Saturday, April 12, 2014

Play with your Food

Split kids into groups of four or so.  Have them start with Nails for Breakfast, then move on to the M&M Magic activity and Gobstoppers Color Mix activity.  These need time to work, so they can move on to the Float or Sink Candy Bars and Colored Rice/Bean Mosaics while they wait for the experiments to be ready.

Activity: Eating Nails for Breakfast

See also:
Eating Nails for Breakfast
  1. Place 1 cup Total cereal in resealable plastic bag.  Fill the bag 1/2 full with warm water.
  2. Carefully seal the bag, leaving an air pocket inside.
  3. Mix the cereal and water by squeezing and smooshing the bag until the contents become a brown, soupy mixture.  Allow the mixture to sit for at least 20 minutes.
Activity: M&M Magic
Floating Ms!  Dissolve the M off an M&M science experiment!
  1. Drop one to two M&M's into your plastic cup.
Activity: Gobstoppers Color Mix
  1. Fill a small plastic plate with enough water to cover the bottom.
  2. Drop a Gobstopper of a different color along each side so that they are across from each other and evenly spaced.  
  3. Wait and observe.  (Go on to the Float or Sink Candy Bars experiment, but keep checking back on this one).  What happens?
Activity: Float or Sink Candy Bars
  1. Look at your candy bars.  Feel them.  Do you think any of them will float?
  2. Unwrap one of your candy bars.
  3. Drop it in the water.
  4. Was your hypothesis correct?
  5. Continue with the remaining candy bars.
  6. Why do you think some floated and some sank?
Craft: Mosaics (using dried beans and dyed rice)
Bean mosaic art project •
  1. Make a picture using dried beans and dyed rice. (I printed off two different line art templates for the kids to use)
M&M Magic Continued:
  1. What happened?
  2. Why do you think this happened?
    1. The "M" letter on the M&M's are printed with edible white ink.  The ink doesn't dissolve in water.  When the candy shell dissolves, the letters peel off and float to the top.
Gobstoppers Color Mix Continued:
  1. What happened?
    1. Gobstoppers colors do not mix.  They all run into each other and stop.
    2. Gobstoppers have at least four layers of colors, so your plate "rainbow" should change colors four times during this experiment.
Nails for Breakfast Continued:
  1. Make sure the bag is tightly sealed and position it on a flat side in the palm of your hand.  Place a super-strong magnet on top of the bag.  Put your other hand on top of the magnet and flip the whole thing over so the magnet is underneath the bag.  Slowly slosh the contents of the bag in a circular motion for 15-20 seconds.  The idea is to attract any free moving bits of metallic iron in the cereal to the magnet.
  2. Use both hands again and flip the bag and magnet over so the magnet is on top.  Gently squeeze the bag to lift the magnet a little above the cereal soup.  Don't move the magnet just yet.  Look closely at the edges of the magnet where it's touching the bag.  You should be able to see tiny black specks on the inside of the bag around the edges of the magnet.  That's the iron!
  3. Keep one end of the magnet touching the bag and move it in little circles.  As you do, the iron will gather into a bigger clump and be much easier to see.
How does it work?  Many breakfast cereals are fortified with food-grade iron particles (metallic iron) as a mineral supplement.  Total cereal is the only major brand of cereal that claims to contain 100% of your recommended daily allowance of iron.  The chemical for iron is FE.  Metallic iron is digested in the stomach and eventually absorbed in the small intestine.  If all the iron from your body was extracted, you'd have enough iron to make two small nails.

This was a great program, although we didn't get into the science of it as much as I would have liked.  They loved the Nails for Breakfast experiment and every team got to see the iron in their baggy.  The Gobstoppers Color Mix and Float or Sink Candy Bars also worked well in the smaller groups.  The M&M Magic worked, but it was hard to see the M's floating.  The mosaics were fun and different, although the dyed rice had too much food coloring so rubbed off on their hands.  Next time I'll try a different recipe.

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