The Popcorn Experiment

Skye McDonald-George

Project Plan and Problem Statement

In this project I will be testing whether or not popcorn yields a higher percentage of popped kernels when frozen. This is relevant because most people would like to get the best value out of items they purchased and this may demonstrate one way to do that. I will be freezing multiple bags of popcorn and then popping both frozen and unfrozen bags in the microwave. Finally I will count the popped and unpopped kernels to determine the percentages for both variables and if there is a difference.

Literature Review

Through my research I did not find any other experiments like my own. I did, however, find two other popcorn experiments that helped me decide on my experimental plan.

In both articles, the experimenters were trying to decide which brand of popcorn produced the lowest yield of unpopped popcorn. The Popcorn and College Students describes any broken kernel as popped and any intact kernels as unpopped (Saum, DeLap, Skinner, & Galli, 2003). Tammie Mason’s experiment however gives much more concise direction and describes the mathematics she used to obtain the data (Mason, 2011). Both experiments use the method of counting the kernels to determine a percentage (Mason, 2011) (Saum, DeLap, Skinner, & Galli, 2003). This is the method I will use for my experiment.

Experimental Design Steps

1. Place 3 bags of popcorn in freezer.

2. Leave bags of popcorn in freezer 24 hours to insure they are thoroughly frozen.

3. Place bag 1 of room temperature popcorn in microwave.

4. Microwave for one minute and 45 seconds.

5. Remove bag from microwave.

6. Separate popped kernels from unpopped kernels into separate containers.

7. Count popped popcorn.

8. Count unpopped kernels.

9. Add results together to get a total number of kernels.

10. Divide unpopped kernels by total number of kernels to get percentage.

11. Repeat steps 3-10 for second and third bag of room temperature popcorn.

References: Mason, T. (2011, January 3). Which Microwave Popcorn Gives You the Most Pop for Your Buck? Retrieved December 7, 2011, from Yahoo Voices: http://voices.yahoo.com/which-microwave-popcorn-gives-most-pop-your-7479224.html Saum, J., DeLap, K., Skinner, K., & Galli, B. (2003, January 12). Popcorn and College Students. Retrieved December 7, 2011, from Jr Science: http://jrscience.wcp.muohio.edu/nsfall01/FinalArticles/PopcornandCollegeStudents.html