Sculptures with Popcorn

Sculptures with Popcorn

Short description
Full description
Short description

Sculptures with Popcorn

Type of resource:  Digital Book / Toutuve video

Web address -

Language: English


This activity is particularly recommended for very young children, since it involves different sense and includes activated aimed at introducing sounds an words, before moving into the Science Activity.

Scientific concept introduced

Building: observing and imagining new shapes

Creative and critical thinking

Critical Thinking:
- Observing

Creative Thinking:
- Imagining

Mathematical reasoning


Scientific thinking

- Questioning
- Observation
- Prediction
- Analysing
- Drawing conclusions

Learning how to learn

- Building positive self-image in learning
- Self-discipline and self-regulated learning

- Motivation to learn and engage


- Following instructions
- Oral language
- Fine motor skills
- Taking common decisions
- Sharing ideas - negotiating meanings
- Following safety rules

Full description

Sculptures with Popcorn

Overall aims

  • This activity is particularly recommended for very young children, since it involves different sense and includes activated aimed at introducing sounds an words, before moving into the Science Activity.
  • The first activity also involves role-play by children who sing the song “I’m a Little Popcorn”.
  • The Science Activity involves both observation of the process of transformation of food and imagination, in order to design and build the sculpture.

Vocabulary - keywords should be understood

Flavored gelatin, microwave-safe, oven mitts, sculpture.

Expected learning outcomes (operational aims)

The children will be able to:
- learn new vocabulary
- observe the transformation of the popcorn;
- design and produce a sculpture;
- play and manipulate food in order to produce the sculpture.

STEM skills - to which the learning unit is related to


Observing and making predictions
Asking questions
Drawing conclusions


Hand-eye coordination
Fine-motor skills
Oral Language
Group work

Teaching methodologies/activity outline

Introduction: Use Sound Play to gain children’s interest and introduce sounds and words.

Explore the vocabulary and topic further by reading the Reading Experience book.

Then use the story to move into the Science Activity.

Sound Play “I’m a Little Popcorn”:
Still and quiet, still and quiet. (Child squats quietly on floor.)
I feel hot. I feel hotter. (Child wipes sweat off brow.)
I am going to explode! (Child starts shaking.)
Pop! (Child jumps up.)

Reading Experience
Suggested Reading. Norman the Doorman by Don Freeman

1. An adult must prepare the marshmallow-popcorn mixture and be ready to cool and serve it to children immediately for the activity.

2. Place the margarine and the marshmallows in the microwave and heat until marshmallows are puffed, about one and one-half to two minutes. Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon.

3. Divide the popped popcorn into three bowls. Add a different flavor of gelatin powder to each bowl.

4. Pour one-third of the melted marshmallow mixture into each of the three bowls and mix each bowl until the gelatin colors the marshmallow and the popcorn is evenly covered.

5. Place bowls of colored popcorn on table.

6. Have children work in small groups. Provide a waxed-paper surface for each child to work on.

7. Be sure to cool down the mixture enough that it can be handled safely but not so much that the marshmallow hardens.

8. Have the children rub some margarine on their hands to prevent the marshmallow from sticking to their fingers.

9. Invite the children to choose one or more colors/flavors of popcorn mixture and to create sculptures. They may use the optional foods for decoration before they eat their creations.

What was our poem about?
What words or sounds do you remember from the poem?
What do you remember about Norman the Doorman?
Tell me what might have happened if we had worked with the popcorn mixture before it cooled down.
Tell me about your experience sculpting popcorn. Did the popcorn mix do what you wanted it to? How did you decide to handle the situation?
Describe to me what happens to the popcorn mixture as it cools.

Assessment of learning


Equipment and materials to be used in learning unit (tools, ingredients etc)

- two cups popped popcorn bag

- mini-marshmallows
- three packages flavored gelatin (different flavors and colors)
- one-fourth cup margarine plus one tablespoon
- optional foods for decoration, such as bean sprouts, celery sticks or carrot sticks

- microwave oven
- oven mitts
- waxed paper
- three bowls
- large microwave-safe bowl
- large wooden spoon

Substitute marshmallow cream for marshmallows if you wish. Be sure and coat children’s hands with a cooking spray or spray butter to minimize sticking during the sculpture process. Let sculptures dry and then eat them.

Kind of setting

Kitchen or Laboratory

References - source

Digital Book: Plaster, L., Krustchinsky, R. (2010). Incredible Edible Science: Recipes for Developing Science and Literacy Skills, Redleaf Press.


Sculptures with Popcorn

1. Usefulness for STEM education - integrating content of different disciplines

Cross-curricular character of the resource 


The range of S-T-E-M subjects included 


The presentation of possibilities of including artistic activities (STEAM approach)


2. Expected learning outcomes

Consistency (links) with preschool core curriculum


Communicativeness of description


3. Methodology of teaching

Clarity, communicativeness of instructions for teachers


Meaningful learning - using practical life problems


Original idea 


The level of ease in implementing the methodology to preschool age children


The level of ease in preparing necessary ingredients, materials and equipment needed


4. Sustainability

Ecological characteristics of materials/ results


Supporting healthy eating habits 




Low ecological footprint


Possibilities of inclusion (respecting cultural diversity and food intolerances)


5. Class management

Using differentiated forms of work - individual, team work etc.


Individual work





Team work





Whole group




6. Time management


Short activity (10-15 minutes)




Medium activity (20-30 minutes)




Long activity (1 hour or more)




Very long activity (1 day or more)

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Słony popcorn z ciekłymi piankami i galaretką, która była
jak zabarwiony cukier nie wyglądał apetycznie. A ptasie mleczko w dotyku
i wyglądzie przypominało rozgotowaną gumę do żucia. Na dodatek
popcorn miał różną wielkość oraz formę co utrudniało modelowanie.

Dlatego proponujemy popcorn zamienić na
dmuchany ryż, który jest mniejszy i jednolitych
rozmiarów. Natomiast ptasie mleczko zamienić na
krówki i masło. Powstaną wszystkim znane “szyszki”,
które zarówno wyglądają jak i smakują 😉
Z nich również można ulepić ciekawe rzeźby,
a potem ze smakiem zjeść.

Type of comment:
Extension or improvement
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