Skittles Science Fair Project Instructions

Updated on November 9, 2018
VirginiaLynne profile image

VirginiaLynne is an educator and mom of 5. Her Science Fair articles are based on her experience helping her children do their projects.

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Science You Can Eat!

Did you know that Skittles are the #1 candy for younger kids? That makes Skittles Science a surefire winner. Not only will you have fun eating the leftovers, 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.

  1. Which Solution Dissolves Color Fastest? (Grades 5-9)
  2. What Happens When Skittles Dissolve? (Grades 2-4)
  3. The Rainbow Density Experiment (Grades 2-4)
  4. How Many Candies of Each Color? (Grades K-3)

Source

Experiment 1: Which Liquid Dissolves Color the Fastest?

This project can be good from 4th through 9th grade.

Question

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 more careful examination of the results.

Hypothesis

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 _______. 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

Solutions
Rank
Red
Yellow
Orange
Green
Purple
Water
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bleach
 
 
 
 
 
 
Vinegar
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lemon Juice
 
 
 
 
 
 
7-Up
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alcohol
 
 
 
 
 
 
Milk
 
 
 
 
 
 
Coke
 
 
 
 
 
 
You can use this chart to record both your hypotheses and your results. Rank the solutions in the "Rank" column according to which liquids you think will be fastest. For each solution, you can also rank which colors you think will dissolve

Helpful Tips

Younger children may only want to focus on one color, or they may use just one liquid on all the colors.

Be creative and look around your house to see if there are other clear or light-colored liquids that you could use.

Check with an adult to see if the solutions you choose are safe for you to use.

Materials

  1. Package of Skittles candy
  2. Clear plastic cups
  3. Various liquid solutions (e.g. water, bleach*, vinegar*, lemon juice, 7-Up, alcohol*, milk, Coke, etc.)
  4. Journal and pen for taking notes
  5. Stopwatch or timer
  6. 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

  1. 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.
  2. Pour ½ cup of each solution into separate plastic cups and label each cup.
  3. Drop a yellow Skittle in each jar and time how long it takes for the color to completely disappear from each one. Write down the time on the chart in the journal.
  4. 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?
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the other colors of Skittles candy.
  6. Make a bar graph showing how long each color took to dissolve in each liquid.
  7. Use your charts, graphs, and observational notes to help you describe the results and draw conclusions.
  8. 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

  1. 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!)
  2. Share your ideas about why the experiment turned out the way it did. What went right? What went wrong?
  3. 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 experiment you would do next, or talk about what you would do differently if you were to do this experiment again.

Example Conclusion

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.

How Long Does It Take for Skittles to Dissolve?

In water, it should take 1-2 minutes for the coating to dissolve and about 30 minutes to completely dissolve without stirring.

(Video) Skittles Rainbow Experiment

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.

Question

What happens when you put water on Skittles?

Hypothesis

Write down what you think is going to happen. If you want to go one step further, take a guess about why that is going to happen.

Example Hypothesis: The colors on the skittles will dissolve in water because____.

Methods and Procedures

  1. Open the package of Skittles.
  2. Put the Skittles in a circle in the order of colors in a rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, purple) on a white plate.
  3. Pour a small amount of hot water on 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).
  4. Watch what happens! Use a stopwatch or timer to see how long it takes for the colors to stop flowing.
  5. 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?
Red
 
 
Orange
 
 
Yellow
 
 
Green
 
 
Purple
 
 
Write down what you saw happen to each color.

Results and Conclusion

  1. What did you see? Use your pictures, notes, and table to describe the results.
  2. Compare the results to your hypothesis. Were you right? (It's okay if you aren't!)
  3. Did you try this experiment with a different liquid or candy? What happened? Did anything happen differently?
  4. Write down your thoughts. Why do you think the experiment turned out the way it did? Did anything surprise you?
  5. Look at your guess. Were you right? Why do you think the experiment turned out the way it did? Did anything surprise you?
  6. Real scientists always think about how they could do their experiment 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 _______.

Why Do Skittles Dissolve?

