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About Air

Author(s): Nancy Moreno, PhD, Barbara Tharp, MS, and Judith Dresden, MS.


You will need the following materials for this activity.

  • 30 cups of popped popcorn3 clear, re-sealable plastic bags, 1-gal size (12 in. x 15 in.)
  • Clear plastic bag, 15-gal size (or a bag from the dry cleaner)
  • Powdered soft drink mix: 2 pkgs of yellow mix, 1 pkg green, 1 pkg red
  • Measuring Cup, 8-oz. size
  • Transparency of the student page

Materials for each group of students

  • Clear re-sealable plastic bag, 1-gal size (12 in. x 15 in.)
  • Measuring cup, 8-oz. size
  • 6 copies of the student sheet


1. Before the activity, you will need to tint three small batches of popcorn (or buy flavored popcorn of different colors).

2. Pop enough popcorn to have 30 cups of white popped corn. 

3. To tint the popcorn, measure 6 cups of popcorn into a sealable plastic bag.  Add a tablespoon of yellow soft drink mix and 1-3 tablespoonfuls of water. Seal the bag and shake to distribute the color. Let the popcorn dry by spreading it on a paper towel or leaving the bag open.

4. Following the same process, create 1 cup of red popcorn and 1 cup of green popcorn. Do not tint the remaining 22 cups of white popcorn.

5. When all the popcorn is dry, separate it as follows: 3 bags containing 7 cups of white popcorn each; 1 bag containing 6 cups of yellow popcorn; 1 bag containing 1 cup of red popcorn; and 1 bag containing 1 cup of green popcorn. 

Place materials in a central location for each group's Materials Manager to pick up.

Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Numbers: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932

Houston Endowment Inc.

Houston Endowment Inc.

Foundations for the Future: Capitalizing on Technology to Promote Equity, Access and Quality in Elementary Science Education