Key Concepts

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

You are watching: Is sugar a polar or nonpolar substance?


Students will certainly observe the dissolve of the sugar coating native an M&M as soon as it is inserted in water. Students will certainly then aid design an experiment to see if the kind of fluid the M&M is inserted in affects how much that the coating dissolves.


Students will be able to explain, top top the molecular level, how the polar characteristic of water and also sugar communicate so the water dissolves sugar. Students will have the ability to identify and also control the variables in your experiment. Students will likewise be maybe to describe why a nonpolar liquid, such as mineral oil, is not an excellent at dissolving sugar.


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


Be certain you and the student wear properly fitting goggles. Isopropil alcohol is flammable. Save it far from flames or spark sources. Read and also follow all warnings top top the label. Dispose of isopropyl alcohol and mineral oil according to local 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 clean plastic cupsWhite paper

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

Question come Investigate

What wake up to the sugar and color coating of one M&M as soon as it is inserted in water?


Clear plastic cupWaterM&MWhite paper


Pour sufficient room-temperature water into clear plastic cup so that the water is deep sufficient to totally cover one M&M and place this cup top top a item of white paper.

Once the water has actually settled, ar 1 M&M in the center of the cup. Be careful to keep the water and also M&M as still as possible. Observe for about 1 minute.

Expected Results

The coating will dissolve indigenous the M&M, revealing a white layer under the color and then the brown cacao underneath. The colored coating the the M&Ms will collect in a one pattern approximately the M&M. Student may additionally mention the white streaks in the water from the street coating.

Discuss student observations.

Ask students:

What perform you an alert about the M&M and the water? The shade comes off and moves through the water in a one pattern. What perform you think is happening once the color and also sugar come off the M&M? suggest out to students that due to the fact that the water provides the colored coating come off the M&M and also mix into the water, the water is dissolve the sugar and color.

Note: There are actually two procedures happening in this activity. The color and sugar space dissolving in the water however they are additionally diffusing. In stimulate to emphasis on the amount that dissolves from an M&M, students must look in ~ the quantity of coating missing from the M&M, instead of the dimension of the one of color in the water.

Knowing what friend do around the polarity that water, why perform you think water dissolves sugar?Students might think the sugar is do of ionic bonds choose salt. Or they can think the sugar has actually positive and an unfavorable areas and this is why water is attractive to it.Explore

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

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Ask student to make a prediction:

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

Discuss v students just how to design an experiment to compare just how well water, alcohol, and vegetable oil dissolve the color and also sugar coating from an M&M. Be sure students recognize variables such 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 to Investigate

Is water, alcohol, or oil far better at dissolving the color and sugar coating from 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. Add 15 mL that water, alcohol, and also mineral oil to their labeled cups.Place the 3 cups ~ above a white sheet of paper.

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


Expected Results

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