People have been chewing various forms of gum to clean their teeth and freshen their breath for thousands of years. Today's gooey, pink variety is very different from the plant resins and tars chewed by Ancient Greeks, but it is still an interesting subject for scientific study.
Several variables, including flavor and bubble size, can be the subject of bubble gum science experiments. Use the scientific method to create, conduct and record the results of your experiment. First, establish a hypothesis that you can test. For example, test whether the flavor of Gum A will last longer than the flavor of Gum B. Then, observe an experiment and gather data. In the flavor example, chew different types of gum and record the time at which the flavor runs out. Analyze your data and determine whether you should reject or accept your hypothesis before forming your conclusion.
Experiment with bubble size by measuring the bubbles you are able to blow with several different types of gum. Use string to measure each bubble's diameter and record your results. Take an average of several bubble measurements for each type of gum to ensure accuracy. Then, test whether the stretching ability of gum affects bubble size. Measure the distance each type of gum can be stretched; hold chewed gum with wax paper to avoid germs. Use the results from the bubble size experiment to analyze your data. Then, determine which brand of gum has the strongest bubbles by subjecting them to different kinds of force.
Bubble Gum Brainpower
Get your entire class to work together to test if chewing bubble gum increases focus. Have students take timed basic math and memory tests once as a control and once while they are chewing gum. Analyze individual's scores to determine trends if scores were influenced by gum chewing. An experiment like this can be difficult to control. In order to isolate the variable being tested (the effect of gum-chewing on score), keep other variables constant; have participating students take tests at the same time and keep the skill level required for the tests the same.
Analyze the Sweetness
Hypothesize which brand of gum has the highest content of sugar or sweetener, and test your hypothesis with the following experiment. Determine the mass of one piece of each type of gum you are testing before chewing any of it. As you chew each piece, the sugar or sweetener will dissolve and be swallowed. Stop chewing each piece once the flavor is gone and set in a small dish to dry. Determine the mass of the gum once it has dried and compare with your previous measurements to find the sugar content of each piece.
- BBC: Student Dig Unearths Ancient Gum
- Minnesota Science Teachers Education Project: Scientific Method Lab Using Bubble Gum
- Education.com: Which Bubblegum Brand Produces the Biggest Bubbles
- science-fair-coach.com: Sticky Business: Ideas for bubblegum-themed science fair projects
- Teach Engineering: How Much Sugar is in Bubble Gum?
About the Author
Sarah Cairoli began her writing career in 2002, as a reporter for the "High Country Independent Press" in Belgrade, Mont. She then spent two years writing and editing for an online publishing company, and earned her master's degree in English from Northern Arizona University. Cairoli also writes for "Bozeman Magazine."
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