STEM Skills Presented:
Science: Kids will explore the design and construction of a jelly bean rainbow through individual (or collaborative) use of skills in the scientific method: observing, communicating, comparing, organizing, and relating.
Technology: Kids will use digital cameras to photograph a sequence of events and for documentation of learning.
Engineering: Kids will exhibit simple attempts at design and construction.
Math: Kids will explore patterns, patterning, colors, lines, and elapsed time through the jelly bean activity.
Jelly Bean STEM Rainbow activity
Jelly Bean FUN FACTS for Parents and Kids:
Jelly beans are thought to have been invented by William Schrafft, a Boston candy maker. Schrafft is believed to have encouraged families to send his jelly beans to soldiers during the Civil War. By the 19th century, jelly beans were a common household name. Jelly beans were the first candy sold by weight instead of by the piece in the United States.
STEM Investigation: Engineering a Jelly Bean Rainbow
Prior to the activity, set the stage for the inquiry by discussing the following questions and inviting kids to make a prediction:
- Which liquid, water or vinegar, will dissolve the jelly bean colors faster?
- Do you think the jelly bean colors will dissolve at different rates?
- One standard bag of jelly beans (any brand)
- Two foam or paper plates
- Two cups (to hold water and vinegar)
- 1 c. water and 1 c. vinegar
- Stopwatch or timer
- One printable recording sheet for documentation of learning
- Pencil or Marker
- Invite kids to arrange the jelly beans in a color pattern around the edge of a paper plate (kids can use ALL colors in the bag to pattern with or choose only 2-3 jelly bean colors if desired).
- After the jelly beans are arranged (this is a great fine motor activity for younger kids), choose one of the liquids to begin. Pour the liquid slowly onto the center of the paper plate and observe closely as the liquid disperses.
- Start the timer as soon as all the liquid is poured onto the paper plate.
- Invite kids to photograph the jelly beans as the colors begin to dissolve and throughout the remainder of the exploration.
- As soon as all the colors meet in the center of the paper plate, stop the timer.
- Do the experiment by repeating the steps above with the second liquid – invite kids to note any differences they see between the two experiments.
- What did you observe during the experiment? Kids can look at the photos they took to explain verbally.
- Did one color of jelly bean dissolve faster than the others?
- Was your prediction correct?
- Did you like the experiment?
- What would you do differently if you could do the experiment again.