M&Ms and Skittles are small candies that can make learning science more fun and accessible for children. There are several ways to incorporate M&Ms and Skittles into different types of science projects. Make sure to make it clear that the candies are meant for the study of science first, an then they may be enjoyed for a post-project treat.
The process of determining probability can be applied to the scientific method and conducted with a science project that uses M&Ms or Skittles. Have students open a bag of M&Ms or Skittles and count the number of candies, as well as the number of each different coloured candy. Then have students make a hypothesis to what the probability would be of randomly choosing a certain colour of candy without looking. Conduct the experiment and make a graph of about 10 tries of random candy selection. Use your observations to calculate the mathematical probability and compare that to the hypotheses made to state a scientific conclusion.
A science project that determines whether M&Ms or Skittles are coloured using a combination of dyes or just one dye can be conducted with an chromatography experiment process. Have students guess which coloured candies are made using a combination of dyes, and which candies are made using just one dye. Then conduct the experiment by dissolving the dyes into coloured solutions and dotting them on filter paper. Student will then make a salt-based developing solution to separate the dyes. The second reference listed below outlines each step of the process in detail. Students can compare their hypotheses with the observations and conclusions of the experiment.
A simple science project can be made with a cup of water and several M&Ms or Skittles. Students can drop the candies into the water letter-side-up and observe the reaction between the water and the edible-ink letters on the candies. After about a minute, an "M" or an "S" letter will peel off and float toward the surface of the water in the cup. Have student discuss water as a substance and how it has the potential to react with other substances.
Sometimes people have a preference to certain coloured candies, and they may not even be aware of it. Science students can create a psychological experiment to determine what colour of candy different demographics of people may subconsciously prefer. Have students make a prediction as to what colours people of different ages and genders will pick out of a pile. To conduct the experiments, lay out a bag of M&M or Skittles on a table and bring in different people to choose three pieces of candy. Observe and record observations by making a graph that shows what men and women of different ages prefer in candy colour.
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