Skittles Science Fair Project Instructions
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.
- 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 the Fastest?
This project can be good from 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 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 _______. 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
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.
- 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 completely disappear from each one. 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 experiment 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.
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.
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, 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
- 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 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).
- 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
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 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.
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?
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
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, 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?
Which Do You Like Best?
Which of the experiments are you most likely to do?
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:
- 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)
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.