The Science of Gumdrops.

According to, February 15 is National Gumdrop Day! And, also according to them, many people believe Percy Trusdale invented the gumdrop in 1801. That’s 219 years ago. Thank you for these dome-shaped fruity and spicy candies, Percy!

Maybe one of your favorites from the 1800s is listed on

Here are a few…
1848 – The State of Maine Spruce Gum made from tree sap
1854 – Whitman’s Chocolates in packaged boxes
1864 – Cella’s Cherries invented the first chocolate covered liquid center cherry
1868 – Cadbury’s invented the first Valentine’s Day box of chocolates
1880s – Wunderle Candy Company creates candy corn
1893 – Quaker City Confectionary Company introduces Good & Plenty
1893 – William Wrigley, Jr. rolls out Wrigley’s Spearmint and Juicy Fruit Chewing Gums
1896 – Leo Hirshfield creates Tootsie Rolls

My research also led me to the creation of New England Confectionery Company’s (NECCO’s) still-ever-popular conversation hearts starting in 1847. Oliver Chase, a Boston pharmacist was looking for a way to get in on the apothecary lozenge craze. He invented a machine that rolled lozenge dough. He pressed wafers into discs thereby creating the first candy-making machine in America. Those discs are the NECCO wafers. His brother, Daniel, discovered a way to print messages on the candy in 1866. They became available in the heart shapes we know today in 1902.

In class, we’ll talk about the history of the gumdrop and conversation hearts. Then we’ll use them with two awesome (AND free) resources I found on I know my Kinder kids will love building, graphing, counting and sorting with them. I’m guessing a few will be taste tested, too!

For the gumdrops, we’ll use “Gumdrop Structure Inquiry Challenge” and for the conversation hearts, we’ll work on sorting, counting and graphing with “Valentine’s Day – Conversation Heart Math Fun.”

It’s going to be a sweet celebration together, for sure.