The coating on Skittles consists of two water-soluble ingredients: food coloring and sugar.

(Video) Skittles Density Rainbow Column

Experiment 3: Skittles Density Rainbow Column Experiment

This experiment not only creates a really pretty rainbow in a glass, 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.

Question

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?

Hypothesis

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 ___________.

Materials

  1. One bag of Skittles
  2. Clear plastic cups or pint glass jars
  3. Warm water
  4. Spoons
  5. Pipette or dropper, optional

Methods and Procedures

  1. Open up the bag of candy and separate each color.
  2. Line up your glasses and put in the following number of candies per jar:
    • 2 Red
    • 4 Orange
    • 6 Yellow
    • 8 Green
    • 10 Purple
  3. Put 2 tablespoons of warm water in each glass.
  4. 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).
  5. 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

  1. What did you observe?
  2. Was your hypothesis correct?
  3. Why did this happen?
  4. Can you think of another way to test the density of each solution?
  5. What did you learn?
  6. How could you do this experiment again in a different way?

Why Didn't the Colors Mix?

You may have noticed that the level of water was equal for each color, but remember that each color had different amounts of candy added to the water. There was more purple candy added than the other colors. This raised the mass of the purple water while keeping the volume the same as the other colored waters, thus, increasing its density and keeping it at the bottom.

(Video) Demonstration of Densities

Source

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.

Questions

You can choose to answer one or more of the following questions:

  1. How many of each color of Skittles are in the bag?
  2. Does each bag of Skittles have the same number of each color?
  3. Do different types of colored candy have different color ratios?

Hypothesis

Write down what you think the answer(s) will be. You can also ask family, friends, classmates to take a guess and see who will be right!

Example Hypotheses:

  1. There are 12 of each color Skittles in a bag.
  2. Each bag of Skittles has different numbers of each color.
  3. Different candies have different numbers of each color.

Materials

  1. One or more bags of Skittles
  2. Cups to help organize colors, optional
  3. Paper and pencil to record results

Methods and Procedure

  1. Open up the bag and pour it into a bowl.
  2. Separate the candies by colors.
  3. Count how many candies there are of each color.
  4. 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.
  5. If you are testing other bags of candy, open them up and do the same thing.

Results and Conclusion

  1. What did you find?
  2. Were the numbers of each color the same or different?
  3. Did this match your guess?
  4. If you did more than one bag, were the results the same for each bag?
  5. If there was more of one color than the others, why do you think that is?
  6. If you were to do the experiment again, what would you do?

Source

Which Do You Like Best?

Which of the experiments are you most likely to do?

See results

When and Where was Skittles Invented?

While made in the U.S. now, Skittles was actually invented in 1974 in Britain and brought to America in 1979.

How Skittles Products Are There?

Along with the original flavor combination, the candy comes in 28 other flavors:

  1. Tropical (one of the first new varieties)
  2. Wild Berry (1989)
  3. Tart-N-Tangy
  4. Crazy Cores
  5. Confused?
  6. Sour
  7. Double Sour (double portion of citric acid on coating)
  8. Crazy Sours (in Europe)
  9. Smoothie (2005)
  10. Ice Cream Treats (sold in urban city specialty stores)
  11. Skittles Unlimited (2007 Limited edition sold in Canada in black package)
  12. Mint
  13. Extreme Fruit Gum
  14. Skittles Mint (Europe)
  15. Chocolate
  16. Chocolate Mix
  17. Liquorice (Europe)
  18. Citrus (Australia)
  19. Sensation
  20. Fizzl'd Fruits
  21. Blenders
  22. Riddles
  23. Sweets and Sours
  24. Orchard
  25. Seattle Mix
  26. Flavor Mash-ups
  27. America Mix (red, white and blue)
  28. Brightside

Skittles in the News

Believe it or not, this popular candy has gotten mixed up in some controversies. Protesters of the shooting of Trayvon Martin used the candy in their demonstrations because he was carrying it when he was shot. Mars got mixed up again in controversy when Donald Trump tweeted an analogy between the candy and refugees.

