VirginiaLynne is an educator and mom of 5. Her science fair articles are from projects that competed successfully (local, state, national).
Science You Can Eat!
Did you know that Skittles are the #1 candy for younger kids? That makes this science fair project a surefire winner. Not only will you have fun eating the leftovers, but a project on this colorful candy is sure to draw attention, and the colors make a great-looking board. Since I live near the factory where these candies are made, I've compiled four fun, interesting, and easy science experiments for kids using Skittles. Try them out!
Skittles Science Experiments
Here are four Skittles-based science experiments with the recommended grade levels.
- Which Solution Dissolves Color Fastest? (Grades 5-9)
- What Happens When Skittles Dissolve? (Grades 2-4)
- The Rainbow Density Experiment (Grades 2-4)
- How Many Candies of Each Color? (Grades K-3)
Experiment 1: Which Liquid Dissolves Color Fastest?
This project is for students in 4th through 9th grade.
Main Question: Which liquid will dissolve the color coating on Skittles candy the fastest?
Additional Questions: Do different colors of candy dissolve at different rates?
The younger kids should probably focus on only one of the questions. Older students can try both questions and do more replicates and a more careful examination of the results.
Write down your prediction about which of the liquids you are going to use will dissolve the color coating the quickest and your reasoning.
Sample Hypothesis: Bleach will dissolve the color coating from Skittles fastest because _______. The next fastest will be vinegar, then lemon juice, then 7-Up, then Coke, then alcohol, then milk, and last, water.
If you are also going to examine whether different colors dissolve at different rates, you can make your guess about that too. You should put your guesses in order from fastest to slowest. You can use a chart like the one below.
Color Dissolving Chart
- Package of Skittles candy
- Clear plastic cups
- Various liquid solutions (e.g., water, bleach*, vinegar*, lemon juice, 7-Up, alcohol*, milk, Coke, etc.)
- Journal and pen for taking notes
- Stopwatch or timer
- Camera for taking pictures
*Safety First! Chemicals like bleach, vinegar, and alcohol can cause skin and eye irritation. Make sure there is an adult present, and wear gloves, long sleeves, and protective eyewear.
Methods and Procedures
- Print out or draw a chart (like the one above) in your journal to record how long it takes for each Skittle to dissolve in each solution.
- Pour ½ cup of each solution into separate plastic cups and label each cup.
- Drop a yellow Skittle in each jar and time how long it takes for the color to disappear from each one completely. Write down the time on the chart in the journal.
- You should carefully watch the Skittles in the different solutions and see how they dissolve. Take notes on your observations about what happens as the Skittles lose color. You might notice things like:
- Does the solution bubble when you drop the Skittles in?
- How does the dye dissolve?
- Does it fall off in flakes?
- Drop down and pool underneath the Skittle?
- Does the dye move away as it dissolves or stay around the candy?
- Does the dye disappear?
- Does the candy change colors as the dye dissolves?
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the other colors of Skittles candy.
- Make a bar graph showing how long each color took to dissolve in each liquid.
- Use your charts, graphs, and observational notes to help you describe the results and draw conclusions.
- Older students might want to do some averaging to find other interesting results:
- What is the average dissolve time for each solution?
- What is the average dissolve time for each color?
Results and Conclusion
- Report the results of your experiment, and say whether your hypothesis was correct or incorrect. (It's okay if the results don't match your hypothesis!)
- Share your ideas about why the experiment turned out the way it did. What went right? What went wrong?
- Share your ideas for future experiments. Real scientists always use one experiment to help them design the next one, so in your conclusion, you should also talk about what research you would do next, or talk about what you would do differently if you were to do this experiment again.
The dye on the Skittles dissolved fastest in ______. I was surprised because my conclusion was _______. I thought that bleach takes away stains and so it would dissolve the color fastest. I also thought that acids like vinegar would dissolve things faster. What happened was ____________. I think this is because ____________. If I were to do my experiment over again, I would _____. If I was going to do another experiment, I might like to try crushing the Skittles first like they were being eaten.
