VirginiaLynne is an educator and mom of 5. Her Science Fair articles are based on her experience helping her children do their projects.
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 Step
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?
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.
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
|Candy||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.
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
Question: Which grade levels could do this science fair project?
Answer: I think this science project is best for lower primary and grades K-4th.
Question: Can I use big chocolate bars for a science fair project comparing the melting of chocolate?
Answer: Sure, but they will take longer to melt, and you might need to have a bigger or hotter light.
Question: Can you do two trials in a science fair project, or does it have to be three?
Answer: You can do as many or as few trials as you want. Generally, the experimental data is better with more trials, so your project will be stronger. This particular project doesn't take very long to do, so three trials shouldn't be too hard. If you are doing a plant growing project, you may only have time for one or two trials, though.
Question: How long does the chocolate melting science fair project take?
Answer: Doing the project took one evening. It took a Saturday for my kids to type up the results and make their board.
Question: How long did the chocolate melting science project take?
Answer: The chocolate melting 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 hour or so to type up the project, print it out, get the pictures printed, make and print the title and put the board together.
Question: Does there have to be a bibliography on the science board?
Answer: Be sure to ask the person in charge of the science fair whether or not they want you to include the bibliography on your board. Most of the time, this is included in a science research book or log that goes along with the poster.
Question: How many times have you done this science project?
Answer: We only did this project once for a science fair experiment. After she did this experiment, my daughter got interested in some other candy experiments. Here are some of the ones we did:
1. Which chocolate chip tastes best?https://owlcation.com/academia/Science-Fair-Projec...
2. Skittles Science Fair Project Instructions: https://owlcation.com/stem/Skittles-Science-Fair-P...
3. Which Chewing Gum Lasts the Longest? https://wehavekids.com/education/Science-Fair-Proj...
Question: What variations of chocolate could you use in a chocolate melting test for a science fair project?
Answer: You could use any type of chocolate. It might be interesting to get some of the higher-end chocolates, unsweetened chocolate, flavored candy-making chocolates in different colors, and chocolates with nuts or other ingredients.
Question: Would a science project on which chocolate melts faster be good for 5th grade?
Answer: This would be a good topic for anyone in K to 6th grade.
Question: Will it work if you use the sun instead of a lamp?
Answer: You can try using the sun but I think the experiment will take longer.
Question: What do you think of a science fair project relating to which liquid will melt first, M&Ms or goobers?
Answer: That question is similar to the one I've written about in this Skittles experiment: https://hubpages.com/stem/Skittles-Science-Fair-Pr...
Question: How long did the whole chocolate melting project take?
Answer: You can do the experiment in one evening if you have everything ready. It took another evening to write down all of the information for the board and print it out along with the pictures. It took another half day or evening to put the board together. You could do the whole thing in a weekend.
alyssa on January 15, 2019:
Destiny Torres on December 06, 2018:
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on August 22, 2018:
Hi Santana--I'm not sure of all the reasons, but it depends on the ingredients and how they are manufactured.
Santana Vasquez on August 21, 2018:
How can the chocolate melts fast and slow
jeff on May 02, 2018:
This project is so easy to do and its so fast to do.
Carlos on April 11, 2018:
I love this project and idea
Tanya on March 09, 2018:
I love this project! It is so creative and it doesn't even take that long! I think it's an amazing project. Thank you so much for helping me out for my science fair. ( I have to compete because I'm on the robotics team and I've never done a science fair before and this helped me so much) THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
zainab on February 27, 2018:
i love the science experiment its great and I'm in 5th grade and I'm doing it because it was made by very nice and intelligent people.
Natalia on February 06, 2018:
I love this project its so creative
Casey on February 05, 2018:
Malak on October 26, 2017:
I like this project I did this project and I won first place in MS#7 school.
Anonomys on October 10, 2017:
I think the chocolate bars in the middle melted fastest because they were closer to light but then you made all of them go in the middle of the light so the amount of light is equal. Amazing Job! I myself am thinking about doing this project for my science fair.
dali1234 on October 02, 2017:
i like this project
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on April 29, 2017:
Hi, Lupita. I'm glad you enjoyed doing the project. Different brands and sizes of chocolate might melt differently. You'll probably have to repeat the experiment (something real scientists do all the time) to find out which of your candies melts next. However, the good news is that you will have lots more chocolate to eat!
lupita on April 28, 2017:
Hi I started to read you blog and I loved so I saw that it said that your daughter did the project which chocolate melts the fastest I have a question I'm also doing that and the dark chocolate melted first then the other one but then my teacher said it was time to go to lunch so I had to turn off the lamp and I did so it did not melt first the dark chocolate yes I have the chocolate that are cookies N cream and mil chocolate and special dark
T Dog on April 25, 2017:
i did it its so fun
andre on March 09, 2017:
Thank you you got me an A+
jhoana on March 01, 2017:
a really good project
Alexander on January 31, 2017:
I am going to do this project but i need to know safety concerns
MrsGilham on January 04, 2017:
I will definitely choose this for my daughter.