Mars Factory (Where Skittles Are Made)

I drive by the factory where these candies are made almost every day!  Here is a picture of the outside.
I drive by the factory where these candies are made almost every day! Here is a picture of the outside. | Source

Questions & Answers

Comments

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    • profile image

      KK 

      13 days ago

      IT was super easy

    • profile image

      nbgfyhjfghfhgdfngc 

      7 weeks ago

      hi i am so involved in your experiment

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      7 weeks ago from sunny Florida

      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.)

    • profile image

      111111 

      8 months ago

      your idea helped me in my project

    • profile image

      kate 

      8 months ago

      thanks that really helped me !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      unicorn206 

      9 months ago

      thanks I'm using this idea

    • profile image

      ;)) 

      9 months ago

      thanks for the idea

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      9 months ago from United States

      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.

    • profile image

      reema 

      9 months ago

      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.

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      10 months ago from United States

      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.

    • profile image

      reema 

      10 months ago

      In the chart it says 'hypothesis' , what should we write there?

      Please answer and help science fair is in a week !!

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      10 months ago from United States

      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.

    • profile image

      Laina 

      10 months ago

      So I need a reason to do this project, such as finding out what colors teeth easier, or something like that

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      10 months ago from United States

      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.

    • profile image

      Laina 

      10 months ago

      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.

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      10 months ago from United States

      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.)

    • profile image

      Holly Sawyer 

      10 months ago

      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.

      Thank you,

      Holly

    • profile image

      Gwen 

      11 months ago

      Doing this for my science fair experiment. And I LOVE skittles!! :) :) :)

    • profile image

      marissa 

      11 months ago

      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

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      11 months ago from United States

      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.

    • profile image

      Linda 

      11 months ago

      What kind of research could my son look for for this project? Why each solution dissolves dye, maybe?

    • profile image

      Unknown 

      11 months ago

      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

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      11 months ago from United States

      Dear Mom of 4, you can present the same data in either a bar or pie graph.

    • profile image

      Momof4crackers 

      11 months ago

      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!

    • profile image

      Leslie 

      12 months ago

      Thanks a lot

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      12 months ago from United States

      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.

    • profile image

      Leslie 

      12 months ago

      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

    • profile image

      FidgetSPinnerZ 

      13 months ago

      thank you for this project!

    • profile image

      JNahar 

      13 months ago

      I do love skittles.I also got 1st place

    • profile image

      nayeliz nieves 

      13 months ago

      that looks very nice I think that is the project that I will do

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      14 months ago from United States

      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.

    • profile image

      Daniel 

      14 months ago

      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?

    • profile image

      Blessin whitmore 

      14 months ago

      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

    • profile image

      JJ 

      14 months ago

      Thanks because now I know more about the skittle experiment

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      15 months ago from United States

      Sure Maya! You'll have to come back after you do your project and tell me how it went!

    • profile image

      Maya 

      15 months ago

      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

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      19 months ago from United States

      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!

    • profile image

      Reny Rock Star 

      19 months ago

      Hey! Thx because of these instuchions I won FIRST PLACE! In the science fair!! Thank you so much:)

    • profile image

      Rusuvero 

      20 months ago

      I really like the pictures

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      20 months ago from United States

      Hi Kealy--You will need to do some research yourself. Why don't you look up "Facts about Skittles" or "Chemistry of Candy."

    • profile image

      Kealy 

      20 months ago

      Can you give my 3-15 facts or give me the site to get on.

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      20 months ago from United States

      The question could be the title.

    • profile image

      nyikaylah 

      22 months ago

      i like the project

    • profile image

      Me05 

      23 months ago

      No thank you!! You did a Awesome job helping kids choosing a science fair project!!

      THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      2 years ago from United States

      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.

    • profile image

      Me05 

      2 years ago

      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.

      THANK YOU!!!!!

    • profile image

      Emma 

      2 years ago

      This was very useful for the science fair project my cousin is doing.

      Thank you very much!

    • profile image

      im pretty :) 

      2 years ago

      i love skittles i can even taste that raindow

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      2 years ago from United States

      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.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      2 years ago

      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!

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