Do different brands of popcorn affect how many kernels pop? Introduction The grocery store shelves are filled with many varieties, sizes, and brands of the same item. There are numerous kinds of popcorn, large and small, produced by different manufacturers. Some people choose products based on need, some base their decisions on price and some base their decision on quality or brand loyalty. With all of these options it can be difficult to choose. You may want to save money but at what cost?
In this experiment we will determine if generics are equivalent alternatives or if we really get what we pay for.
(Bautista, 2006) Project Design Plan Testable Question: Does name brand popcorn will have a better ability to pop than generic popcorn? Independent variable- Name brand and generic popcorn Dependant variable- Time and temperature By changing the time and temperature we change the ability of the popcorn to pop. If the temperature is too low or it if the time is too short then the popcorn will not pop at all.
Overall Project Plan: Two types of popcorn (name brand and generic) will be popped for the same amount of time and temperature to see which one pops better in 30 seconds. Then, the unpopped kernels will be counted and recorded. The one that pops better will have fewer totally unpopped popcorn kernels left. Revelence: With all of the options of popcorn it can be difficult to choose which one to buy. Does a person sacrifice savings when buying generic for quality? In this experiment we will determine if generics are equivalent alternatives or if we really get what we pay for.
Many different brands and types of popcorn are available on your grocer’s shelves, such as Orville Redenbacher, Pop Secret, Cousin Willie’s, and a generic grocer brand, all offered in light, regular, and butter. All of these brands claim different slogans and catch phrases in order to sway the consumer into purchasing their product. Our goal is to cut through possible false advertising, and educate students on “ do generics or name brand popcorn have the most kernel efficiency”. Literature Review – Review of similar projects
Project A: Used 3 bags of popcorn for 4 separate brands and microwaved them for 2min 30sec. Open 1 bag at a time, count the number of unpopped kernels (any unbroken shells), record data on data sheet, calculate the percentage by dividing the number of the actual popped kernels by the total number of kernels left in the bag. It was determined that Orville Redenbacher had the fewest unpopped popcorn kernels left in the bag. Data was recorded in paragraph format. This is related to the current investigation for the fact that they are both collecting data on unpopped popcorn and relate brands to different popability. Saum, 2001) Project B: Count one hundred kernels of corn from three brands of popcorn, Orville Redenbacher, Kroger, and Act II. Pop the kernels from each brand one at a time. At the completion of the popping for each brand, count the number of unpopped kernels. Repeat this process for each brand a total of three times. Average the results of the three trials for the individual brands. Compare the averaged results for each brand and the price per kernel of each brand. The brand that cost the most per kernel does not pop the most popcorn.
This shows that the price of the popcorn does not reflect the quality of the kernel. Results were recorded in paragraph format and a bar graph was created using those results. This is related to the current investigation for the fact that they are both collecting data on unpopped popcorn and relate brands to different popability. (Sayles) Experimental design steps and Reasoning: Step 1- Gather Materials: 2 different brands popcorn- 1 generic brand and 1 name brand Peanut oil Tablespoon Large pot with top Stovetop Timer Step 2- perform experiment; Begin process with generic popcorn.
Follow the same process for a total of 3 times for the generic. Then, follow the same exact process for the name brand popcorn (remembering to record results for each). 1. Count out 300 popcorn kernels *By counting out each kernel both the name brand and generic are starting from the same exact amount. 2. Heat stove at a medium-high heat (7/10 on most stove units); let it heat up for 3 minutes *To keep the heat the same medium-high heat for each run of the experiment. 3. Add 1T of peanut oil *Peanut oil has a higher smoke point and has less of a chance of burning during the experiment. 4.
Once stove has reached medium-high heat (3 minutes has passed), insert 1 popcorn kernel into the pot. *This step makes sure the stove is hot enough for the popcorn to pop. 5. Once test kernel has popped, pour in the popcorn kernels into the pot, put the pot top on, and immediately start timer for seconds. *The timer has to be started as soon as the popcorn is put into the pot so that the time stays consistent. When the top is put on, after the popcorn is put in the pot, it not only keeps the popped popcorn in the pot during the popping, but also keeps the heat inside allowing the popcorn a greater chance of absorbing moisture. . Once timer has gone off after 30 seconds, quickly remove pot from heating surface and quickly pour into bowl. *To make sure the same amount of heat is given to both name brand and generic and is removed from the stove surface as soon as the timer goes off. 7. Count remaining unpopped seeds- Popped kernels are any broken kernels. *The seeds must be counted in order to determine if name brand popcorn pops better than generic popcorn. 8. Record information. *Recording information as soon as it’s gathered reduces risk of forgetting the details. 9.
Allow stove burner to completely cool down so that it is cold to the touch. *The burners need to cool down so that when the steps are started over the heat starts from the same temperature. There were many factors that lead to the choice of this specific design plan. 1. Time- When beginning the planning process the popcorn was going to pop for 1 minute. Once a full minute has passed all of the popcorn was burned and mostly popped for both brands. In order to test the ability for the popcorn to pop the time needed be limited to 30 seconds. 2. Bagged or loose popcorn.