Experiment 2: What Happens When Skittles Dissolve?
Kids in grades 2-4 are learning about solutions, dissolving, and colors. That makes the following experiment just right for this age. You will be putting the Skittles in a rainbow pattern on a plate and then filling the middle with hot water to see what happens to the colors on the Skittles.
Get creative with the experiment by trying other liquids or using other colored candies like gumdrops, Jelly Bellies, or M&Ms.
What happens when you put water on Skittles?
Write down what you think is going to happen. If you want to go one step further, write your guess about why that is going to happen.
Example Hypothesis: The colors on the skittles will dissolve in water because____.
Methods and Procedures
- Open the package of Skittles.
- Put the Skittles in a circle in the order of colors in a rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, purple) on a white plate.
- Pour a small amount of hot water in the middle of the plate—just enough so that the water touches the candies. (Get an adult to help to make sure you don't hurt yourself).
- Watch what happens! Use a stopwatch or timer to see how long it takes for the colors to stop flowing.
- Take photos and draw pictures. Write down what you see.
Skittles in Water Results Table
|Color||What Happened With Hot Water?||What Happened With Cold Water?|
Results and Conclusion
- What did you see? Use your pictures, notes, and table to describe the results.
- Compare the results to your hypothesis. Were you right? (It's okay if you aren't!)
- Did you try this experiment with a different liquid or candy? What happened? Did anything happen differently?
- Write down your thoughts. Why do you think the experiment turned out the way it did? Did anything surprise you?
- Look at your guess. Were you right? Why do you think the experiment turned out the way it did? Did anything surprise you?
- Real scientists always think about how they could do their experiments differently. Do you have ideas of how you could do this again in a different way? What did you learn?
Example Conclusion: When I added hot water,_____ happened in ____ minutes. This was ______ to my hypothesis. I think it was because ________. If I did this experiment again, I would _______.
Experiment 3: Skittles Density Rainbow Column Experiment
This experiment not only creates a really pretty rainbow in a glass, but it also teaches an important scientific concept:
Density (mass/volume): Solutions that have more stuff dissolved in them are heavier than solutions that have less stuff dissolved in them.
The video above shows a dad doing the experiment with his sons.
What will happen if we dissolve different amounts of colored Skittles in water and then try pouring one color of water on top of the other?
Take a guess at what will happen. Practice your scientific thinking by trying to explain why that will happen.
Example Hypothesis: The color of water with more Skittles dissolved in it will sink to the bottom because ___________.
- One bag of Skittles
- Clear plastic cups or pint glass jars
- Warm water
- Pipette or dropper, optional
Methods and Procedures
- Open up the bag of candy and separate each color.
- Line up your glasses and put in the following number of candies per jar:
- 2 Red
- 4 Orange
- 6 Yellow
- 8 Green
- 10 Purple
- Put 2 tablespoons of warm water in each glass.
- Stir the glasses with spoons until all the candy is dissolved (or leave the candies alone for about half an hour, and they should be completely dissolved).
- Slowly and carefully pour each color on top of one another in the reverse order as above (i.e. purple first). Be gentle to avoid mixing the solutions. You can use a dropper, pipette, or spoon for more control.
Results and Conclusion
- What did you observe?
- Was your hypothesis correct?
- Why did this happen?
- Can you think of another way to test the density of each solution?
- What did you learn?
- How could you do this experiment again in a different way?
Experiment 4: How Many Skittles of Each Color Are There in a Bag?
Do you have a favorite color of Skittles? This easy experiment for younger kids lets them find out whether there is the same number of each color in a bag.
For older kids (or to make a more interesting experiment), you can try this with several other types of candy—or multiple bags of the same candy—and see if the results are the same each time.
You can choose to answer one or more of the following questions:
- How many of each color of Skittles are in the bag?
- Does each bag of Skittles have the same number of each color?
- Do different types of colored candy have different color ratios?
