Looking for a fun popcorn experiment? This dancing popcorn experiment is the perfect way to test the duration and effectiveness of different chemical reactions, and it takes just 3 ingredients to complete! This is one of our favorite quick STEM activities to try in the classroom or at home.
And who doesn’t love popcorn science?
The popcorn science experiment can be modified for almost any age group.
Easy Dancing Popcorn Chemistry Experiment
For preschoolers and early elementary students, you can use this activity as a fun Thanksgiving science experiment or simple science demonstration for chemical reactions.
Older children in elementary school and middle school can complete the full experiment with variations, testing, and a hypothesis.
Every popcorn experiment should include a hypothesis, a test, a variation, and data recording.
What NGSS Standards Does the Dancing Popcorn Experiment Meet?
This experiment can be used to meet the requirements for the following middle school and elementary school Next Generation Science Standards:
MS-PS1-2 Matter and its Interactions
Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.
2-PS1 Matter and Its Interactions
Analyze data from tests of an object or tool to determine if it works as intended.
How Does the Dancing Popcorn Experiment Work?
This science experiment works through a chemical reaction. The two chemicals react when mixed and form carbon dioxide (CO2) gas. The gas forms bubbles that collect around the popcorn kernels.
The gas bubbles lift the kernels up to the surface of the liquid, and when the gas is released, the kernels fall back down into the jar, making it look like the kernels are dancing or jumping!
How Do You Make Dancing Corn?
This popcorn science project is a fun way to demonstrate chemical reactions and to determine which substances create the longest-lasting reaction.
You’ll want to have several jars on hand to test each mixture, and a timer to determine how long the kernels in each jar bounce before settling to the bottom of the jar.
Repeat the experiment multiple times for the most accurate results.
Dancing Corn Experiment STEM Extensions
When completing this experiment, test other chemical reactions to determine which produces the best results. You’ll get an awesome example of a chemical reaction this way!
- Alka-Seltzer tablets and water
- Baking soda and vinegar
- Lemon juice and baking soda
- Citric acid and baking soda
- Alka-seltzer tablets and oil
Dancing Popcorn Experiment Results
We found that the dancing popcorn experiment worked best when we used baking soda and vinegar.
Putting the baking soda into the vinegar slowly helped reduce the reaction time, enabling more of the popcorn kernels to “dance.”
Stirring the kernels with a fork helped them to bounce up and down in the water.
Our kernels bobbed in the vinegar solution for over a minute before finally falling to the bottom of the jar.
What you need to make popping corn kernels
You will need the following supplies for the dancing popcorn experiment:
ball mason 12 Jar with Lid-Regular MouOrville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Popcorn Kernels, Original Yellow, 8 lbMember’s Mark Distilled White Vinegar Jug, 1 galArm & Hammer Baking Soda, 5 LbsCrisco Pure Vegetable Oil, 32 Fl OzSCS Alka-Seltzer Original Antacid and Analgesic – 116 ct.The Mason Jar Scientist: 30 Jarring STEAM-Based ProjectsMARATHON Adanac 3000 Digital Sports Stopwatch Timer with Extra Large Display and Buttons, Water Resistant- Yellow
The Mason Jar Scientist: 30 Jarring STEAM-Based ProjectsBall Regular Mouth Mason Jars with Lids and Bands, 16-Ounces (4-Pack)Crisco Pure Vegetable Oil, 32 OunceBarbasol Soothing Aloe Thick & Rich Shaving Cream 10 Oz (2 Pack)Alka-Seltzer PFY BXAS50 80659297 Antacid and Pain Relief Medicine, Two-Pack (Pack of 50)Kadaon 10X Handheld Magnifier Antique Mahogany Handle Magnifier Reading Magnifying Glass for Reading Book, Inspection, Coins, Insects, Rocks, Map, Crossword PuzzleBORAX 20 Mule Team Laundry Booster, Powder, 4 PoundsFine Ground Celtic Sea Salt – (1) 16 Ounce Resealable Bag of Nutritious, Classic Sea Salt, Great for Cooking, Baking, Pickling, Finishing and More, Pantry-Friendly, Gluten-FreeMcCormick Assorted Food Color, 1 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)Food Coloring – 12 Color Vibrant Cake Food Coloring Set for Baking, Decorating, Fondant and Cooking – Upgraded Liquid Concentrated Icing Food Color Dye for Slime Making, DIY Crafts – .25 fl. oz. Each30% Pure Vinegar – Home&Garden (1 Gallon)Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda, 5 lbArgo Corn Starch 16 oz. Box (Pack of 4)
Dancing Popcorn Experiment Worksheet
Use the worksheet below to record the results of your corn experiment!
Simple Dancing Corn Experiment Directions
Follow along with these step-by-step directions for the dancing corn science experiment! Print out the instructions to use when you’re not at a computer or phone.