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Science Boonies: Candy Coral

Did You Know?

Did you know that every material has a 'melting point'? This is the temperature at which the material undergoes a 'phase transition'. That's the sciency way of saying the material switched from one state to another. There are 4 states: solid, liquid, gas, and plasma! Typically, we don't talk about plasma so we're going to ignore it. Each state has varying levels of 'molecule density. Molecule density is how we quantify how close molecules are to each other! So for solids, the molecules are very tightly packed. For liquids, they're still relatively close but they can move around. And lastly, for gases, the molecules go all over the place!

You might be wondering, "BoonBerries, how does this relate to anything?" - fantastic question! Molecules are the reason things heat up! So when we heat up the water what we're actually doing is giving the water molecules energy in the form of heat. When molecules get energy, they speed up and get excited (like littles when you give them candy :P). So if we think of ice, if I heat up an ice cube, I'm giving the water molecules energy, this excites them, and they move around. The more energy I give them, the faster they go. This is where it gets interesting! The faster the molecules go, the more the molecular structure loosens. This causes a sort of feedback loop since the more the structure is loosened, the more movement there can be. So for the ice cube example, the water molecules get excited and move around a bunch, this causes the structure to break down and the solid ice cube becomes liquid water. You are now one fact smarter, little one :)


- Two cups of water

- Six cups of granulated sugar

- Mason jar(s)

- String or skewer

- Food coloring (optional)

- Flavoring (optional)


Step one - sanitize the jars using hot water.

Step two - hang the string or skewer from the top of the jar so it is approximately one inch from the bottom.

Step three - wet the string or skewer and then roll it in sugar.

Step four - bring the two cups of water to a boil.

Step five - slowly (one cup at a time) add the sugar to the boiling water. Make sure you fully dissolve it before you add more sugar! It will take longer to dissolve each time you add sugar, this is normal.

Step six - if you're using flavors or colors, add them after all the sugar is mixed in.

Step seven - take the mixture off the heat and let it cool for 20 - 30 minutes.

Step eight - pour the cooled syrup mixture into the jars then add the string/skewer that is covered in sugar. Your string/skewer should hang approximately one inch from the bottom.

Step nine - wait 24 hours then check to see your crystal! Once you're happy with its size, take it out and enjoy!

Big Boon Brain Explanation:

Have you ever seen a jar of honey that's crystalized? When that happens it's because the glucose molecules have separated from the water, forming crystals. Our sugar mixture is what's known as "supersaturated". This means there is so much sugar it can't fully dissolve. That, unfortunately, can cause the glucose molecules to separate from the sugar mixture. You see, all the glucose needs is a starting point. The starting point can be an undissolved sugar crystal, an air bubble, or even a speck of dust, in the container! Once the glucose grabs a hold of the starting point, the crystallization begins!

Glucose molecules start to separate from the mixture and form crystals. This leaves the remaining solution more diluted (it has a higher water concentration) than the original mixture. The crystals typically sink to the bottom of the jar and slowly make their way up. You can actually undo this crystallization by putting the jar in some very hot water for a couple of minutes the crystals will melt and redistribute back into the solution!


I apologize, in advance.....

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