Write down what you think the answer(s) will be. You can also ask family, friends, and classmates to take a guess and see who will be right!
- There are 12 of each color Skittles in a bag.
- Each bag of Skittles has different numbers of each color.
- Different candies have different numbers of each color.
- One or more bags of Skittles
- Cups to help organize colors, optional
- Paper and pencil to record results
Methods and Procedure
- Open up the bag and pour it into a bowl.
- Separate the candies by colors.
- Count how many candies there are of each color.
- You can make a bar graph, a pie chart, or a table to show how many of each color candy you found. You might even want to line the candies up in a row like a bar graph and take a picture of them that way.
- If you are testing other bags of candy, open them up and do the same thing.
Results and Conclusion
- What did you find?
- Were the numbers of each color the same or different?
- Did this match your guess?
- If you did more than one bag, were the results the same for each bag?
- If there was more of one color than the others, why do you think that is?
- If you were to do the experiment again, what would you do?
When and Where Were Skittles Invented?
While made in the U.S. now, Skittles were actually invented in 1974 in Britain and brought to America in 1979.
How Many Skittles Products Are There?
Along with the original flavor combination, the candy comes in 28 other flavors:
- Tropical (one of the first new varieties)
- Wild Berry (1989)
- Crazy Cores
- Double Sour (double portion of citric acid on coating)
- Crazy Sours (in Europe)
- Smoothie (2005)
- Ice Cream Treats (sold in urban city specialty stores)
- Skittles Unlimited (2007 Limited edition sold in Canada in black package)
- Extreme Fruit Gum
- Skittles Mint (Europe)
- Chocolate Mix
- Liquorice (Europe)
- Citrus (Australia)
- Fizzl'd Fruits
- Sweets and Sours
- Seattle Mix
- Flavor Mash-ups
- America Mix (red, white and blue)
Questions & Answers
Question: Can you help me with the separating colors science experiment, how do you make the conclusion?
Answer: The conclusion is the results you had and what you think they mean. How does what happened compare with your hypothesis? If you were to do the experiment again, what changes would you make?
Question: What is the name of the factory where Skittles are made?
Answer: Skittles are made by the M&M Mars Corporation in their Mars Factory in Waco, Texas.
Question: Can I use the Skittles Science Project for the Maker Fair at my school?
Answer: You will have to ask your instructor of the school officials to see if this project would qualify for your maker fair.
Question: How did the candy "Skittles" get its name?
Answer: "Skittles" is a word that means playing casually and having fun. That is probably why it was chosen as a good name for a fun candy.
Question: How do I go about your 5th-grade science project about the dog?
Answer: Here are the instructions: https://hubpages.com/education/Science-Project-for...
Cassie on March 05, 2020:
Wow! :) this was super fun to do with my dauter
Mariela on December 11, 2019:
Hi can i please use your project it looks really cool and it is the only project that caught my eye.
Melodie on December 10, 2019:
Thank you so much for your help.
luke on December 04, 2019:
Thanks for some ideas
DIANE on November 03, 2019:
thank you for sharing it helps a lot
Deaysia hansen on October 19, 2019:
Thanks for the help
Travel Chef from Manila on August 07, 2019:
This looks so much fun. I would love to try this color wheel experiment.
Emily Carmona on June 18, 2019:
thank you for the help that you showed to the people amd i love the color were ou he first one to do that cause is really cool and it worked the milk didn't work and ate 4 skttles t was so good
Jasmin Urias on June 18, 2019:
I tried it! It worked really good! Thanks for your help!
