AACT Resources to Help You Use Your Halloween Candy

By Kim Duncan on October 30, 2017

At the beginning of October, an AACT member started a thread on our Discussions page looking for suggestions about safe Halloween demonstrations. Several members offered suggestions, such as the Exploding Pumpkin and Another Secret Message demonstrations. . The talk of Halloween made us think of what resources we might have that would help you use the candy your students will get on October 31st.. Here are a few AACT classroom activities that you might use to take care of the candy while teaching chemistry concepts.

Elementary School

Elementary students can use the M&M’s Solution lab to investigate dissolving using M&M’s and a variety of variables. They will also determine whether dissolving happens faster with or without the assistance of the tongue and teeth. By the end of this lesson, students should be able to understand solutions, determine what causes a solution to dissolve faster, and identify solutes and solvents.

Middle School

The Candy and Leaf Chromatography lab will help your middle school students learn that mixtures are created by the combination of two or more substances. They will also find out that many colors are actually mixtures of several different pigments and that mixtures can be separated. Students will perform chromatography to separate mixtures found in candy and in leaves, and will be able to explain what a mixture is and how it can be separated by the end of this activity.

Middle or High School

Your middle or high school students can use the Sweet Model of the Atom lab to help them identify atoms, ions, and isotopes. In this lab activity, students will use Skittles, M&Ms, and Nerds candies to represent electrons, protons, and neutrons to gain a better understanding of similarities of and differences between each.

Another activity for middle and high school students is the Percent Composition of M&M’s lab. By investigating different varieties of M&M’s, this lesson leads students through an exploration of the idea of percent composition. As an extension to this investigation, students determine whether different colored M&M’s have different masses and see how that relates to different elements having different atomic masses in a compound.

High School

Finally, the Can it Float? lab allows high school students to investigate the relationships between mass, volume, density, and buoyancy in common objects. Students will be tasked with determining the volume of a variety of objects as well as interpreting the meaning of their buoyancy in water. By the end, students should be able to compare the relative densities of common household materials, explain how differences in content can cause changes in density, and construct and interpret a graph based on data collected from the lab.

Do you have a great demonstration, activity, or lesson that uses candy or other Halloween treats that you would like to share with the community? Please send it along for consideration.