Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

N.C. Science Festival: Mush-A-Mallow experiment

Posted April 14, 2016

The N.C. Science Festival, which runs through April 24, offers activities all over the state at parks, museums and other venues ... along with some that you can do even after the festival ends.

This year, as part of the festival's celebration of the state park system's 100th anniversary, the festival has a variety of Science in the Great Outdoors activities that you can do while camping, hiking or hanging out at home. Many, as you might imagine, include marshmallows!

Since we didn't have a campfire at the house, we attempted one kitchen science experiment called Mush-A-Mallow. All you need is two marshmallows, a cup and water.

Here's how you do it: First, gently drop one of the marshmallows in the cup of water and find out what happens. Does it float? Does it sink?

Then, squeeze the air out of the other marshmallow. After many attempts, we found the easiest way was to sprinkle a little cornstarch on the table or board and roll the marshmallow with a rolling pin until it's very flat. Then, drop that in the water and see what happens. Does it float or sink?

The Science Festival's site shares this background about the science behind this activity:

Objects float when their density is less than the density of the liquid into which they’re placed. Density is the ratio between the mass of an object and its volume. When you squeeze the marshmallow (forcing all the air out) you increase the density of the marshmallow and it sinks. There’s so much air in a marshmallow you shouldn’t feel guilty about eating another!

It took some tries to get our marshmallow to sink, but once it did, it was pretty exciting! And, sure, we may have eaten a few too. Watch the video (note our surprise when it finally dropped to the bottom!), try it had home and check out the other activities on the festival's website.


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