Vinegar desolved more! I tried diet dr.pepper and it took a longer time to desolve thn water and vinegar
Beatriz lopez on June 18, 2019:
i tried it! its works but the viniger desolved faster.Later when we finished i ate 4 bcs they were extra;),Thanks for the help!
melody on April 30, 2019:
Thank you very much, I need help on my fair project and i saw this. You helped me so much
Rawad on February 13, 2019:
I realy love and like it and think you for the idea
bbss on January 17, 2019:
i want to try this
mkjdwhfberj nfvrqefqjevfefvefe jvbque on December 19, 2018:
thank you for helping me very much and Im happy that you are there to help me all the time even when i need to learn things
KK on November 30, 2018:
IT was super easy
nbgfyhjfghfhgdfngc on October 22, 2018:
hi i am so involved in your experiment
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on October 22, 2018:
Hi. As a parent, grandparent, and a retired teacher, I am sure there are many out there that will thank you for all of the tips you have provided. And who doesn't.love Skittles. Angels are on the way today.ps (I LOVE the commercial in whuch the young boy has Skittles pox!!! Yes, I do.)
111111 on April 08, 2018:
your idea helped me in my project
kate on April 03, 2018:
thanks that really helped me !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
unicorn206 on March 11, 2018:
thanks I'm using this idea
;)) on February 22, 2018:
thanks for the idea
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on February 20, 2018:
Hi Reema, obviously you have waited until the last minute to do your experiment which is never a good idea. I have many different science experiment ideas which you can do in two days but you will need to put in a lot of time and effort. All of my instructions are quite complete in telling you what to do, but I do not give something you can fill out without doing the experiment yourself. To find my experiments, you can go to my profile, or search on Google with "Science Fair Experiments VirginiaLynne." Additionally, you probably will need to look at my information on how to put your science fair board together.
reema on February 20, 2018:
Hi Virginia Kearney I'm a student in grade 7 and my science fair is this Thursday which is in two days. I am having complete stress wondering what to put for the research. I don't know what to search and i really need you to help me and give me some tips on what to write and possibly some questions you used for the 'research' part. PLEASE ANSWER SCIENCE FAIR IS IN A COUPLE OF DAYS.
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on February 14, 2018:
The hypothesis would be your guess of what is going to happen when you do the experiment. You make your hypothesis before you start the experiment. Then the "results" are what actually happened.
reema on February 14, 2018:
In the chart it says 'hypothesis' , what should we write there?
Please answer and help science fair is in a week !!
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on February 02, 2018:
Hi Laina, the reason would depend on which project you are doing. While thinking about it from the consumer point of view, such as which colors teeth the most, is one way to approach the issue, a more interesting way may be to consider it from the manufacturer's point of view. They need to decide things like how to keep the candies from crushing or melting. Additionally, they are trying to find the taste combination which is best and the most appealing colors.
Laina on February 02, 2018:
So I need a reason to do this project, such as finding out what colors teeth easier, or something like that
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on January 22, 2018:
Hi Laina, different teachers will use different words for the parts of the experiment. I can't be sure what your teacher means by purpose or problem but I think that would be the question.
Laina on January 22, 2018:
For my 6th grade science project I need a purpose or a problem that I'm trying to solve by doing this experiment. Please respond.
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on January 19, 2018:
Hi Holly--I don't put all of the information into these online helps because it is important for each student to do some of the thinking and work for themselves. Read the definitions of the two kinds of variables carefully. If your teacher did not tell you the definitions, then you will need to look them up until you understand them. Then think about the experiment and figure out what they are. Different instructors have different names for parts of an experiment. Part of being a good scientist is understanding the concepts behind the terms. Figuring out this answer will make you a better scientist! VirginiaLynne (I'm the author of all my articles and that is my picture on the page.)
Holly Sawyer on January 19, 2018:
To whom it may concern,
I am doing the first experiment for my science fair and I would like to thank you for the idea. I was wondering though if you could help me identify the independent and the dependent variables are in this experiment. These always seem to be the part that I struggle with.
Gwen on January 11, 2018:
Doing this for my science fair experiment. And I LOVE skittles!! :) :) :)
marissa on January 11, 2018:
i think it was very helpful and my favorite candy is skittles so i like this science fair progect.I will tell people about it definately
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on January 07, 2018:
Hi Linda--You have a good idea of looking up the different solutions. You can also look up candy making and maybe look up food dyes.
