Sci Fri: Popcorn popping on the peach tree

The first in a new series of Friday science activities for kids: Popcorn. It grows on trees.

Every Friday from now until school gets out on June 7th(!), I will be posting a science activity for preschool kids… because that’s part of what I do in real life as a private child care provider (a.k.a. full-time Mom).

The first activity explores fruit blossoms and popcorn.

Materials needed:
a fruit tree in blossom
popcorn, oil, salt, and a brown paper lunch bag
paper, marker, glue

My son and I visited the peach blossoms in the backyard and looked at them very closely with a magnifying glass. We talked about their color, shape, size, smell, texture, and wondered if they tasted like peaches. We talked about how they bloomed when the earth got warm enough.

Next, we looked very closely at popcorn kernels. We talked about their shape, size and texture. How are they different from flower buds? How are they the same? We watched this video of popcorn popping slowly and talked about what happens when the moisture inside the kernel gets very hot:


and then popped some of our own in the microwave using this recipe:

1 brown paper lunch bag
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

In a cup or small bowl, mix together the popcorn kernels and oil. Pour the coated corn into a brown paper lunch sack, and sprinkle in the salt. Fold the top of the bag over twice to seal in the ingredients.
Cook in the microwave at full power for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, or until you hear pauses of about 2 seconds between pops. Carefully open the bag to avoid steam, and pour into a serving bowl.

We also popped a batch using no oil or salt and then drew pictures of trees on paper, made glue dots, and glued the popcorn onto the trees, thus: (we also made an impromptu cottontail rabbit)

And, since the child I’m with is a very active one, we had a dance party with our favorite popcorn song. You know the one… it was on the Happy cd mix in the post called “Think good thoughts“. It can be found here: Popcorn Popping by Various Artists. (That band makes so many hits….)

Happy Sci Fri to you!

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