Use sweet treats to explore bonds between carbon, hydrogen and oxygen molecules

This tasty experiment will help learners understand more about the types of molecules found in fruits and sweets, as well as how molecules are formed.


  • Three different types of fruit (eg, dried apricots, figs, raisins) to make fructose and glucose
  • Three different coloured sweets (eg, gumdrops, midget gems) to make sorbitol and vitamin C
  • Cocktail sticks

Health, safety and technical notes

  • Small sweets might be a choking hazard.
  • Cocktails sticks are sharp. Make sure an appropriate adult is supervising young learners.


  1. Assign different types of fruit or different coloured sweets to represent carbon, oxygen and hydrogen.
  2. Attach the sweets or fruits together using cocktail sticks for the bonds.
  3. Once you have made your molecule, check that each atom has the correct number of bonds:
  • Carbon has four bonds
  • Oxygen has two bonds
  • Hydrogen has one bond

What’s the chemistry?

The food that we eat is made up of many components including sugars, vitamins, proteins and fats.

These are all different categories of molecules.

A molecule is made up of atoms that are bonded together in a particular way.

The types of atoms and the way in which they are bonded determines which category the molecule belongs to.

In this experiment, we are using different fruits and sweets to represent atoms.

We can build molecules that are found in many of the fruits and sweets that we eat.