Advantages: Quick, relatively cheap, relatively easy, and you can bribe kids with eating the popcorn AFTER the project is done.
Disadvantages: Most lack creativity. The best option is always to design your own, but here are a few ideas to inspire you.
Let’s start with variables – what are the “things” we can change when it comes to popping popcorn?
• Brand Name vs. Generic
• Brand Names (ranked by price per bag)
• Butter Content
• How they are popped: microwave, stovetop, or air popper
• Surface they are popped on
• Size of bag/amount of kernels
• Age of kernels
• Storage temperature for kernels
• Storage conditions (e.g. airtight vs. open air)
• Time for popping
Now let’s think about what we can measure as a QUANTITATIVE outcome (i.e. it has to result in a number):
• Total number of kernels popped/un-popped
• Percentage of kernels that popped (or not)
• Volume of popcorn produced
• Weight of popcorn produced
• Maximum size of individual popped corn
• Average size of popped corn
Once you have identified potential variables – start putting them together for interesting questions. Warning – as tempting as it is – stay away from using “taste” because it is a qualitative and subjective variable.
Here are some examples:
Question: How does the storage temperature affect percentage of kernels that pop?
Question: Do expensive brands yield more popcorn?
Question: Does butter content affect average size of popped corn?
Remember you must, must, must replicate, replicate, replicate! You will need to repeat whatever you do at least 3 times, but that’s no problem – it just means more popcorn to eat later.