Kristopher caires on October 30, 2016:
That's my project for our school science fair
keionna donaldson on October 27, 2016:
i was doing this as a science fair project and didnt know what to do so i found this wow thank you
Major Gaffney contestant on September 29, 2016:
Thanks for your great idea lord knows i was going to need some help
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on March 29, 2016:
Which Brand of Chocolate Bar Melts Fastest in Sunlight?
Andy on March 29, 2016:
I need a name for science project is going to be about which brand of chocolate bar melts the fastest in the sun? I need a title because I have no idea what to name it.
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on May 15, 2015:
Different kinds of chocolate chips plus some different candy bars and kisses. We used candy we had around the house.
jeff henderson on May 15, 2015:
this is nice i guess but what chalclate did u use
Deep nutts on May 11, 2015:
This is a great magazine
addy on March 04, 2015:
It gives such good advice for project's
shenyah on February 03, 2015:
I like this idea
kristen on December 18, 2014:
white chocolate will melt the fastest because it has more milk than the other chocolates
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on December 03, 2014:
If you want to do this project, you probably can research "chocolate melting point" or "Chocolate science" or "Chocolate Chemistry." You can also watch the videos in this article for more information that you can research. The category would be "food science."
Michele on December 02, 2014:
This is our first year doing a science project and this was so very helpful in laying it out. I was just wondering if you had any tips on where to begin the research. Or if you have specific ideas you did the research on?
febriedethan from Indonesia on December 01, 2014:
This is so cool. My 8 years old girl will love it. Thank you!
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on June 09, 2013:
Hi JJsmith--that is a great idea to use a bunsen burner. I'm not sure how to link particle theory with this experiment. Anyone else have an idea? What aspect of particle theory were you interested in using JJ?
jjsmith on June 09, 2013:
I did this experiment, and i used a bunsen burner with a bowl (for the chocolate to melt, however i did white milk and caramel, do you know how i could link particle theory into it? Thanks(:
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on May 30, 2013:
I'm so glad you told me 123--let me know how it turns out!
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on February 25, 2013:
This project takes 1-2 hours to do. Then you will need to spend a couple of hours writing or typing out your information and putting your board together. How long it takes depends on how fancy you do your board.
Claudia Mitchell on December 05, 2012:
Awesome hub and science fair idea. My daughter's 1st one is coming up this spring. I will remember this one! Thanks. Voted up.
newusedcarssacram from Sacramento, CA, U.S.A on December 04, 2012:
You have represented such a unique idea for science fair.
Thanks for sharing!!
RTalloni on December 04, 2012:
This has to be the best science fair project ever. :) To get a thank you note for help getting a 100 is icing on the cake--chocolate, of course.
You've posted a seriously well-done hub that will be helpful to kids and parents alike, and you've flavored it with fun!
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on December 04, 2012:
We had plenty of chocolate to sample before and after! That's how we came up with the other science project on tasting chocolate chips! Thanks for stopping by tipogie
Tammy from USA on December 04, 2012:
This looks like a fun project that my nieces and nephews would love to do. I will be sure to pass it along. How hard was it to pass on the temptations of eating the chocolate as it was melting? Did you sample one before it melted or after it was melted? Or, did you eat any at all? Great hub! I know the children in our family will have fun with this. Thanks for sharing it.
Kris Heeter from Indiana on December 04, 2012:
I always loved participating in the science fairs (I'm sure that's how I ended up a scientist!). This a good project to do and one that I'm sure kids can really get into. Voted up and sharing:)
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on May 16, 2012:
Thanks Media Magnate Mom--yes this is a fun one to do. It inspired one of my other daughters to do the "Which chocolate chips taste the best?" too. Personally, I enjoyed both projects!
Media Magnate Mom on May 16, 2012:
What a fabulous idea for a science project. I'l definitely keep this one in my back pocket for a rainy day, when all I want to do is curl up on the sofa with a hot cocoa. My son will go bonkers over this. Useful and voted up!