Kitchen Chemistry: Rock Candy

Science is all around us, giving you plenty of opportunities to get your children engaged and involved. If your child has a sweet tooth, teach her about solutes, solvents, and other important science topics with this rock candy experiment from Polk County private schools.

What You Can Teach With Rock Candy
Making rock candy is a simple experiment that brings together many scientific concepts, including solutions, supersaturated solutions, solutes and solvents, sedimentation, and viscosity. Don’t worry about covering all of these right away — work each topic into the experiment! This way, you don’t overwhelm your child or take away from the hands-on learning.

What You Need

  • Cane sugar
  • Water
  • Large glass or microwave-safe container
  • Small glass jar
  • Measuring cups
  • Stirring spoon
  • Pencil
  • Food coloring
  • Clean string
  • Scissors
  • Parchment or wax paper

What to Do
It’s time to get started! Keep everything close at hand so you can move smoothly through the experiment. Start by helping your child measure three cups of cane sugar into the large glass container. Let him pour in one cup of water and stir it together, and note how heavy and viscous the solution is.

Now, show your child how heat affects it. Microwave the solution for two minutes, and stir until the mixture is fully combined; it should be smooth instead of granular. Microwave for two more minutes. Ask children about how thick the solution is — even though you didn’t add more water, it got more runny after heating it up.

Help your child add three to seven drops of food coloring and gently stir it in. Carefully pour the colorful sugar mixture into the smaller glass jar. Break out the string and cut off a section slightly shorter than the height of the jar, then tie it around the middle of the pencil. Rest the pencil across the top of the jar and lower the string into the sugar mixture, letting it get fully coated.

Remove the string and straighten it out on wax paper. Let it harden, and then gently wiggle it back into the sugar mixture, laying the pencil across the opening of the jar. Place the jar in a safe area for one week. Consider taking pictures each day to see how the crystal formation changes every day. After one week, remove your rock candy, and examine it on a piece of wax paper.

Rock candy isn’t just a delicious treat — it’s an engaging science experiment that keeps children asking questions and learning from start to finish. Try this and see what your child takes away from the experiment.

At our Polk County private schools, we foster an atmosphere of care and an environment of high expectations and effective discipline. To learn more about what makes us different, contact us at 407-246-4800.