Science Fair Project: Which Chocolate Melts Faster?
Easy, Fun Experiment You Can Eat!
My first-grade daughter Mollie wanted a fun science experiment using candy, so we came up with the question "Which Chocolate Melts the Fastest?" This experiment can be used by older children if they do more research about why chocolate melts at different rates. For younger kids like Mollie, it is all right to let the experiment results be mostly based on what they observed and their ideas about why it happened that way.
We covered a lot of ground in her experiment, testing wrapped or unwrapped, different kinds of chocolate and also whether added ingredients made a difference. The choices we made were based on her own ideas and what we already had around the house. You could use just one of these variables in your experiment (such as wrapped and unwrapped, or different kinds of wrappers on the same chocolate). See some of the videos below for ideas.
Step by StepClick thumbnail to view full-size
In writing up our experiments, we usually use notebook paper as we work. Depending on the age of the child, either a parent will keep notes, the child will take notes, or we will do a combination of the two. However, we are always careful that the notebook is written in the child's own words. Children are not always aware of the processes of a science experiment, so parents do need to help prompt them to go through all the steps in order:
- Question: what you are going to ask.
- Hypothesis: your guess about the results.
- Procedures: your plan for doing the experiment.
- Materials and Equipment: everything you need to do the experiment.
- Results and Data: what happens in your experiment, usually written in the form of a chart.
- Conclusion: compare your results with your hypothesis. Were you right or not? What do you think caused the results you got? If you were to do the experiment again, what might you change?
Student Sample Project
I want to test different kinds of small chocolate candies to find out which kind melts the fastest. I will test these differences:
- wrapped vs. unwrapped
- rectangle bar vs. Kiss shape
- big vs. little
- plain chocolate vs. chocolate mixed with other ingredients
- different kinds of chocolate like milk, special dark and white
- I think that candies in wrappers will melt first because I think the wrapper heats up.
- I think that kisses will melt faster than bars.
- I think that candies with a candy coating like M&Ms will melt slower than a candy without coating.
- I think that the smaller M&Ms will melt faster than big M&Ms.I think the 4 bar candies will melt differently because they have different ingredients. I think the Kisses will melt in this order: original, caramel, then Hugs.
Materials and Equipment
1. Chocolate Candy:
- Hershey's Miniature Bars (Krackel, Hershey's, Mr. Goodbar, Special Dark)
- Hershey's Kisses (milk chocolate, caramel, and Hugs)
- M & Ms (miniature and regular)
- Junior Mint
- Wilton white chocolate candy coating chips
2. White Paper Towels
3. Lamp with 60-watt bulb
4. Paper and pencil for taking notes
- I will put groups of similar candy on a white paper towel.
- I will put the candy groups about 2 inches away from a 60-watt bulb.
- I will test the candy every minute by touching it with my finger to see if it is melted.
- I will make a tally of how many minutes it takes for each one to melt. I will also make notes on how it looks as it melts.
- I will eat the melted candy!
Results and Data Table
minutes to melt, wrapped or covered with foil
minutes to melt, unwrapped
Notes on how it melted
Big M & M
Mini M & M
Wilton White Chocolate
I was right that size, shape, wrapping, and coating make a difference in the way the chocolate melts, but I didn't always guess right about what would make the candy melt the slowest. I thought the wrapped candy would melt faster, but it didn't. The wrapped candy lasted about twice as long before melting as the unwrapped candy. So I guess that wrapping the candy makes it melt more slowly.
I was right that smaller candies melted more quickly. The small M&M only took 2 minutes to melt, but the bigger M&M lasted 5 minutes. All of the unwrapped, smaller candies did not last as long as the bars or the Kisses. I was surprised that the big M&M lasted as long as the Caramel Kiss since the Kiss is much bigger. I guess the coating is like a wrapper.
I was right that the different kinds of chocolate bars melted differently, but I was surprised that the dark chocolate took so long to melt. I was also surprised that the regular Kiss took longer than the Hugs and caramel.
Science Fair Board Tips
When it comes time to put the board together, we type up the notebook on the computer. Depending on the age of the child, we sometimes have the child:
- Do all of the typing (usually 5th on up).
- Do part of the typing (2nd to 4th).
- Dictate it to us (K to 2nd).
However, but parents need to make a judgment call on this based on the abilities of their child and their frustration level.
Even at the high school science fairs, it is generally permissible for parents to do typing and charts. Here are some suggestions:
- Make the fonts large and readable.
- You can use a color for the fonts to match the board or topic.
- Print out on cardstock rather than paper for a neater, wrinkle-free board.
- Make a title using a banner font in Word, or buy 2-3 inch letters.
- Use pictures of the experiment for decorating and to illustrate.
- Have the child draw pictures for the board.
- Decorate with something used in the experiment like the candy wrappers.
How we developed our experiment ideas: All of the experiments which I publish are original projects developed by me (teacher and mom of 5) and my husband (biology professor and dad of 5). All of our projects have been done with our own children, so we have worked out the pitfalls and adjusted our instructions to give you the benefit of our experience. We always include step by step instructions, photos, and videos to help you learn more about the science you are investigating. Each project is designed to be scientifically accurate as well as fun to do.
The goal for our experiments: Our children have regularly done well at the school, region and state science fairs in Texas, but our main goal is to help kids to enjoy science and consider a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) career.
Be sure to cite your sources: You are welcome to use any of our project ideas in your science fair project, but you will need to include the information about this website in your bibliography along with any of the videos you might use.
Questions & Answers
How long did the project take?
The experiment time takes a few hours. We did it in one evening. However, we had gathered all of the materials ahead of time and had written out the project hypothesis, materials, procedure and data table. It took another 4-6 hours or so to type up the project, print it out, get the pictures printed, make and print the title and put the board together.