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Candy Science – Floating Letters

Delicious hands-on science that melts in your mouth, and dissolves in water.

M&Ms have the slogan of melting in your mouth, but not in your hands. You wanna know something cool? The special melting property is totally scientific. Certain parts of an M&M will dissolve in water, while others won't. The results are an amazing phenomenon that we call Floating Letters.

Experiment Materials

  • M&M candies
  • Clear glass or bowl
  • Water

Experiment

  1. Fill a clear glass or bowl half-full with water.
  2. Drop a few M&M’s into the water.
  3. Allow the M&M’s to soak in the water for 10-20 minutes.
  4. As the M&Ms sit in the water, you will witness the colored dyes start to dissolve into the water. After a bit more time passes, you will see a translucent shell, along with the white “M” float to the surface of the water. Cool!

Want to try different colors? Try doing the experiment with Skittles candies!

How Does It Work?

Don't worry, M&Ms are still the same delicious treat that you've always eaten. However, certain parts of the hard candy aren't soluble in water and some are water-soluble. After a short time of soaking in the water, you begin to see the colored dyes from the M&Ms dissolve and mix together in the bowl. This lets you know that the dyes are, in fact, water soluble. However, the translucent shell and white “M” are not water soluble. That's why, after 10-20 minutes, you witness this hardshell and “M” float in the water without break apart.