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Popcorn Experiment

Popcorn Experiment Experiment performed on 8/26/11 Biology 101 Introduction: “The oldest popcorn ever found was discovered in the “Bat Cave” of central New Mexico. Archaeologists found 80,000-year-old corn pollen below Mexico City”. “The popcorn was thougt to be about 5,600 years old”. (www. factmonster. com/spot/popcorn1. html) This particular pollen is almost identical to today’s popcorn pollen. Researchers came up with the theory that popcorn could have been a Stone Age snack for “cave people”. There were other locations where popcorn was also discovered.

In Peru archaeologist found kernels that were so well preserved that they could still pop. In Utah researchers found popcorn that was thought to be about 1,000 years old. Popcorn has improved for consumption over thousands of years. Currently microwavable popcorn is the most common way people make popcorn. The lab team has been hired by consumer reports magazine to help determine which brand of microwave popcorn is the “best”. Two different brands will be compared out of the many. These two brands of popcorn are Pop Secret and Pop Weaver.

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Pop Secret is a better brand of microwave popcorn, because it has been around longer, and it is a better known brand with a good reputation. Materials: 1 bag of pop secret 1 bag of pop weaver Ruler Four paper towels Methods: 1. In this experiment two types of popcorn were obtained. (Pop Secret and Pop Weaver) 2. A criteria was then made to determine which properties would be examined, and how a scale would be developed for grading each property. a) Size of the pieces from each brand averaged in Cm. b) Number of un-popped pieces. c) Size of butter spots averaged in Cm. . Both packages of popcorn were popped for same amount of time, both in a microwave and packages were also the same size. 4. Obtained four pieces of paper towel. Two were written with PW for pop weaver and the other two were written PS for pop secret. 5. Each brand of popcorn PW and PS was poured onto one of the paper towels each matching the labels. 6. The popcorn was separated into 10 pieces of each brand and measured with a ruler. 7. After measurements were gathered they were averaged together. 8. All the un-popped kernels for both brands were then counted and recorded. 9.

Both brands were then transferred to the other two paper towels with the correct labels PW and PS. 10. All butter spots were measured with a ruler and averaged together. Results: As shown in table one both brands of popcorn are close in their ratings. Pop Weaver had the larger size kernels of 2. 9 cm, when compared to Pop Secret with a kernel size 2. 8cm. Even though Pop Weaver was the larger brand, both brands were rated the same with an 8. Pop weaver had the highest number of un-popped kernels at 39, whereas, Pop Secret had significantly fewer un-popped kernels at 20.

Pop Weaver was only rated a 4 compared to Pop Secret being rated a 7. Pop Weaver had more butter spots measuring in size when compared with Pop Secret at making Pop Weaver the more buttery popcorn of the two. Pop Weaver was rated an 8 where Pop Secret was rated a 7. When totaling the ratings of the table Pop Secret still shows a higher rating of 22 due to its ability to pop more kernels then Pop Weaver. Discussion: Even though the ratings are extremely close Pop Secret still came out with a higher rating. Pop Secret did not score higher in the size of the popped kernel, or in how much butter was on it, Pop Weaver did.

The one thing that tends to be noticeable when purchasing popcorn people prefer more butter, or prefer to have a popcorn that most kernels pop. This is the area where Pop Secret proved to be better. Anyone can do simple math and see that 39 un-popped kernels is significantly more than the 20 un-popped kernels that were left from Pop Secret. “Popcorn kernels contain about 14 percent moisture”. If the popcorn is much drier, it will not pop. (www. factmonster. com/spot/popcorn1. html) So maybe, just maybe Pop Weaver’s popcorn is just to dry.

Major popcorn producers higher a team of scientists to pollinate its hybrid corn by hand. These are done to try and improve the popcorn product. (http://www. madehow. com/Volume-5/Popcorn. html) Pop Secret is a better brand of microwave popcorn, because it has been around longer, and it is a better known brand with a good reputation. This does not support the original hypothesis due to the fact that Pop Secret has been around since 1984, whereas, the original owner of Pop Weaver would sell popcorn out of a single horse drawn wagon dating back 80 years ago. References: www. dow. om/scripts/litorder. asp? filepath=/010-93102. pdf&pdf=true (www. factmonster. com/spot/popcorn1. html) (http://www. madehow. com/Volume-5/Popcorn. html) Results: Table 1. Ratings of both popcorn characteristics: Brand| Average size cm| Number of un-popped kernels| Butter spot size| Total Rating| Pop Secret| 2. 8cm| 20 | cm| 22 | Ratings:| PW 8 PS 8| PW 4 PS 7| PW 8 PS 7| | Pop Weaver| 2. 9cm| 39| cm| 20|


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