Science Fair Project: Which Chewing Gum Lasts the Longest?
Try This Fun Gum Science Experiment!
Science fair projects don't have to be dull. This project tests which brand of gum has the longest lasting flavor. My kids and their friends really enjoyed doing this project. The adults and teenagers viewing board loved it too because it actually offers practical information you can use. When you go to buy gum, how can you get one that lasts longer? The results are startling.
Gum Science Fair Questions
You can be creative because there are a lot of different questions you could choose when doing a project on gum. Here are six:
- "Which gum brand lasts the longest?" This was the question we chose and my daughter used six different gum brands. You could certainly use more brands to make a more complicated project. It probably would have been better to choose gum with the same flavor, but my daughter thought that was boring, so we chose different flavors.
- "Which flavor of gum lasts the longest?" This experiment would use several flavors of the same brand of gum, maybe the gum brand you like the best.
- "Which bubble gum makes the biggest bubbles?" In that experiment, you would have a variety of people blowing different types of gum and using a ruler to measure how big the bubbles are.
- "What shape of gum lasts the longest?" Use the same brand of gum but different types, like stick vs. cubes or rolls. You would want to find a gum that had a variety of types.
- "Which gum has more flavor, sugarless or sugared?" You could use different types of the same brand and maybe also try different flavors.
- Which brand of gum do people like best? In this experiment, you would give people several different brands of gum to try with no labels. Try to choose gum that can't be easily identified just by looking at it. You can have them rate them on taste, chewiness, bubbles, long-lasting flavor or any other characteristic. Have them put them in order of favorite to least favorite. It might be interesting to also quiz them before or after the experiment to find out which brand they think is their favorite.
- Choose a question.
- Gather the materials.
- Decide on your own hypothesis—your guess of the answer.
- Follow the procedures below to do the experiment or develop your own procedures. It might help to have a group discussion and agreement about how you are defining the word "flavorless."
- Be sure to take pictures and to record your results carefully.
- Ask your participants to give their thoughts and opinions along the way. What is important to them about gum? Which gum do they usually like? Do they chew gum after the flavor is out? How often do they chew?
- Look at your results and think about your question. Write down your results and conclusions.
- Type up your results on the computer or handwrite them neatly. Attach them to a science board. You might want to put colored or patterned paper underneath them as a mat.
- Before or after you do this project, check out the videos to learn about the history of gum and how it is made.
4th Grade Sample Experiment
How I thought of this project: All the kids in our family like to chew gum. Sometimes our parents give us some but other times we have to buy it ourselves. We all like different flavors but one of the things that makes gum taste good is if the flavor lasts a long time. So I thought about doing an experiment to test that. If I'm going to spend money, I want to know which gum will last the longest.
Question: Which brand of gum lasts the longest?
Hypothesis: I think that 5 gum will last the longest. Trident will be next. I think Stride will be 3rd, Juicy Fruit will be 4th, 5th will be Double Bubble, and 6th will be Extra.
I had six types of gum.
I had a piece of paper and a pencil to mark down how long the gum lasted.
I had a timer so I could keep track.
I gathered my sisters, brother, and friends to chew!
Sample Table for Gum Experiment
- First, I asked some people to help research my experiment.
- We all sat together and I passed out the first type of gum. We all unwrapped the first gum, Double Bubble.
- We said, “ready, set, go” and popped it in our mouths and started the timer.
- We all chewed the gum and each person told me when their flavor ran out and I marked it down on my chart.
- When everyone’s flavor ran out, we stopped the timer and got out another type of gum to do the experiment again.
- We did this for all the gum.
- Some people didn’t get a chance to try all the different brands but I marked the ones they did try.
We recorded the results on a chart which showed the person who chewed and how long the flavor lasted. What we noticed:
- Person 2 said she noticed that most of the flavors lasted with a strong flavor for one minute and then the flavor faded to just a little bit for the rest of the time.
- Five has the most flavor. It is good and lasts a long time. The Stride gum lasts a long time but the flavor is not as good as 5 gum.
- Juicy Fruit gum is harder to chew. The gum is stiffer. It seems to have last longer just because it was harder to chew.
- Extra was pretty soft and was sweeter than the other gums.
- All of the gum brands we chose were sugarless except for the Double Bubble.
- Double Bubble is the best for blowing bubbles. You can blow bubbles with the others but not as well. 5 gum blows pretty good bubbles.
- In 5 gum, I noticed that when I blew a bubble and put it back in my mouth the gum tasted sweeter.
- Person 3 noticed that when she wasn’t thinking about the flavor the whole time, the flavor seemed to last longer.
- Person 1 likes 5 because it lasts a long time and Extra because it is sweeter.
- Person 2 likes Double Bubble because she likes to blow bubbles and Juicy Fruit because of the taste.
- Person 3 likes 5 and Trident because of their flavors and because they last a long time.
- Person 4 likes Juicy Fruit best but says it runs out quickly.
- Person 5 likes Extra because she likes the dessert flavors they have, but she also buys 5 a lot because she likes to chew gum that lasts a long time.
What is Your Favorite Brand of Gum?
- The gum brands that lasted the longest were 5, Stride, and Extra. I was right that 5 gum would be the longest-lasting flavor and that Stride would be next. I was surprised that Extra lasted so long because I thought it would be the shortest since it is sweeter than most of the gums and has more unusual flavors.
- I noticed that there is a big difference in how long gum lasts.
- For smaller people, like my sister Steffi, the gum seems to have lasted longer than for bigger people. Maybe people with big mouths chew harder and faster.
- When thinking about buying gum, people might want to try 5, Stride, or Extra if they like long-lasting flavor.
How to Put Science Fair Board TogetherClick thumbnail to view full-size
Chewing Gum: History and Geography
Aztecs used chicle, boiled tree sap, for a gum. In the 1880s chicle was imported to the U.S. for the gums "Black Jack" and "Chicklets."
The Greeks used the resin of the mastic tree for chewing gum.
The Native Americans chewed spruce resin. Early settlers learned to do that, too. "The State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum" was sold in 1848.
5,000 years ago, in what is now Finland, Neolithic people chewed birch bark tar. Pieces of this preserved bark have been found bearing teeth marks.
Questions & Answers
Is the chewing gum science experiment healthy?
If you choose sugar-free chewing gum then I think you can consider this a healthy science experiment. Sugar-free gum has been shown to help people keep their teeth cleaner. According to the American Dental Association, when people chew gum, they release saliva which can help wash away bacteria and food particles which harm teeth. Look for the ADA symbol on gum to see if it is certified as healthy by the American Dental Association. It might be an interesting project to compare ADA gums and ones that are not certified. A non-certified product may also be healthy, but it has not gone to the trouble of providing proof to the ADA.