STEM Saturday: Scented Hearts Experiment

This week my STEM Saturday co-hosts and I are doing something a little bit different, we’ve decided to have a theme to our posts this week. So when you’re done reading about our scented hearts experiment, you should head on over to check out:
Candy Heart Catapult: Measuring Distance from Stir the Wonder
Flying Cupids | Static Electricity for Valentine’s Day from The Science Kiddo
Lego Candy Box for Candy Hearts Building Challenge from Little Bins for Little Hands

STEM Saturday Scented Hearts (2)

For this experiment you’ll need a few things:
heart shaped plastic containers
white duct tape
cotton balls
various scents- I used peppermint extract, vanilla extract, and root beer concentrate however strawberry extract and various essential oils would also work
paper and pencil to record your predictions and observations
Finally, you’ll need a beloved family pet. A cat, dog, hamster…I would not recommend doing this with birds, reptiles, or anything aquatic.

A note: please remember to use your common sense and be safe. Do not let your pet chew on or ingest any of the supplies in this experiment. Do not preform this experiment with a pet that has respiratory issues. Do not use any scents that could cause respiratory problems or undo stress to your pet.
When done the right way, this can be a fun activity not just for you and your children, but also for your pet. If Fido isn’t having fun too, then you’re doing something wrong and need to re-evaluate.


First you’ll want to put a cotton ball in each heart shaped container. Add a few drops of scent to the cotton ball, then put the lid on and seal it shut with the duct tape. Give it a test sniff, you should still be able to get a vague wiff of the scent. Remember that your pet has a keener sense of smell than you do so vague to you might be strong to them. Try to guess which scent will be most appealing to your pet.

STEM Saturday Scented Hearts (10)

You’ll want to label your containers so you know which has which scent in it. We simply used different colored containers to tell them apart.

You’ll also want to leave one container empty (without scent) as your control.

STEM Saturday Scented Hearts (15)

Try to keep the number of scent options limited to 2-4. Any more than that will be too many.

Now that they are sealed properly, place them in front of your pet and see which scent they gravitate towards. Do this several times and record the results.
STEM Saturday Scented Hearts (26)

STEM Saturday Scented Hearts (27)

If you don’t have a pet to preform this experiment with, you might consider doing it with insects in your backyard. I happen to have a colony of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches and we preformed this experiment a second time with a handful of nymphs in various growth stages.
STEM Saturday Scented Hearts (17)
By putting all of the roaches in the center to start with and recording which scent that most of the roaches gravitated towards, we were able to take a guess at which scent they most liked as a species.
STEM Saturday Scented Hearts (19)

Check out what my STEM Saturday co-hosts are up to!
Candy Heart Catapult: Measuring Distance from Stir the Wonder
Flying Cupids | Static Electricity for Valentine’s Day from The Science Kiddo
Lego Candy Box for Candy Hearts Building Challenge from Little Bins for Little Hands

For more hands-on STEM exploration check out our STEM Saturday Pinterest Board!
Follow Sarah McClelland’s board Science Experiments for Kids on Pinterest.

Link up your STEM projects below!

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3 Comments to STEM Saturday: Scented Hearts Experiment

  1. […] Scented Hearts Experiment from Suzy Homeschooler […]

  2. […] Scented Hearts Experiment from Suzy Homeschooler […]

  3. Looks fun! What a creative science experiment that involves the whole family 🙂

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