn science experiment:

  • Popcorn kernels
  • Brown paper lunch sacks
  • Vegetable oil
  • 4 mason jars (or other small containers)

To kick off our STEM inquiry, we questioned whether or not pre-microwave treatment options would affect the rate and success of popcorn popping.

We had four kernel groups:

  • Control group (plain kernels)
  • Soaked in oil group
  • Soaked in water group
  • Pre-heated group

One-fourth cup of kernels was divided among the test subjects. For nearly an hour, we soaked both the oil and water batches before popping them. To prepare the “pre-heat” group for popping, we microwaved them for 40 seconds.


To keep track of which kernels went into which containers, the youngsters labelled them all.

When we were finished, we put each batch of kernels in a brown paper lunch sack and folded the top over. Two minutes was the exact amount of time used to microwave each set of kernels.

The children heated the popcorn and then conducted a taste test and a kernel test to establish the optimal cooking time and temperature.

  • There were fewer kernels that popped in the pre-heat group, but the flavour was more burnt.
  • The water-soaked group had the fewest popped kernels and the “wateriest” flavour.
  • Non-popped kernels were present in the control group.
  • There was a slight improvement in flavour and more popping in the oil-treated group compared to the water-treated and untreated groups.

To get the finest flavour and most kernels to pop, the youngsters found that soaking the kernels in oil beforehand was the best strategy.

What Makes Popcorn Pop?

Popcorn has captivated audiences for generations. Popcorn was thought to contain a spirit by Native Americans. The spirit became enraged when exposed to high temperatures, and it eventually escaped its dwelling as a puff of steam. The popping of popcorn has a less endearing but more scientific explanation.

Popcorn, or Zea mays everta in its scientific form, is a popular snack. It belongs to the grass family and is referred to as maize or corn. The germ, endosperm, and pericarp are the three parts that make up a kernel of popcorn, making it a full grain (or hull). Popcorn is the only type of corn that pops; the others are sweet, dent (or field), and flint (or Indian). Popcorn’s hull has the perfect thickness, making it easy to pop open, making it distinct from other forms of corn.

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