Popping corn is a real treat for the kiddos when it comes to movie night or in our house any morning, noon, or night! If I can add a bit of popcorn science into the mix, why not? Popcorn is a great example of physical changes in matter including irreversible change. Get set to experiment with our easy microwave popcorn recipe, and find out why popcorn pops.  Let’s make popcorn!


Why does popcorn pop?  Find out the science of popcorn while making your own microwave popcorn in a bag.


Here are a few popcorn facts to start you off on the right pop!

Did you know…

  • Popcorn is made from a type of of corn kernel.  It is the only type of corn that can pop!
  • A kernel of popcorn has three parts: germ (the very middle), endosperm, and pericarp (hull).
  • There are several varieties of popcorn including sweet, dent, flint (Indian corn), and popcorn! Can you guess which one pops the best? Popcorn of course because it’s hull has just the right thickness for the magic (science) to work!


All three states of matter are included in this fun and especially edible popcorn science project. Explore liquids, solids, and gases with yummy popcorn.

Inside each kernel (solid) of popcorn is a small drop of water (liquid) that is stored within the soft starch. Each kernel needs the right combination of moisture content and heat from an external source like a microwave to produce the awesome popping sounds.

Steam (gas) builds up inside the kernel and eventually bursts the kernel when it becomes too much for the hull to hold. The soft starch spills out into the unique shape you get to see and taste!  That is why popcorn kernels pop!

ALSO CHECK OUT: Dancing Corn Experiment! Watch the video too!


Make sure to include the 5 senses when you put together this popcorn experiment! Ask the kiddos questions along the way. Making popcorn is a great way to explore the 5 senses.

  • Taste it!
  • Touch it!
  • Smell it!
  • Hear it!
  • See it!

ALSO CHECK OUT: 5 Senses Activities For Preschoolers

Here’s a couple of quick ways to take this popcorn science project from an activity to an experiment! Remember a science experiment tests a hypothesis and usually has a variable.

READ MORE: Scientific Method For Kids.

  • Will the same amount of kernels yield the same amount of popped corn each time? Make sure to use the same measurements, same brand, and same set up for each bag and run three separate trials to draw your results.
  • Which brand of popcorn pops the most kernels?
  • Does butter or oil make a difference? Pop the corn with and without butter to see! You will need to run several trials to gather enough data.  (More bags of popcorn to taste!)

What other kinds of popcorn science experiments can you think of?

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Make microwave popcorn in a bag and learn about the science of popcorn.  Why does popcorn pop?


This is a super simple recipe for making the best microwave popcorn!

Looking for easy to print Thanksgiving activities? 

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  • Popcorn kernels
  • Brown paper lunch bags
  • Optional: Salt and Butter

Ingredients to make the best microwave popcorn.


STEP 1. Open a brown paper bag and pour in 1/3 cup popcorn kernels.

measure 1/3 cup of popcorn
STEP 2. Fold the top of the bag down twice.

STEP 3. Place the popcorn in a bag in the microwave and cook on high for about 1 1/2 minutes.

Remove from the microwave when you hear the popping slow down so it doesn’t burn.  

STEP 5. Add melted butter and salt to your heart’s desire.

Be careful when you open the bag as the kernels might still be popping and may be very hot.

yummy popped kernels ready to eat

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Next, you will want to whip up some butter in a jar to go with your microwave popcorn!



Click on the link or on the image below for more fun edible science experiments for kids.

edible science experiments

Looking for easy to print Thanksgiving activities? 

We have you covered…

Click below for your FREE Thanksgiving Projects.