Candy Erosion Experiment


Water breaks down hard pieces of land and pulls those sediments away in a process called Erosion. So which works better? Fast moving water or slow moving water? What do you think?


Candy Erosion Experiment on Sugar Spice and Glitter

Hypothesis: First write down or draw what you think is going to happen in the experiment. Will the candies erode faster in the slow moving water or the fast moving water?


  • Tray
  • 2 jars with tight fitting lids (mason jars work well)
  • 2 small bowls
  • 2 pieces of M&Ms (smarties also work)
  • 2 pieces of soft candy (gummies)
  • 2 pieces of hard candy
  • 2 cups of cold water


  1. Pour 1 cup of cold water into each of the jars. Place 1 soft candy, 1 hard candy, and 1 M&M in each jar. Seal the jars.
  2. Make sure the jars are sealed. Leave one jar sitting on the table. Take the other jar and shake it as hard as you can. You may take turns with someone else to help with the shaking. Aim for about 3 minutes.
  3. While you are shaking, talk about where you see fast moving water and slow moving water. What does the land around that water look like?
  4. Once done shaking, take the candies out of the jar and put them into a bowl. Take the candies out of the slow moving water jar into a separate bowl.
  5. What do you notice about the 2 different tests? The candies in the slow moving water jar should not have changed much at all. The candies in the fast moving water jar should have become smaller or broken down. Keep shaking longer to see a bigger difference.


Why did the candies, our rocks in this experiment, break down faster in fast water than in slow water?

How would this experiment be different if you used ocean water rather than fresh water? What is in the ocean water that is different from tap water?

Write down your results and answers to these questions, in a discussion post

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Learning Objectives

This activity may be used to support the following learning objectives and competencies

To understand how land and rocks are affected by the movement of water

This experiment comes from Sugar, Spice, and Glitter:

GRADE: Primary 


K: The motion of objects depends on their properties

1: Matter is useful because of its properties

2: Material can be changed through physical and chemical processes

2: Forces influence the motion of an object

2: Water is essential to all living things and it cycles through the environment 

3: All matter is made of particles

3: Wind, water, and ice change the shape of the land


Questioning and Predicting:

  • Observe objects and events in familiar contexts
  • identify questions about familiar object s and events that can be investigated scientifically
  • make predictions

Planning and Conducting

  • Suggest ways to plan and conduct an inquiry
  • Consider responsibilities in conducting an experiment
  • Safely use appropriate tools to make observations and measurement, using formal measurement
  • Make observations about living and non=-living things in the local environment 
  • collect simple data

Processing and analyzing data and information

  • Sort and classify data and information using drawings or provided tables 
  • Compare results with predictions and suggest possible reasons for findings


  • Make simple inferences based on their results and prior knowledge
  • Demonstrate understanding and appreciation of evidence
  • identify some simple environmental implications of their and others actions

Applying and Innovating

  • Cooperatively design projects


  • Represent and communicate ideas and findings in a variety of ways 
  • Express and reflect on personal or shared experiences of place 

Continue to Carving a Path through the Mountains »