Why does popcorn pop? What makes the fall leaves turn all beautiful colors? Who invented the first cake?
These totally unrelated questions are a teeny sample of the kinds of crazy questions that, ah-hem, pop into my head from time to time. These momentary question marks hang around for a second or two before I’m distracted by the cacophony that is my home. So I seldom get to answering these, admittedly arbitrary, questions.
But… when I discovered that October is officially ‘Popcorn Popping Month’ I figured it was a great excuse to indulge at least one of my crazy musings!
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So…Cue: Mr Google!
According to Mr G, the answer is really simple. Popcorn kernels each contain a tiny particle of water. When the kernels are heated the water inside also heats up, causing enough pressure to burst the kernel open making its insides its outsides! Voila! Fluffy, puffy white clouds of yumminess!
So there we go, moms: kick start your celebrations of Popcorn Popping Month with that fun fact and add these ones too:
- The tradition of decorating Christmas trees with stringed popcorns comes from a time when trees were decorated outside to feed the birds during the lean winter months. They would string berries and nuts as well as popcorn.
- Apparently, more popcorn is sold during the showing of scary movies.
- In the 1920′s popcorn was banned at most movie theaters because it was considered too noisy!
- In 1945, when Percy Spencer discovered that popcorn, when placed under microwave energy, popped, he started experiments that led to the heating of other foods and eventually the making of the microwave oven.
Keen for more popcorn-related teaching opportunities? How about…
Popcorn crafts While I’m more of a “pop ‘em on the stove top” kinda gal, I’ll tip my hat to ACT II for these great crafts. Popcorn sheep anyone?
Science Experiments Find out why it is that sometimes the bag is filled with an over-abundance of unpopped kernels, or why it sometimes burns no matter that we’ve done nothing different (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)
Math lessons: Popcorn makes for a fun and edible manipulative, that’s for sure! Popcorn.org has loads of great teaching ideas for parents, teachers and kids. And that includes sciences, arts, music, literature, business and more.
Do you have any fun popcorn activity ideas? Let us know!
Taryn Hayes calls Cape Town, South Africa her home, but she also has a soft spot for Menominee, Michigan where she spent a wonderful year in 1995 as a Rotary Youth Exchange student. Her husband, Craig, whom she met in high school, and their four crazy kids feature regularly over at their family blog, Hazy Days. Taryn is also the author of the youth novel, Seekers of the Lost Boy, about a 12-year-old homeschooled boy and his family. They end up on an incredible adventure after finding a mysterious message in a bottle, washed up on the beach one morning.