Candy Waterfalls

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Duration:
7 minutes, 45 seconds

Build a waterfall of candy and explore how to figure out how big a waterfall is using household materials and your favorite sweet treats. Niobrara National Scenic River boasts over 200 waterfalls along its 76 miles of protected river ranging from inches tall to the height of Smith Falls!

Build your Candy Waterfall!

 
A ranger stands at a table with cups and bowls.
Ranger Bobbie explains how to make a candy waterfall and calculate the volumetric flow rate of waterfalls.

NPS Photo

Supplies:

  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Paper
  • Pen or pencil
  • Calculator
  • Stopwatch
  • Clear plastic water bottle
  • Measuring cup or cup
  • Bowl, medium to large
  • Three types of candy with different sizes.
    • 3 types, and at least 1 cup of each type.
  • Alternatively, you could use other types of small, solid materials.
  • Tip: For the best results, try to only use candies with similar surface textures and avoid very light-weight candies, such as ones that are hollow or air-puffed.
 

Instructions:

  1. Have an adult prepare the plastic water bottle so it can be used as a funnel. To do this, carefully cut the bottom off (as close to the end as possible) and carefully cut the top off until the opening size is about 1.3 inches in diameter.
  2. Measure out at least one cup of the largest type of candy you want to test. The more candy you use, the better your results will be. Exactly how much candy did you measure out? Write this down on a piece of paper.
  3. Take the bottle you cut and flip it upside down. Have a helper hold the cut bottle, which you will use as a funnel, over a bowl and block the 1.3 inch-wide opening (which should now be at the bottom) with their hand. Pour the measured candy into the top and make sure none leaks out the bottom.
  4. Get the stopwatch ready and then have the helper quickly remove their hand and gently shake the funnel. Time how long it takes all of the material to go through the funnel and into the bowl below it.
  5. Write the time it took down on your piece of paper.
  6. Tip: If the material jams the funnel, have an adult make the opening a little larger and try it with the same candy again. Also be sure the helper is gently shaking the funnel the entire time you are timing.
  7. Calculate the volumetric flow rate of the candy. To do this, divide the volume of the candy by the time it took to flow through the funnel. For example, if you used one cup of candy coated chocolates and it took two seconds to flow through the funnel, the volumetric flow rate would be 0.5 cups per second.
Citation: Science Buddies Staff. "Making A Candy Waterfall: Can Solids Flow Like Liquids?" Science Buddies, 20 Nov. 2020, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Phys_p091/physics/candy-waterfall-solids-flow.
 

Learn and Explore

Explore more Nature Creations Activities

All activities and crafts were created with household items and easy to find supplies. If you are looking for more activities or crafts, explore the links to the right and discover more of what makes the Niobrara River special.

Last updated: February 12, 2021

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