Popcorn is a fun food with a long history!
Here are some of the things we’ve done and resources we’ve used to learn about popcorn. If you like creating your own learning adventures as much as we do, you may find the following information helpful.
- Find out how and where popcorn is grown and what type of corn used to make it.
- *Watch a video about the history of popcorn.
- Germinate popcorn seeds on a moist paper towel, inside a zip top bag. Grow your own popcorn plant.
- *Watch a video of how popcorn is made.
- Compare the volume of unpopped to popped popcorn.
- Use your senses to learn more about popcorn and enjoy it a few different ways.
- Tell popcorn related jokes and riddles.
*Note: Check the video section at the end of this post for a resource.
The following activities will require: 1 lb of popping corn, an ounce scale, 1 or more methods of popping corn kernels, a stopwatch, a way to record results (optional), measuring cups and spoons, bowls, cinnamon, milk, sugar or honey, spoon, nutritional yeast, olive oil, sea salt, an oil that can withstand high heat, extra virgin coconut oil, olive oil, herbs and spices of choice, and melted butter
Measurements & Volume
Measure out a tablespoon of unpopped popcorn and weigh it. Pop the kernels in a hot air popper, microwave, or in a covered pot with 1 tablespoon of a high temperature oil until the kernels stop popping.
Time the results with a stopwatch. We used two cooking methods and decided to find out which method popped first and fastest.
Weigh the popcorn to see if anything changed and talk about the results. Measure the fluffy kernels in a measuring cup to find out how much a small amount of unpopped kernels make.
Record your findings: In writing, as a drawing or on an audio/video device.
Note: We used: A hot air popper and the stove top method. We compared the results of both methods and talked about them. We had two clear containers and added one type of popped corn to each one to do a side by side comparison of the volume difference.
We used both methods for the following activities as well.
Popcorn is a very interactive food because it starts out so small and puffs up into something so much larger. Being aware of the the popping process by watching, listening and smelling gave us a lot of great information.
Our methods of cooking gave us different information too.
The hot air popper is quick and easy and delivers virtually flawless popcorn, but the unit gets really hot so caution is advised when using this method.
The stove-top method requires a lot more responsibility because you don’t want to burn yourself or the popcorn. Although, burnt popcorn comes with it’s own messy lesson too!
Watching, hearing and smelling the popcorn allowed us to hone our senses and the end results made a tasty treat. We compared how they both tasted and talked about that as well.
Once our popcorn was finished, we ate the fluffy kernels a few different ways
As A Cereal
Did you know that people once ate stale popcorn for breakfast?
We put some popcorn into a bowl with a little sugar or honey, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a little milk and gave it try.
Nutritional yeast is high in B vitamins and can be used as a topping for popcorn. It reminds me of Parmesan cheese. We spray our popcorn with extra virgin olive oil, add a little salt and nutritional yeast and mix to cover the kernels. This can be done in a covered container.
Cinnamon and Sugar
Cook popcorn in extra virgin coconut oil, and while it is hot, sprinkle it with a little cinnamon and powdered sugar and toss. A little melted butter can be drizzled on as well.
Herbs and Spices
Spray popcorn with a little olive oil, or a drizzle of melted butter, and add some of your favorite herbs and spices. Here are some of the things we use: Parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast, oregano, thyme, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, cumin, salt, etc..
We ended our project with a movie, but if you would like to do more, the following resources have been provided.
The history of popcorn, educational resources,
the science of popcorn, recipes and more.
Recipe for a popcorn cake.
Martha Stewart: Crunchy Caramel Corn
Joy of Baking: Caramel Corn Recipe with Video