Why Does Popcorn Pop?

Popcorn makes for a pretty delicious snack! But how does it go from being a little kernel of corn to a fluffy piece of popcorn?

Cyrus breaks down the science to help you understand a corn kernel’s amazing transformation into the snack we all love.

One Special Kernal

Can you believe this hard little kernel will turn into fluffy popcorn?

Popcorn is different than the corn you’re probably used to eating because it’s a special kind of corn that pops when heated. Can you imagine if all corn reacted to heat the same way? On super hot days, corn fields would become mountains and hills of popped corn!

The blue in the middle is a tiny drop of water. The white is starch and the yellow shell on the outside is called the hull.

It’s what’s on the inside that counts

Buried deep inside the center of a the kernel is a tiny drop of water. Starch, a white substance found in plants, surrounds the little droplet. It has no smell or taste. The outside of the kernel is a hard yellow shell called the hull.


Add some heat to the kernal and Voila! You have popcorn! Where’s the butter?

Things are about to get hot!

When the kernel is heated, the water drop turns into steam and pushes so hard on the hull that it explodes! Voila! Now you have fluffy popcorn.

A snack everyone can enjoy

Now that it’s popped, you can cover it with butter, salt, chocolate, caramel… well, you can cover it with lots of things and it’s always going to taste awesome! What’s your favorite topping?



Why Does Popcorn Pop?

Executive Producers
Jim Demetriades and Nikos Iatropoulos

Directed by
Joseph Rohrs and Luke Gschwend

Hosted by
Cyrus Rohrs

Written and edited by
Joseph Rohrs

Production Assistant
Gwynne Rohrs

Title Animation
Jonathan Reaux

Images and Footage

Cornfield/Corn Cob: Designed by Freepik

Sound Effects




“Wonderopolis is brought to life by the National Center for Families Learning.”


Licensed through Audiojungle: Funny Comedy

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