There are a lot of experiments you can try using popcorn. First, you need to figure out what you want to compare and what you can measure. For example:
Variables: What is it that you want to compare?
- White vs. yellow
- Flavor vs. plain
- Methods of popping: microwave, stovetop, or air popper
- Size/amount of kernels
- Storage temperature for kernels
- Storage conditions (moisture, dryness) for kernels
- Popping time
Outcome: What is it you actually want to find out? What is it you can measure?
- Total number of kernels popped or unpopped
- Percentage of popped kernels
- Volume of popcorn produced
- Weight of popcorn produced
- Average size of popped corn
- Time it takes to pop popcorn
Once you have decided what you want to look at, start thinking of questions you can ask and hopefully answer. For example:
- How does moisture effect popability?
- Which brand of microwave popcorn pops fastest?
- Which brand leaves the most unpopped kernels?
Avoid questions like “Which brand tastes best” because it is a subjective question and difficult to measure.
Make sure you replicate your experiment. It’s important to repeat your test at least three times. That means, if you’re comparing microwave popcorn for number of unpopped kernels, you need to test 3 of the same type of bag per brand. Sure, that’s a lot of popcorn, but that just means you get to eat a lot of popcorn. Be smart: plan ahead and conduct your experiment over several nights.