Wednesday, July 5, 2017

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Food Science Experiment with Dragons & Marshmallows

Kids love fire, food, science experiments, and cool books, so this food science project was kind of guaranteed to be a winner before we ever started. What I really love about it, though, are its implications for every day choices.

I was inspired to do this experiment with my kids as we read Dragons and Marshmallows, the first book in the new Zoey and Sassafras series. It reminded me of a project we did in a chemistry class, and I thought my kiddos could appreciate it!

I started by telling them that after we eat food, our body kind of burns it up to get energy out of it. Then I flickered a lighter and asked them what they thought they would get more energy from, a marshmallow or a nut (cashew)? We talked about it for a minute (remembering, of course, that the dragon in the story loved marshmallows!), and I explained we could test this by actually burning a marshmallow and a nut! Whichever burned longer would provide energy to our bodies longer too!

The marshmallow (predictably) caught on fire pretty quickly and burned up in less than a minute. Here's a picture of the marshmallow on fire:

If you do this with your kiddos, make sure you place the foods you're burning on a fire-safe surface or hold it securely in fire-safe tongs. As always, if you can't do the experiment safely, try something else. ;) 

The cashew took a little longer to catch on fire because it has a coating that is harder to ignite. When we cracked it open and lit the inside first, it lit much easier. It continued to burn for at least three minutes! Here's a picture of the nut on fire:

I asked the kids what they thought happened to their bodies when they ate a lot of sugary foods like marshmallows. We have talked about this before, but they remembered most of the process: the marshmallow gives you energy really quickly, but then it burns up and leaves you less energetic than before.

Cashews and other nuts, on the other hand, give you good amount of energy for a long time. Your body is much happier when you feed it cashews than when you feed it nuts.

We also reviewed that in the story, the dragon liked eating the marshmallows, but acted really sick afterward! I have more details about the book (and a fun dragon activity!) here!

And here is an Amazon affiliate link for the story:

I would loooove to hear from you if you try this food science experiment -- or something similar -- with your kiddos! Feel free to send me an email, leave a comment, or even put a picture of your science project on my Preschool Powol Packets Facebook page!

And if you're looking for other "fiery" and explosive experiments, you should take a peek at my Volcanoes collection! They're loads of fun!!

Do you love chemistry with kids? Then be sure to try "catching"a gas and building an edible atom!

Happy Educating,

Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of Zoey and Sassafras: Dragons & Marshmallows to use however I saw fit. I only recommend books and products that I love and am excited to use!

I may share at any of these parties!

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