The idea of Christmas break is so fun and exciting, but then after (and sometimes before) the hustle and bustle of the actual holiday, there is some downtime and everybody starts to get a little restless. This is made worse by cold outside temperatures and less-than-desirable weather. An easy fix for all of the melancholy is some fun (and sometimes messy) science experiments that everyone can get in on. Sure, we’ll say they’re for kids, but we’re pretty sure you’re going to have a great time too. Let’s take a look at our first experiment!
What could possibly be better than combining science and candy? This COOL (see what we did there?) experiment comes to us from Little Bins for Little Hands.
- 8.5oz Grade A Pure Maple Syrup (must be pure!)
- Baking Pan
- Fresh Snow
- Candy Thermometer
Step 1: Take a pan outside and fill it with fresh fallen clean snow. Then place in the freezer until you need it. Also, try packing the snow tightly in a container and carve little areas or designs to pour the maple syrup into for fun shapes. Alternatively, you can get prepped to take your heated maple syrup outside!
Step 2: Pour a bottle of pure maple syrup into your pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, while stirring constantly.
Step 3: Stir and boil until your maple syrup until your candy thermometer reaches 220-230 degrees.
Step 4: Carefully remove the pot from the burner (the maple syrup and pot will be very hot) and set on a hot pad.
Step 5: Carefully spoon your hot maple syrup onto the snow using a tablespoon. The maple syrup will harden quickly, you can remove the pieces and eat like hard candy or you can wrap the candy pieces around the end of a food-safe wooden craft stick.
How is This Science?
Sugar is a pretty cool substance. Sugar itself is a solid but maple syrup starts as a liquid that can go through a neat change to become a solid. How does this happen?
When the maple sugar is heated, some of the water evaporates off. What’s left becomes a very concentrated solution, but the temperature has to be right. A candy thermometer is needed and you want it to reach around 225 degrees.
The cooling process is where the snow comes in handy! As the heated maple syrup cools, the sugar molecules (the smallest particles of the sugar) form crystals which in turn become the fun candy you get to eat!