Activities to Celebrate National Popcorn Day
Our tutors sure do love a good food-related holiday, especially when there is so much learning involved with it! Wednesday, January 19th is National Popcorn Day, and we couldn’t help but pop out a few popcorn-related activities for the home or the classroom to celebrate our favorite savory snack!
Discover why popcorn kernels pop.
We just love the science behind this one. And you can do it at home! Note: Please follow the materials instructions, as it can be dangerous to have the wrong materials! We asked one of our expert tutors, science teacher Julie Hammond, for their advice on how to safely do this at home.
Materials: popcorn kernels, one microwave-safe plate, one microwave-safe clear glass (we used a mason jar), microwave
Directions: Gather materials. Place popcorn kernels in the mason jar and place the microwave-safe plate fact down on the open top of the glass. Nuke it! Be sure to stand by to watch, as you don’t want to burn the popcorn. Take it out pretty soon after you hear the first few pops. Be sure to use hot plates to take out the plate-covered glass.
Notice: What do you see in the glass besides popcorn? (Hint: you should see water on the sides!).
Popcorn pops because a tiny drop of water that is inside the kernel vaporizes, making what is like a tiny explosion. You can see the water vapor on the side of the glass!
Pop It Like It’s Hot Popcorn Race
This one is adapted from PBS Kids.
Materials: lots of popped popcorn, a large and a small bin for each participant, a paper cup for each participant, a rubber band and paperclip for each participant, a pencil or something to poke a hole.
Directions: Poke a hole in the bottom of the paper cup. Secure the rubber band to the paper clip, then thread the rubber band through the hole, leaving the paperclip end inside the cup.
Have each player start at a starting line. Players should place the rubber band around their shoe, with the cup facing up to the ceiling and on top of their shoe.
Place a large bin of popcorn with an empty cup by the starting line. Place empty bins about 10 feet away from the starting line. Each player must fill their cup with popcorn, then race to the empty bin and dump out the popcorn without touching it. Then they return to the starting line to refill. The player to get teh most popcorn in the bin in a minute wins.
Explore the History of Popcorn
Do you know how long popcorn has been a part of American culture, or how it became a favorite during movies? The French explorers wrote about Iroquois popping popcorn in their journals, and by the 1800s it was a popular snack. Work alongside your child (or students!) as they investigate the colorful history of this crunchy treat!
Make Popcorn Dance, Dance!
Materials: seltzer water, popcorn kernels, a clear glass
Directions: Fill the glass with seltzer water. Place popcorn kernels in the glass.
Ask your child/students to make a hypothesis.
This experiment is adapted from Kelly’s Online Classroom.
Explore Which Type of Popcorn Has the Best Popping Results
Materials: several different brands of popcorn, microwave
Directions: Gather several different brands of popcorn. Make a hypothesis as to which brand of popcorn will have the most kernels of popcorn popped in the same amount of time. Place each bag in the microwave for the same amount of time. Count the popped kernels and unpopped kernels in each bag. Record results. Which brand had the most kernels popped versus unpopped? Which had the least? How did this fit with your hypothesis?
For more activities to do at home with your kids, please check out:
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