Potato chip scientific research is big business! The FDA (Food and also Drug Administration) walk some very important exam so that the food friend eat—including potato chips—is correctly labeled. We may not have access to the FDA’s high-quality machines, yet we deserve to still perform some quite cool tests without them.

You are watching: Are all potato chips equally greasy

For this science fair project, let’s i think you’re a scientist functioning for the FDA and also that you need to double-check the fat content (or “greasiness”) of several brands that potato chips. If you don’t have actually any specialized machines, then exactly how do you discover out how much grease her chips have?

One thing we could shot is to merely mash up a potato chip and look at exactly how much grease come out. Paper absorbs grease yes, really well, for this reason we can use it as our “instrument” to assist us quantify—or uncover a number that describes—how lot grease is in an individual chip.

But wait a minute. No all potato chips room the exact same size! even chips indigenous the very same bag come in different sizes, and of course, various brands commonly make in different way sized chips. If we were to test a really large chip, we would get an ext grease than if us tested a small one, and also this definitely wouldn’t define how lot grease is in a solitary serving that chips very well. Therefore what’s a good way come determine just how much grease is in her potato chips?

We can calculate a advantageous number recognized as one average to define how lot grease we have actually in ours chips. Us can uncover the mean by including together all of the grease we discover divided by the number of chips we provided to obtain that lot grease.


How greasy are different brands of potato chips?


Several bags of potato chips (different brands)Something to write withRolling PinWax Paper, plastic wrap, or large sandwich bagGraph paperTapeWindowSunlight


Find the serving size listed in the nutrition facts because that each brand that chips.Write under the serving dimension for every brand. If we’re make the efforts to identify if a serving of one brand the chips is greasier than another, why perform you think recording the serving size for every brand that chip is important?Find the total fat per serving because that each brand that chips, in grams. Document this number.Pick a brand of chips. Count the end a variety of chips same to the serving dimension for that brand. Make sure to pull chips randomly native the bag. Don’t pick large or tiny ones, specifically. If we desire to take an accurate average, why carry out you think this is important?Place the chips top top a sheet of graph paper. Document the quantity of chips girlfriend pulled the end for this brand the chips.Lay the wax paper, plastic wrap, or big sandwich bag over the chips.Use this time come formulate her hypothesis. Which brand the chips do you think will be the greasiest? Roll over the chips number of times v the roll pin, making certain they’re entirely pulverized.Remove the graph document and throw away the chips. Tape the graph file to a home window (or the surface ar of her school’s overhead projector, if girlfriend have accessibility to one).Count the variety of squares that are translucent from the grease. (Hint: make a inspect mark in each square you’re counting. You deserve to use a pencil, pen, or grease pencil if you’re noting the graph file itself. If you’re using an overhead projector, you can use a dry-erase marker to mark squares projected onto the whiteboard.) just count squares that are ½ full or more. Document the number of squares you count for this brand.


Repeat measures 4-10 for each brand.The mean grease per serving dimension is simply the quantity of squares girlfriend counted because that each brand. To calculation the median grease per chip, division squares count by the variety of chips tested. Record this number for every brands in your data chart.Draw a graph choose the one listed below comparing the noted fat value per serving because that each brand the chips and the number of squares friend counted when you did the experiment. Does the data surprised you, or is that what girlfriend expected? What does that suggest around the accuracy of her measurements?



Your outcomes should approximately reflect the lot of fat provided in the nutrition facts because that each brand the chips.


Here’s another means to think around how averages work: because we got hold of a large handful that chips without looking, we got some chips that were big, part that were small, and some the were tool in size. Because we have actually a lot of differently-sized chips to typical together, we can say that any kind of given chip is “about this big.” If we only had two chips it would certainly be hard to choose which one is the closest come the “normal” size, but if we had a many them it would certainly be pretty straightforward to find one good, average size that describes them every pretty well. This is a basic example of the Law of large Numbers: the more things we test (and the more times us test them), the an ext accurate ours calculated typical will be.

See more: Sum Of Prime Numbers From 1 To 100, What Is The Sum Of The Prime Number 1 And 100

Scientists use averages all the time, since the civilization often doesn’t law consistently sufficient to give us exactly the very same number every time we perform an experiment. Gas mileage, nutrition facts, institution grades, and also even things favor radiation flux for spaceships space all based off of averages. Averages are a way to find numbers that are “characteristic” of a situation or sample, definition that this numbers closely describe that situation, also if we can’t constantly predict the precise number we will get each time we perform an experiment!

So what various other factors can have affected our results? us made certain to pulverize each chip so that it released many of that is grease, however if your outcomes didn’t complement up through what was on the bag, it may be because specific chips release grease much better than others when crushed. If friend want, you have the right to repeat this experiment and crush each chip also more. Watch if your results change, and take note of this in your write-up for her project.

There are plenty of ways to increase this experiment. What if we tried to number out exactly how greasy a provided brand the chips to be by weight, as opposed to offer size? This is a beneficial thing to measure, due to the fact that some offer sizes might be bigger or smaller than others. We could calculate this measure by separating the amount of squares we counted by the number of grams that make up a offer size. We can even gain a much more accurate measure of greasiness by using a food range to measure the end grams, fairly than counting the FDA’s estimated amount the chips that consist of a offer size. Remember, the FDA calculated this number by acquisition an average! This experiment can even be expanded to test just how accurate the FDA’s approximate serving sizes are. Have the right to you architecture an experiment to inspection this making use of a food scale?

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