After visiting the farm and checking out their popcorn, fourth grade students used some of their own crop of popcorn to run some experiments.
In teams, their jobs were to determine a few things about what makes a good batch of popped corn. One of their teachers, Nancy Bladyka, baked some of the kernels in a 200 degree F. oven for 90 minutes. She soaked another batch in water overnight. She used popcorn from two storage areas: the fourth grade classroom at Westminster and the unheated greenhouse at Harlow Farm.
Students were asked to estimate how many kernels out of 100 would pop under each of the six conditions. If we were to run this experiment again, we would narrow down our list of variables. For now though, this is an example of how the class estimate fell out: (N:nothing S:soaked and B:baked)
When the estimates were recorded and the three types of popcorn from two locations were popped, students viewed the results. A lot of good discussion ensued.
What could we generalize from our results? The untreated popcorn stored at Harlow Farm’s unheated greenhouse over the winter popped the best. Soaking and baking also affected the quality of the popped corn as you can see in the pictures. In the near future, we’ll be doing a blind test of three different popcorns: Orville Redenbacher, Newman’s Own and Westminster School’s Own! We’ll let you know the results!