Experiment 1: Determining the Energy in Food

Experiment 1: Determining the Energy in Food

You will determine the amount of calories in a marshmallow and compare your results to the nutritional panel


1. Obtain the mass of the marshmallow using the digital scale. Record this value

2. Measure 100 mL of room temperature water using the 100 mL beaker. Pour the water into the aluminum can. Then, place the thermometer in the can to measure the temperature of the water. Record this value.

3. Use a butter knife or scissors to carefully cut the marshmallow into four equal quarters.

4. Using either the top or bottom of your Petri dish, cover the dish in aluminum foil and then place the cut marshmallows into the dish so that the sides of the dish can contain the marshmallows

Note: The aluminum foil is used to create a nonflammable surface. Be sure to completely cover all edges and area of the Petri dish.

5. Place the Petri dish with cut marshmallows on a flat, nonflammable surface, ignite all four marshmallow pieces with the matches, and immediately hold the aluminum can full of water over the center of the flame.

Keep the bottom of the can close to the flame while ensuring that neither touch.

6. The flame may burn out before burning through the entire marshmallow. If this occurs, relight the marshmallow. Be sure that you do not let the flame touch the aluminum can when lighting the marshmallow again. Continue this process until the marshmallow is burnt completely.

7. Quickly measure the temperature of the water with the thermometer after the marshmallow has been burned completely. Do not touch the thermometer to the sides or bottom of the can. Record the temperature

A. Calculate the thermal energy in the burnt marshmallow using the equation, Q=mc?T. Show all work for full credit.

B. Convert your answer from Question A into Calories.

C. Calculate percent error between your results and the listed nutritional information (1 marshmallow is 23 Calories).

D. Why do you suppose there could be any differences?

E. What is the purpose of cutting the marshmallows into four quarters? How might the experimental results have changed if the marshmallow was burned in one piece?

f. Based on the design of the marshmallow experiment and on your percent error, would you have designed this experiment differently? Explain why or why not, and if applicable, how you would design it differently.


okay, it’s not due until midnight tonight? will it be completed?

Solution Preview

A. Calculate the thermal energy in the burnt marshmallow using the equation, Q=mc?T. Show all work for full credit. Let us assume a typical marshmallow weights 7.5g, in this experiment one marshmallow used? Water used is 100ml = 100g Initial temperat…