Linda on January 07, 2018:
What kind of research could my son look for for this project? Why each solution dissolves dye, maybe?
Unknown on January 05, 2018:
I was doing a project on this and I really needed help thank u guys for inventing the Skittles or if u didn't just thank u for helping me
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on January 02, 2018:
Dear Mom of 4, you can present the same data in either a bar or pie graph.
Momof4crackers on January 02, 2018:
Once I have the data table complete, what data is used in the bar graph? And what data is used in the pie graph? Great project!
Leslie on December 11, 2017:
Thanks a lot
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on December 03, 2017:
Hi Leslie, I'm not sure which of the projects you are taking about, but generally, you would keep the same liquid for all of the colors.
Leslie on December 02, 2017:
Hello I had a question. ABout the project ,,,, I wanted to know if you change the liquid every time you drop a different color of. Skittle
FidgetSPinnerZ on November 01, 2017:
thank you for this project!
JNahar on October 26, 2017:
I do love skittles.I also got 1st place
nayeliz nieves on October 20, 2017:
that looks very nice I think that is the project that I will do
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on October 13, 2017:
Hi Daniel--I have a whole article on how to put your Science Fair Board together, so that will give you a lot of ideas. I'd definitely suggest you use all of the great colors that the candy comes in to make your board pop and draw attention.
Daniel on October 12, 2017:
Hi, I'm doing the project any way you can help me on creating or designing my board, that my only struggle everything went well so far just need a tip?
Blessin whitmore on October 10, 2017:
I'm a student at R.V.Daniels and I decided to do this skittle project what solution will dissolve the fastest in different substance
JJ on October 02, 2017:
Thanks because now I know more about the skittle experiment
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on September 08, 2017:
Sure Maya! You'll have to come back after you do your project and tell me how it went!
Maya on September 08, 2017:
I love this project can I plz use it cause I have a project in I have to make sure it's done by December 1
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on May 05, 2017:
Hi, Reny-Thanks for coming back to tell me that these worked well for you! The Mars factory near our house where they make the candies just had a fire this week. Everyone is all right and they should be back on track soon!
Reny Rock Star on May 04, 2017:
Hey! Thx because of these instuchions I won FIRST PLACE! In the science fair!! Thank you so much:)
Rusuvero on April 14, 2017:
I really like the pictures
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on March 30, 2017:
Hi Kealy--You will need to do some research yourself. Why don't you look up "Facts about Skittles" or "Chemistry of Candy."
Kealy on March 30, 2017:
Can you give my 3-15 facts or give me the site to get on.
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on March 26, 2017:
The question could be the title.
nyikaylah on February 20, 2017:
i like the project
Me05 on January 08, 2017:
No thank you!! You did a Awesome job helping kids choosing a science fair project!!
THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on December 10, 2016:
Me05--Thank you for letting me know that these instructions did exactly what I hope they will do for my readers: make doing a science fair fun and give students a good project which they can be proud of showing at their fair.
Me05 on December 10, 2016:
Thank you so much for this experience of having fun with my cusion to help her with her science fair project so I thank you very much and my cusion did win the science fair in 2nd place.
Emma on December 08, 2016:
This was very useful for the science fair project my cousin is doing.
Thank you very much!
im pretty :) on November 16, 2016:
i love skittles i can even taste that raindow
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on October 03, 2016:
Thanks teaches--I didn't know that this candy had less allergens than others. Since the factory is within our school district, just a couple of miles away from most of the schools, they used to give out lots of the candies for teachers to use. However, in Texas they no longer allow teachers to use candies that are mostly sugar in the classroom. Oddly enough, they do allow chocolate. Even so, Mars still gives out lots of things for schools to use as prizes at carnivals etc. We are very appreciative of the way the company has tried to help the community by supporting many fundraisers.
Dianna Mendez on October 03, 2016:
This was quite interesting and lots of fun to read. Skittles are the candy most used in school projects since they have less allergens. Loved the detailed steps for completing the projects. Congrats to the winner on a job well done!