Key Concepts

For a liquid to dissolve a solid, the molecule of the liquid and solid must attract one another.The bond in between the oxygen and hydrogen atoms (O–H bond) in street (sucrose) offers the oxygen a slight an unfavorable charge and also the hydrogen a slight positive charge. Sucrose is a polar molecule.The polar water molecules tempt the negative and positive areas on the polar sucrose molecules which provides sucrose dissolve in water. A nonpolar substance like mineral oil does no dissolve a polar substance favor sucrose.

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Students will certainly observe the dissolve of the street coating from an M&M once it is placed in water. Students will certainly then assist design an experiment to view if the type of fluid the M&M is inserted in affects how much that the coating dissolves.


Students will have the ability to explain, ~ above the molecular level, exactly how the polar characteristics of water and also sugar connect so that water disappear sugar. College student will have the ability to identify and also control the variables in your experiment. Student will likewise be may be to define why a nonpolar liquid, such as mineral oil, is not an excellent at dissolving sugar.


Download the student task sheet, and distribute one per student once specified in the activity. The task sheet will certainly serve as the “Evaluate” component of each 5-E great plan.


Be certain you and also the students wear correctly fitting goggles. Isopropyl alcohol is flammable. Keep it far from flames or spark sources. Read and also follow all warnings on the label. Dispose of isopropil alcohol and also mineral oil according to local regulations. Warning studens not to eat the M&M’s.

Materials because that Each Group

M&M’sWaterMineral oilIsopropyl alcohol (70%)Small white plastic plate3 clear plastic cupsWhite paper

Have students ar an M&M in a cup that water and observe.

Question to Investigate

What wake up to the sugar and also color coating of one M&M as soon as it is inserted in water?


Clear plastic cupWaterM&MWhite paper


Pour enough room-temperature water right into clear plastic cup so that the water is deep sufficient to fully cover one M&M and also place this cup top top a item of white paper.

Once the water has settled, location 1 M&M in the facility of the cup. Be careful to keep the water and M&M together still as possible. Watch for about 1 minute.

Expected Results

The coating will dissolve from the M&M, revealing a white great under the color and then the brown coco underneath. The colored coating of the M&Ms will certainly collect in a one pattern approximately the M&M. Student may also mention the white streaks in the water native the sugar coating.

Discuss college student observations.

Ask students:

What carry out you notice about the M&M and also the water? The shade comes off and moves through the water in a one pattern. What perform you think is happening once the color and sugar come turn off the M&M? allude out come students that because the water provides the fancy coating come off the M&M and mix right into the water, the water is dissolving the sugar and color.

Note: There room actually two processes happening in this activity. The color and sugar space dissolving in the water yet they are likewise diffusing. In order to emphasis on the amount that dissolves from an M&M, students should look in ~ the quantity of coating absent from the M&M, instead of the dimension of the circle of shade in the water.

Knowing what you do about the polarity that water, why carry out you think water dissolves sugar?Students might think the sugar is do of ionic bonds like salt. Or they could think that sugar has positive and an unfavorable areas and this is why water is attractive to it.Explore

Have students conduct an experiment to compare exactly how well water, alcohol, and oil dissolve the sugar and also color coating of one M&M.

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Ask student to do a prediction:

Do you think water, alcohol, or oil would be much better at dissolve the sugar and also color coating of an M&M?

Discuss v students just how to architecture an experiment come compare exactly how well water, alcohol, and also vegetable oil dissolve the color and sugar coating native an M&M. Be sure students identify variables such as:

Amount the water, alcohol, and oil usedTemperature of every liquidSame color of M&MTime and location the M&M’s are placed in each fluid

Question to Investigate

Is water, alcohol, or oil better at dissolving the color and sugar coating indigenous an M&M?


3 M&Ms (same color)WaterMineral oilIsopropyl alcohol (70%)3 clean plastic cupsWhite paper


Label 3 cup Water, Alcohol, and also Oil. Add 15 mL the water, alcohol, and mineral oil to their labeled cups.Place the 3 cups ~ above a white sheet of paper.

At the same time, include 1 M&M to each liquid. Climate gently swirl the liquid and also M&M in every cup for around 30 seconds.


Expected Results

Water—The sugar and color dissolve from the M&M. Alcohol—The shade dissolves just slightly and the street coating doesn’t seem to dissolve.Oil—Neither the shade nor the street dissolves