I tried to think of the most harmless thing. Something I loved from my childhood. Something that could never ever possibly destroy us. --Dr. Ray Stantz
As the ladies in my office watched me devour one marshmallow man (or woman) after another, I had an idea—more like a flashback, a sugar induced flashback.
It was Easter, 1985. Exhausted from spending the better part of my morning searching for hard boiled eggs, I dug into my Easter basket and pulled out a Peep…and then I ate him. Later that day, my family gathered around our microwave and watched the Peep expand and change shape. In my short 4 years of life, it was literally the coolest thing I had ever seen.
“Again” I shouted!
It is a tradition that has lived on. I can’t wait to teach my nephew how to microwave a Peep. Until that time, this is an activity that you can do at home while learning about how microwaves work! Ohhhh ahhhhh. I would be remiss if I didn’t display a bit of Caution
ctivity should be done with adult supervision. The contents in the microwave oven get very hot. VERY HOT. Please let the marshmallow cool before touching or eating. It’s also a good idea at this moment to instill the idea in your chil
d that they ALWAYS need supervision and permission to use any of the kitchen appliances. You just made a teachable moment even more teachable!
What you need:
What to do:
Before doing anything, ask your child a few questions. What do you think is going to happen?Why? This helps them form a hypothesis (an important part of the scientific method).
Once you have some idea’s as to what is going to happen, place one or two marshmallows on a plate. Place inside the microwave for 30 seconds. Watch and document what happens. Some great questions to ask are: why do you think it’s getting bigger? What do you think is inside?
This is also a great time to experiment further. What do you think will happen if we put the marshmallow in for 45 seconds? A minute? Test these theories until your house smells like a toasted marshmallow!
So what exactly is happening? Microwave ovens are a unique appliance. Inside, microwaves swing back and forth at a frequency of about 2 billion cycles per second. While they are doing this, they are making the water molecules dance! Well not so much dance as move. As they move faster, the molecules get hot and then hotter. The heat from the molecules causes the food to heat up. Now when things heat up, they expand. As the marshmallow heats up, it too expands.
Take your hands and rub them together. As your hands move faster and faster, you can feel the heat. This is like what is happening inside your food. As the molecules move faster and faster, they are creating heat. Yay Microwave ovens!