Popcorn Science Experiment for 1st Grade

Popcorn! Everyone loves popcorn! It’s enjoyed at the movies, parties, even watching T.V on your couch. Popcorn has been enjoyed for centuries. In fact it is believed that corn have been growing domestically for over 9,000 years!

What’s the best way to pop popcorn to get the biggest pop? You will find out with this popcorn science experiment for 1st grade. This fun and easy experiment for little ones and is perfect for the school’s science fair.

Your 1st grade class will be excited to find out the best way to get the biggest popcorn pops. They can also participate by eating the popcorn after the fair.

What is popcorn?

Popcorn is made from a special type of corn called popping corn.  The secret to popping corn is the water in the kernel.

Inside each popping corn kernel there is a drop of water added a hard shell called a hull. As the popcorn gets heated, the water turns to steam causing pressure to built up inside the kernel.

Eventually all the pressure causes the kernel to pop!  So, what is the best way to get the best pops from your popcorn?  Try this fun experiment below to find out

Scientific Method

In this experiment, you will be following the scientific method:

  • Ask a question
  • Formulate a hypothesis
  • Conduct the experiment
  • Gather date/research
  • Conclusion/results

It’s important to note that you will be using a stove in the experiments below. Remember adult supervision is required when using a stove.


Which is the best way to pop popcorn to get the biggest pops? Does wet or dry popcorn work best?


In this experiment you will be testing un-popped popcorn three ways to find out which way is the best way to pop your popcorn.

1st you will dry out the popcorn kernels

2nd you will place popcorn kernels in a bowl of water

3rd you will store in a plastic Zip-loc bag a make no changes.

You will also find out if wet popcorn kernels or dry popcorn kernels work best.

What do you think will be the best way to pop your popcorn?


  • 1 1/2 cups of un-popped popcorn (do not use microwave popcorn pops)
  • cookie sheet
  • bowl
  • plastic zip-loc bag
  • colander/strainer
  • frying pan
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water


Pre-Heat oven for 200

Step 1:

Pour 1/2 cup of the un-popped popcorn on the cookie tray.  Let cook in the oven at 200 for 1 hour.

Step 2:

Pour 1 cup of water into a bowl.  Pour 1/2 cup of the un-popped popcorn in the bowl for 1 hour.  After 1 hour use a strainer/colander to drain the popcorn.

Step 3:

Pour 1/2 cup of the un-popped popcorn in a plastic Zip-loc bag for 1hour

Step 4:

After 1 hour all your popcorn is ready to be cooked.  Cook the three batches of popcorn separately (recipe below).

Step 5:

Watch and record results.

Popcorn Popping Recipe

Use this recipe to get your popcorn pops

Ingredients: 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 1/2 cup un-popped popcorn, frying pan, 3 bowls

Step 1:

Place frying pan over medium heat for two minutes.

Step 2:

Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the frying pan.

Step 3:

Pour 1/2 cup un-popped popped corn in the frying pan, cover loosely with lid.

Step 4:

When the popcorn starts to pop lift pan about 1 inch from burner and move back and forth.  Do this until you do not hear anymore popcorn popping.  It should take about 3 minutes.

Step 5:

remove lid slowly. Pour popcorn in a bowl and let cool. Mark the bowl with which type of popcorn you used (dried in oven, water or ziplock bag)

Step 6:

Repeat this for the other two batches of popcorn.

While your popcorn is cooking, take pictures and write down what is happening. This is how you can record the data for the experiment.


Which way did you get the biggest popcorn kernels?  Which one was the smallest?  

The popcorn that was sitting in the water should have made the biggest popcorn. Why?

This is because soaking the popcorn kernel in the water gave it extra water. The more water inside the kernel, the more steam is created while cooking causing the popcorn to pop better.  

The popcorn the was placed in the oven should have produced the smallest popcorn.  This is because the popcorn was dried out and lost most of it’s moisture.  

The popcorn left in the Zip-loc bag should be average size and amount because it was not dried and no water was added to it.


We hope you enjoyed this popcorn science experiment! Did you have the same results? Did you do this experiment at your school’s science fair? lets us know at kidsplayandcreate@gmail.com