Bagged popcorn was going to be use to have better control over the time and temperature of each run of the experiment, but there are not 2 brands of popcorn that have the same exact ingredients and were the same weight. Also most brands don’t have the same amount of butter and fat in them. The added moisture of the extra butter would change the rate at which the popcorn popped. Loose popcorn kernels were used so that the same exact amount of kernels can be used for each experiment and the amount of oil used can be both controlled as well as the same brand and type. . Measuring- At first the measuring unit of ? cup, but ? c doesn’t measure the same exact amount of kernels each time. Instead 300 kernels were counted and used to be sure that both plans started out the same to limit error. 4. Oil- peanut oil was used because it has a higher smoke point and wouldn’t interfere with the project. Independent Variables – Name brand vs. generic popcorn Dependant Variables – Time and Temperature Controlled Variables – 300 kernels of popcorn were counted for each run of the experiment, 1 T of peanut oil in each run of the experiment.
Threats to Internal Validity 1. Inconsistency in instrumentation: a. Amount of popcorn- To reduce this threat of not starting out with the same amount, count each kernel used to make sure that the exact same amount is used each time. b. Temperature- A change in temperature with each leg of the experiment can affect the outcome. In this experiment the stove was cooled down and reheated from zero. 2. Maturation- A timer must be used to make sure that the exact same time has passed for each leg of the experiment. If the time isn’t consistent then the experiment will be jeopardized.
Hypothesis- Name brand popcorn will have a better ability to pop than generic popcorn; in the same amount of time more name brand popcorn will pop than generic popcorn. “We think the secret to maximizing ‘pop-ability’ is found in the special chemistry of the corn kernel,” says food chemist Bruce Hamaker, Ph. D. (The chemistry of popcorn, 2005) So better quality name brand popcorn will pop at a better rate than generic popcorn, if the case is that name brand popcorn has a better chemistry to pop than other store brands. The methods that were used to
Results – Once each batch of popcorn was popped for both the name brand and generic, the completely unpopped kernels were counted and recorded. After running the trial 3 separate times for each brand of popcorn used, the following results were collected: Name Brand (# of unpopped popcorn kernels) Store Brand Generic (# of unpopped popcorn kernels) 14 21 19 15 20 13 Average 17. 67 Average 16. 33 After running the experiment in Test 1 for both the name brand and generic there were 14 completely unpopped kernels left for the name brand and 21 completely unpopped kernels left for the generic popcorn.
In Test 2 there were 19 completely unpopped kernels left for the name brand and 15 completely unpopped kernels left for the generic popcorn. In Test 3 there were 20 completely unpopped kernels left for the name brand and 13 completely unpopped kernels left for the generic popcorn. The name brand popcorn averaged 17. 67 unpopped kernels per test; while the generic popcorn averaged 16. 33 unpopped kernels. Thus, refuting the hypothesis that name brand popcorn will have a better ability to pop. Number of Unpopped Popcorn Kernels Method of data collection:
Bar graphs are used to compare things between different groups, or to track changes over time. This experiment used a bar graph to compare the amount of unpopped popcorn kernels that were left after 30 seconds of popping for name brand popcorn and generic popcorn. Conclusion: The results refute my hypothesis. Name brand popcorn does not pop better than generic popcorn. Experimental design is a key factor in the success of the scientific inquiry to reduce outside influences and to isolate the function that is being tested. Doing an experiment multiple times validates it because it shows consistency.
Experimental design impacts the validity of the experiment. Validity is the extent to which the experiment accurately shows cause-and-effect relationships. The design determines the likelihood of making errors. A poor design might fail to control for confounding (lurking) variables. For example, suppose I pop all the name-brand popcorn on Day 1 and all the generic on Day 2. The experimenter (the person doing the popping) might change their technique between days, creating a false result. Another poor design would be to pop the two kinds of popcorn in different heating stoves, which might have different factors.
By using a design that factors out as many variables as possible, any causal relationship found is more likely to be a valid one. To improve the significance of an experimental result, replication, the repetition of an experiment on a large group of subjects, is required. If a treatment is truly effective, the long-term averaging effect of replication will reflect its experimental worth. If it is not effective, then the few members of the experimental population who may have reacted to the treatment will be negated by the large numbers of subjects who were unaffected by it.
Replication reduces variability in experimental results, increasing their significance and the confidence level with which a researcher can draw conclusions about an experimental factor. This project can be replicated simply by another person gathering materials and following the experiment design steps. A slight variation may occur between the results listed here and the replication of the experiment based on the fact that the same heating mechanism wasn’t used. Medium-high heat for one stove might not be equal to another, even of the same model number.
REFERENCES The chemistry of popcorn: It’s all about pop-ability [Internet]. 2005 [cited 2010 Dec 29]. Available from: http://www. physorg. com/news3722. html Bautista M. How Do Generics Measure Up? [Internet]. 2006 [cited 2010 Dec 28]. Available from: http://www. education. com/science-fair/article/how-do-generics-measure-up/ Saum J. Popcorn and College Students [Internet]. 2001 [cited 2010 Dec 31]. Available from: http://jrscience. wcp. muohio. edu/nsfall01/FinalArticles/PopcornandCollegeStude