Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Twelve Days of Science: Day 3 Sugar Molecules!

On the 3rd day of Christmas Science, my mommy shared with me....

The Chemistry of Holiday Sweets!

Sugar plays a big role in the chemistry of the holidays. Cookies, candies, cocoa, even savory dishes and vegetables will contain various amounts of sugar. Consisting primarily of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen, these little guys can bond quickly with their neighbors, becoming quite the life of the party

In addition to creating sweet delights, they are also essential for providing energy for plants and animals! It is used by plants in the process of photosynthesis. For us animals it is crucial for fueling our bodies, our brain, and our organs!

For our third day of Christmas Science explorations, we took a closer look at the Carbon, Oxygen, and Hydrogen compounds that make up sugar molecules. Then we decided to make some of our own!


Materials Needed: 

1. Spice Drops
2. Toothpicks
3. Images of Sugar Molecules (we used Google Images)

1. Do a Google Image search for sugar molecules. Some fun ones to play with are Sucrose, Fructose, Glycolaldehyde, and Glucose. As you look at the resulting images, pay attention to what they're made of. You should see some familiar names (Hydrogen, Carbon Oxygen)!

2. Pick out various colors of spice drops to represent different atoms in the sugar compound.

3. Make your sugar molecules! Once you're done admiring your molecular handiwork, treat yourself to something sweet. You'll no doubt have a new appreciation of what it's made of!


Here are some other "molecuties" we've made in the past. After you're done making your sweet treat molecules, let your creativity shine and make some of these!

Here we have a water molecule mouse and rabbit,
and a propanol caterpillar!

Here you can find a detailed explanation of atoms and the way they connect to make molecules like these, as well as some chemistry experiments you can do at home!

You can also make your own large sugar crystals in the form of rock candy! All you need is sugar, water, yarn, and a stick! Learn how to make it here!

Finally, take a look at sugar under the microscope! It's beautiful crystal structure can lend itself to some gorgeous geometric shapes!

Granulated sugar found in a jar of candy sprinkles!

Happy Holidays!

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