Thursday, December 13, 2012

States of Matter and Chocolate Lollipops

Whenever I incorporate our love of chocolate with our love of learning, the afterschool activities are especially fun!

To teach my son about the states of matter (solid, liquid, and gas), we made some beautiful molded chocolate lollipops.

Before we got started, we read a wonderful example of children's literature. Joe-Joe the Wizard Brews Up Solids, Liquids, and Gases is playful yet informative - just the right combination of fiction and nonfiction! 

The book chronicles science class at Ms. Tickle's Academy of Magic and Joe-Joe's failed spell to turn his homework into chocolate bars. Oops! He got chocolate syrup instead!

Ms. Tickle would have been more upset, but the day's lesson is all about solids, liquids, and gases; Joe-Joe's chocolate mess is a wonderful inspiration. The teacher goes on to explain what matter is (anything that has weight) and that liquids flow and can take the shape of their container - just like Joe-Joe's syrup. Solids keep their shape. Gases expand, grow, and not only change shape, but also change volume.

When we were done with the book, it was time to whip up a wonderful holiday treat. I put some Wilton's candy melts in a bowl. "Are these solid, liquid, or gas?" I asked. "Solid."

Then I told him that in order to make lollipops, we needed to change this solid to a liquid and asked him how we could do that. "With heat!" he exclaimed. (I was glad to see he remembered what Eric Braun's book and its character Ms. Tickle had taught us).

After heating the candy melts in the microwave, we put the liquid in plastic bags, snipped a corner, and squeezed some into each candy mold, adding the sticks halfway through.

Just like I figured, my son was anxious to eat one. "How do we make them into lollipops?" he asked staring at the liquid chocolate in our molds.

"We need to turn them back into a solid," I said. "Any ideas?"

"The freezer?"

I was thrilled. Once again, changing the temperature would also change the chocolate's state. We slid them into the refrigerator to set up.

When he pulled them out and popped them from the mold after dinner, he marveled at the perfect snowflake and Christmas tree shapes. I reminded him that when they were liquid they took the shape of their container, our lollipop mold.

YUM. That was one sweet science lesson!


  1. cool! Please feel free to link this or any math or science related ideas to my Christmas link up. I am trying to collect awesome ideas like yours in one place