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Saturday Science: Ghostly M's

Saturday Science: Ghostly M's

Things are a little spooky this time of year, and with this week's Saturday Science experiment, M&M's® are no exception. Learn how ghostly M&M's can be in this experiment from The Teacher's Corner.

Materials

  • A bowl
  • M&M's candy
  • Water

Process

  1. Put about an inch or two of warm water into the bowl.
  2. Select several candies that have nice, clear "M"s on them.
  3. Place them, M side up, in the water.
  4. Now watch carefully. Quickly, the candy coating starts to dissolve and the colors settle to the bottom around the candy.
  5. The last part of the color to go will probably be the part under the M.
  6. Slowly, a thin film with the M on it will separate from the candy and float to the surface.
  7. If you let the candy continue to dissolve, you will see a white candy layer under the colored one and finally the chocolate center becomes visible.

Results

A thin film of wax floats in the water, does not dissolve and leaves a waxy smear on a clean glass. Wax is also edible, which is important with candy. The M itself is made of titanium oxide. The sand contains heavy, dark grains as well as the white sand. These dark minerals contain titanium and they are mined and used to make the titanium oxide that is used for the Ms on these candies.
 
The dissolved colors stayed separate and formed very sharp boundaries. With cold water the color separation is even more striking. The chemicals which produce the colors have different densities. You might try seeing how the temperature of the water changes the rate that the candy dissolves. If you have a test tube or a very thin bud vase, try stacking different colored candies and covering them with water to see if the colors will form separate layers one on top of the other.
 
You can also separate colors by placing wet M&Ms on a coffee filter and watching the colors separate through a process known as chromatography. 

When you finish, the candy is still perfectly edible, so don't waste it. Just drain off the water and then scoop up the lumps of chocolate for a snack.

Looking for more ghostly fun this Halloween? Check out Monster MASKarade every Friday evening and Saturday morning in October!


Want more Saturday Science? See all of our at-home activities on the blog or on Pinterest.

This post is sponsored by Dave & Buster's.

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