Key Concepts

For a fluid to dissolve a solid, the molecules of the liquid and also solid must tempt one another.The bond in between the oxygen and hydrogen atoms (O–H bond) in sugar (sucrose) provides the oxygen a slight an adverse charge and the hydrogen a slight optimistic charge. Sucrose is a polar molecule.The polar water molecules attract the an unfavorable and positive areas on the polar sucrose molecules which renders sucrose dissolve in water. A nonpolar substance like mineral oil does no dissolve a polar substance choose sucrose.

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Students will observe the dissolving of the street coating from an M&M when it is inserted in water. Students will certainly then aid design one experiment to see if the kind of liquid the M&M is put in affects how much of the coating dissolves.


Students will be able to explain, on the molecular level, just how the polar characteristics of water and also sugar connect so that water dissolves sugar. Students will have the ability to identify and control the variables in your experiment. College student will likewise be maybe to explain why a nonpolar liquid, such together mineral oil, is not an excellent at dissolve sugar.


Download the student activity sheet, and also distribute one per student once specified in the activity. The activity sheet will serve together the “Evaluate” component of every 5-E great plan.


Be sure you and the student wear properly fitting goggles. Isopropyl alcohol is flammable. Keep it away from flames or spark sources. Read and follow all warnings on the label. Dispose of isopropil alcohol and mineral oil follow to regional regulations. Warning studens no to eat the M&M’s.

Materials because that Each Group

M&M’sWaterMineral oilIsopropyl alcohol (70%)Small white plastic plate3 clean plastic cupsWhite paper

Have students location an M&M in a cup that water and observe.

Question come Investigate

What happens to the sugar and color coating of one M&M when it is inserted in water?


Clear plastic cupWaterM&MWhite paper


Pour sufficient room-temperature water into clear plastic cup so the the water is deep sufficient to completely cover an M&M and also place this cup top top a piece of white paper.

Once the water has actually settled, place 1 M&M in the facility of the cup. Be cautious to keep the water and also M&M together still together possible. Watch for about 1 minute.

Expected Results

The coating will certainly dissolve from the M&M, revealing a white layer under the color and then the brown chocolate underneath. The colored coating that the M&Ms will certainly collect in a circular pattern around the M&M. Students may also mention the white streaks in the water native the street coating.

Discuss college student observations.

Ask students:

What carry out you an alert about the M&M and also the water? The color comes off and also moves through the water in a one pattern. What execute you think is happening as soon as the color and sugar come turn off the M&M? suggest out to students that due to the fact that the water renders the fancy coating come turn off the M&M and mix into the water, the water is dissolving the sugar and color.

Note: There are actually two processes happening in this activity. The color and also sugar are dissolving in the water but they are likewise diffusing. In stimulate to emphasis on the amount the dissolves from an M&M, students should look at the lot of coating lacking from the M&M, instead of the dimension of the circle of shade in the water.

Knowing what friend do around the polarity that water, why do you think water disappear sugar?Students might think the sugar is make of ionic bonds choose salt. Or they could think the sugar has actually positive and an adverse areas and this is why water is attracted to it.Explore

Have students conduct an experiment come compare how well water, alcohol, and oil dissolve the sugar and also color coating of an M&M.

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Ask student to do a prediction:

Do you think water, alcohol, or oil would certainly be better at dissolving the sugar and also color coating of an M&M?

Discuss v students just how to design an experiment to compare exactly how well water, alcohol, and also vegetable oil dissolve the color and also sugar coating native an M&M. Be sure students recognize variables together as:

Amount of water, alcohol, and also oil usedTemperature of each liquidSame color of M&MTime and location the M&M’s are inserted in each liquid

Question to Investigate

Is water, alcohol, or oil better at dissolve the color and also sugar coating indigenous an M&M?


3 M&Ms (same color)WaterMineral oilIsopropyl alcohol (70%)3 clear plastic cupsWhite paper


Label 3 cups Water, Alcohol, and Oil. Add 15 mL that water, alcohol, and also mineral oil to your labeled cups.Place the three cups ~ above a white paper of paper.

At the same time, include 1 M&M to every liquid. Climate gently swirl the liquid and M&M in every cup for around 30 seconds.


Expected Results

Water—The sugar and also color dissolve indigenous the M&M. Alcohol—The color dissolves just slightly and also the sugar coating doesn’t seem come dissolve.Oil—Neither the color nor the sugar dissolves