What could be more fun than dissolving peeps? If you are looking for a fun STEM experiment, then this is the one! My Dissolving Peeps STEM Experiment for Kids can be used to teach about chemistry. You will need some supplies: dissolvable peeps, salt, sugar, water, measuring cups or spoons, Peeps, and other materials like bowls or drinking glasses.
The materials for this project are inexpensive, easy to find, and kid-friendly. You can use multiple colors of peeps in order to create your own unique design or follow our example below.
History of Peeps
Peeps are a candy introduced by the Just Born company, which has been making Easter confections since 1923.
In 1953, Peeps were renamed PEEPS® and became an American icon for springtime celebrations.
Today there are many different flavors of PEEPS including: Marshmallow Bunny (yellow), Pink Marshmallow Chick (pink), Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Rabbit( brown) & Traditional Yellow Marshmallow Chicken (white).
What are Peeps most commonly used for?
Peeps are most commonly used as a dessert item. They can be eaten by themselves, dipped in chocolate, or combined with other desserts like Rice Krispie Treats for added flavor and texture.
Peeps art contests are held every year at the Racine Museum of Art in Wisconsin.
Peeps are also used as a learning tool in schools for children of all ages to teach about science, math, and social studies.
My mom? She liked to get the fun shaped ones like the hearts or snowmen and float them in hot cocoa for me. She is kinda special like that, or goofy – however you want to look at it.
How do you make Peeps?
The Just Born company’s process of making PEEPS® is one of the secrets to its success! The main ingredients include sugar, water, corn syrup, artificial flavors (including lemon oil), natural colors including beta carotene and FD&C Red 40 Lake, soy lecithin (an emulsifier), and salt.
These ingredients are heated together until they form “peep-shaped” molds then filled with marshmallow cream which is made from corn syrup solids that have been whipped with egg whites, gelatin, sugar, and vanilla.
How do you make Peeps into a STEM Activity?
The process of making peeps is perfect for kids because it requires the use of chemistry skills like measuring liquids and melting marshmallow cream.
What chemical reactions happen while dissolving PEEPS®? What are some ways that this experiment could be used to teach science concepts such as density, solubility, etc.?
While they dissolve in water…sugar molecules break down releasing fructose & glucose sugars pushing out air bubbles from the cereal pieces; salt ions react with soy lecithin and egg whites to create a protein network that stabilizes the foam; water molecules seep into spaces between cereal pieces expanding them.
You can have your students predict which colors of peeps will dissolve first by guessing what order they think each color is most soluble in water. Take note of their predictions as you put each color in its own bowl or drinking glass.
Then, pour sugar mixed with salt over the top of one type at a time so that it completely covers the peep, wait for ten seconds before adding more until all are covered, then add enough warm water to cover everything and watch as PEEPS® start dissolving! Continue observing until none remain intact (or go on YouTube if you need help deciding when to stop).
The colors that dissolve first are the ones with a lot of sugar in them, like marshmallow bunnies! Then they go white and then brown. The pink peeps don’t dissolve at all because they have less sugar than yellow or chocolate ones!
You can also use this experiment to teach about density by having students guess which type of PEEPS® will float for the longest amount of time before it sinks. You might want your student to predict what order each color dissolves so you know who is correct when their predictions turn out to be right–or wrong.
This activity could also be used as an introduction to solubility concepts by observing how long certain types take to begin sinking after being poured onto water-covered ice cubes.
Who knew you could teach and learn so much from a traditional Easter Candy?
Now, let’s get to the actual experiment!
You are going to need a few things – like all good scientists do:
Critical Experiment Items :
- 6 cups water
- ½ cup sugar, divided
- ½ cup salt, divided
- 6 marshmallow peeps
- 6 cups
- A measuring cup set
- A stopwatch or time measurement device
- My Printable Worksheets (right below this)
Place 1 cup of water into three different cups. Into one cup, add ¼ cup sugar, stirring until it is dissolved. Into the second cup, add ¼ cup salt, stirring until dissolved.
Heat the remaining 3 cups of water until hot.
Place 1 cup of hot water into three different cups. Into one cup, add ¼ cup sugar, stirring until it is dissolved. Into the second cup, add ¼ cup salt, stirring until dissolved.
Place one marshmallow peep into each cup of water. Set a timer for 2 minutes.
When the timer goes off, check the peeps and make notes of which have changed.
Continue checking the marshmallow peeps every 2 to 5 minutes, making note of the changes.
Discuss which liquids caused the marshmallow peeps to dissolve faster/slower and why.
If desired, repeat the experiment using different room-temperature liquids such as vinegar, liquid dish soap, oil, soda pop, etc.