Key Concepts

For a fluid to dissolve a solid, the molecule of the liquid and also solid must attract one another.The bond in between the oxygen and also hydrogen atom (O–H bond) in street (sucrose) gives the oxygen a slight an adverse charge and the hydrogen a slight optimistic charge. Sucrose is a polar molecule.The polar water molecules tempt the negative and positive areas on the polar sucrose molecules which renders sucrose dissolve in water. A nonpolar substance choose mineral oil does no dissolve a polar substance choose sucrose.

You are watching: What happens to sugar when it dissolves in water


Students will observe the dissolve of the street coating indigenous an M&M when it is inserted in water. Students will certainly then help design an experiment to view if the type of liquid the M&M is put in affects just how much of the coating dissolves.


Students will have the ability to explain, ~ above the molecule level, exactly how the polar properties of water and also sugar interact so the water disappear sugar. Student will be able to identify and control the variables in their experiment. College student will additionally be able to define why a nonpolar liquid, such together mineral oil, is not good at dissolve sugar.


Download the student task sheet, and distribute one every student as soon as specified in the activity. The task sheet will serve as the “Evaluate” ingredient of every 5-E lesson plan.


Be sure you and also the college student wear properly fitting goggles. Isopropyl alcohol is flammable. Keep it far from flames or spark sources. Read and also follow all warnings ~ above the label. Dispose of isopropil alcohol and also mineral oil follow to regional regulations. Warning studens not to eat the M&M’s.

Materials because that Each Group

M&M’sWaterMineral oilIsopropyl alcohol (70%)Small white plastic plate3 clear plastic cupsWhite paper

Have students location an M&M in a cup the water and observe.

Question to Investigate

What happens to the sugar and color coating of one M&M when it is put in water?


Clear plastic cupWaterM&MWhite paper


Pour enough room-temperature water right into clear plastic cup so that the water is deep enough to fully cover one M&M and place this cup ~ above a item of white paper.

Once the water has settled, place 1 M&M in the center of the cup. Be mindful to store the water and also M&M together still as possible. Watch for around 1 minute.

Expected Results

The coating will certainly dissolve from the M&M, revealing a white great under the color and then the brown chocolate underneath. The fancy coating of the M&Ms will collect in a circular pattern around the M&M. College student may likewise mention the white streaks in the water indigenous the sugar coating.

Discuss student observations.

Ask students:

What do you notice about the M&M and the water? The color comes off and moves with the water in a one pattern. What perform you think is happening as soon as the color and also sugar come off the M&M? point out to students that since the water makes the colored coating come off the M&M and also mix right into the water, the water is dissolve the sugar and color.

Note: There room actually two procedures happening in this activity. The color and sugar room dissolving in the water but they are also diffusing. In stimulate to emphasis on the amount the dissolves native an M&M, students must look in ~ the amount of coating lacking from the M&M, instead of the dimension of the circle of color in the water.

Knowing what friend do about the polarity of water, why perform you think water disappear sugar?Students might think the sugar is do of ionic bonds favor salt. Or they might think the sugar has actually positive and an unfavorable areas and this is why water is attracted to it.Explore

Have students command an experiment to compare just how well water, alcohol, and also oil dissolve the sugar and also color coating of an M&M.

See more: What Does A Base Taste Like, Properties Of Acids And Bases

Ask student to do a prediction:

Do girlfriend think water, alcohol, or oil would certainly be much better at dissolving the sugar and color coating of an M&M?

Discuss through students how to design an experiment come compare how well water, alcohol, and vegetable oil dissolve the color and sugar coating indigenous an M&M. Be certain students identify variables together as:

Amount of water, alcohol, and also oil usedTemperature of each liquidSame shade of M&MTime and also location the M&M’s are put in each liquid

Question come Investigate

Is water, alcohol, or oil far better at dissolving the color and also sugar coating native an M&M?


3 M&Ms (same color)WaterMineral oilIsopropyl alcohol (70%)3 clean plastic cupsWhite paper


Label 3 cup Water, Alcohol, and also Oil. Include 15 mL that water, alcohol, and mineral oil to their labeled cups.Place the three cups ~ above a white paper of paper.

At the exact same time, include 1 M&M to every liquid. Climate gently swirl the liquid and also M&M in each cup for about 30 seconds.


Expected Results

Water—The sugar and also color dissolve indigenous the M&M. Alcohol—The color dissolves just slightly and the sugar coating doesn’t seem to dissolve.Oil—Neither the shade nor the street dissolves