Ready to do a fun and educational science project in your kitchen using only a bit of water and some cocoa powder?
Jill Koch (@jillcomesclean) is a TikToker who shares cleaning and home organization tips, along with cooking videos and life hacks. The creative TikToker primarily shares tips for keeping your home running smoothly, but every once in a while, she shares something that’s just for fun. Koch recently shared a cooking hack video that includes a fun and easy science project for kids that can be done in your own kitchen!
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In the second “hack” of the video, Koch grabs a glass of water and a container of cocoa powder. She submerges a spoonful of dry cocoa powder in the glass of water, then removes it, revealing that the cocoa powder is still perfectly dry!
In a caption, Koch writes that her cocoa powder trick is a “fun experiment for kids.”
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While Koch’s cocoa powder hack might look like magic or a camera trick, there’s actually a simple scientific explanation for why it works.
“When you dip the powder in water, it doesn’t get soaked,” she explains. “It’s hydrophobic, so it repels the water.”
Hydro … what?
Dipping a spoonful of cocoa powder in water is a great way to teach kids — or anyone, for that matter! — about hydrophobic surfaces. The terms “hydrophobic” and “hydrophilic” refer to the affinity different surfaces have for water. Surfaces that are hydrophobic, like cocoa powder, repel water, while hydrophilic surfaces maximize contact with water.
While hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces might seem like complex topics to teach a child about, Koch’s cocoa powder experiment makes them easier to understand. Seeing the cocoa powder getting fully submerged in water, only to stay completely dry, is the perfect illustration of a hydrophobic surface in action.
Of course, cocoa powder isn’t the only hydrophobic substance! Many oils and fats are also hydrophobic. To continue the experiment, you could show your child how a few drops of olive oil react in a glass of water.
Koch’s cocoa powder experiment is a brilliantly simple way to learn about a complex topic. It’s also a great excuse to make yourself a cup of hot chocolate!
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