Project 3 – Let’s Compare Microwave vs. Pan Stove Popping

What you will need:

  • 7 bags microwave popcorn
  • 1 quart measuring cup
  • 1 medium saucepan with lid
  • 1 cookie sheet

Here’s what you do:

  1. Draw out a data chart to record final results. Your control variables will be Microwave samples 1,2, &3 and Stovetop samples 1,2, &3. Your results will include Volume, Number of unpopped kernels, and texture.
  2. Preheat microwave oven by placing a cup of water inside oven and heating it for 1 minute. Remove the cup of water carefully before popping popcorn.
  3. Take one bag of microwave popcorn and place in microwave oven. Set microwave on high (full power) for 5 minutes. Listen carefully and stop microwave oven when rapid popping slows to 2 to 3 seconds between pops. Note popping time and set time accordingly for next bags.
  4. Set aside 3 of the 6 remaining microwave popcorn bags. Place one of the bags in the microwave. Set accordingly (based on the “test” bag you just popped). After the popcorn has stopped popping, remove bag carefully from microwave. Open bag and pour popcorn into measuring cups and measure for volume. Next, pour popcorn on a cookie sheet and separate popped corn from unpopped kernels on your data chart.
  5. Repeat step 4 with the remaining 2 bags of popcorn and record the results for each batch. Notice the texture of the popcorn.
  6. Cut open 1 microwave bag from the remaining 3 bags of popcorn and pour the contents into the medium saucepan. Turn the burner on high and place the saucepan with the lid on the burner. Shake pan back and forth across burner to prevent the corn from burning. After the popcorn stops popping, pour the contents into measuring cup and measure for volume. Next, pour the popcorn on a cookie sheet and separate the popped corn from the unpopped kernels. Record all results.
  7. Repeat step 6 with the remaining 2 bags of popcorn and record the results for each batch.
  8. Compare results with the popcorn you popped in the microwave.

Now What Have We Learned?

  • Which cooking method popped the highest volume?
  • Which cooking method produced a greater number of unpopped kernels?
  • How do the textures compare between the two popping methods?




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