Pastick - Costache Science Fair Presentation

Report
Juliana Pastick, Adriana Costache
Phoenix 11
June 8th, 2011



To understand if different amounts of oil play a role in
the number of popcorn kernels that pop.
I hope to learn how much oil should be used for the
maximum number of popcorn kernels to pop.
Too much oil can lead to weight gain. Too little oil will
be a waste of money spent on the popcorn.

Information on independent variable (IV)
•
Cooking oil is typically a liquid at room temperature. Its specific heat capacity is low, which means that it
heats up fast. The boiling point of corn oil is very high (246º C), which is what makes it good for cooking
food quickly.

Information on dependent variable (DV)
•

Popcorn results when a corn kernel is heated, puffs up and “explodes” out of the hull.
Information on how IV and DV relate
•
When exposed to heat, the small amount of water in a popcorn kernel expands very quickly, causing the
kernel to burst. The kernels burst at different rates depending on their size and the amount of water in the
kernel. More heat should result in more kernels popped.

Identify control (if any)
•

None
Identify fixed variables
•
Number of popcorn kernels, type of oil, type of popcorn kernels
Since popcorns pop when they are
surrounded by hot oil, if the amount of oil
is increased, then the more popcorn
kernels will pop.

12 bags of popcorn (93g each)

200mL of Wesson canola oil

1 large pot with cover

1 stove top (or hot plate, if no stove)

1 100mL graduated cylinder
1.
Place large pot on stove.
2.
Add 5mL of oil to the large pot.
3.
Open popcorn bag and count 100 kernels.
4.
Pour the 100 kernels into the pot.
5.
Turn on stove and place cover on pot.
6.
Let popcorns pop for 10 minutes.
7.
Count number of popcorns that popped.
8.
Repeat steps 2-7 with 15mL and 30mL of oil.
9.
Repeat all steps another four times.
10.
Record data in data table.
The Effect of Different Amounts of Oil on the Number of Popcorn Kernels that Pop
Amount of Oil
(mL)
Average popped
kernels
Number of popped kernels
1
2
3
4
5
43
56
40
48
47
15
95
86
93
90
91
30
72
64
86
60
71
The Effect of Different Amoutns of Oil on the Number of
Popped Kernels
100
90
Average kernels popped
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
5
15
Amount of Oil (mL)
30

Quantitative Discrete data

Mean is represented as the measure of central
tendency

No consistent pattern

15mL of oil yielded the highest number of popped
kernels

Data partially supported the hypothesis

15mL was enough to coat every kernel lightly, enough
to make all pop.

10mL of oil not enough to coat all kernels.

30mL coated kernels too thickly, therefore needing
more heat to pop kernels. More heat means more time
needed for popping.

One source of error was not waiting long enough for
pan to cool down after doing a trial.

Wait for pan to cool down before running another trial.

Do more trials.

A large percentage of the US population is overweight.

Popcorn is a popular treat at the homes of consumers
and at movie theatres.

Knowing the best amount of oil to use will:
• Lower the amount of oil needed and therefore save
money.
• Prevent a popular treat from being unhealthy.

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