Week Seventy-Seven: Slime Science

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February 19, 2019 by libraryheather

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Program Title:
Slime Science

Target Age Range: 4th – 6th Grade

Program Length: 90 minutes

Brief Description: Explore the ooey gooey science of polymers by making different types of slime.

Supplies:
-(1) gallon Elmer’s school glue (white)
-(1) 8oz bottle Elmer’s school glue (white)
-(2) Green Slime Kits from Steve Spangler Science
-(6) 16oz boxes of cornstarch
-(3) 1 liter bottles tonic water
-(50) Ziploc sandwich bags
-(72) Ziploc snack bags
-(1) box of Borax
-(12) large mason jars
-(50) jumbo craft sticks (for stirring)
-(6) aluminum lasagna pans (can get from dollar store)
-Black light
-(25) plastic cups
-(1) medium-sized bowl
-Water
-(1) plastic spoon
-(1) paper plate
-(1) jar iron filings
-Neodymium magnet
-Disposable plastic painter’s sheeting (enough to cover all table tops and floor space that will be used)
-Duct tape or masking tape for holding down the plastic sheeting
-Paper towels
-Baby wipes – 1 package per table
-Measuring cups
-Measuring spoons
-Printed instructions of each experiment – 1 per table
-Experiment Observation Grid – 1 per table
-Pencils or pens – 1 per group
-Laptop hooked up to a projector with sound

Cost: $50-100

Advanced Preparation:
Create an Experiment Observation Grid like the one on Science Buddies’ post. Print out at least one copy per table/group.

Create instruction sheets for each experiment, simplifying/clarifying the language from the Scientific American and Science Buddies websites as necessary. Print out one copy per table/group.

Label each team’s mason jars with the solutions they will hold, per the instructions on Science Buddies’ post.

Cover the entire floor space with disposable plastic painter’s tarp. Hold down with masking tape or duct tape.

Cover each table with disposable plastic painter’s tarp. Hold down with masking tape or duct tape.

Separate all of the supplies (except the liquid stuff, which you can dole out at the front of the room) each group will need into an aluminum pan. These would be things like all of the instructions, plastic cups, measuring spoons, mason jars, baby wipes, and craft sticks. Put one pan out on each table.

Program Outline:
1. Settling in, welcome, introductions: 5 minutes.

2. Polymers Explanation/Videos (see Special Instructions and Procedures below): 10 minutes.

3. Magnetic Slime demonstration: 10 minutes.

4. Glowing Oobleck group project (see Special Instructions and Procedures below): 20 minutes.

5. Bouncy Polymer group experiment (see Special Instructions and Procedures below): 30 minutes.

6. Talk about results of the Bouncy Polymer experiment: 5 minutes.

7. PVA Slime individual experiment (see Special Instructions and Procedures below) and help cleaning up as time allows: 10 minutes.

Handouts: Instructions for each experiment, Experiment Observation Grid.

Special Instructions and Procedures:
Explanation and Discussion of Polymers:
For this program, we primarily used videos to explain the science behind polymers and slime. This video has a great demonstration of polymers and how they form. We also used this video, which shows someone making Borax Ooze and an explanation of the science behind what’s happening. If your group doesn’t have the time or patience for two videos, though, we really liked the uncooked vs. cooked pasta explanation found from the Museum of Science.

Glowing Oobleck:
We used these instructions for Edible Glowing Oobleck. Each table was a “team.” Each team got a disposable foil pan, a 16oz box of corn starch, and 2 cups of tonic water. They used their hands to mix it up (that’s what’s shown in the photo for this post). They were told to explore this fun, non-Newtonian fluid by smacking the surface with the palm of their hand versus laying their hand on the oobleck. We then turned off the lights and brought a black light around to each table to see if it glowed.

Bouncy Polymer:
Again, each table worked as a team. They had printed instructions (per the Science Buddies post) which they were instructed to read carefully. Teammates had to prepare the 50% glue solution in one jar and 4% Borax solution in the other jar–staff assisted with pouring the glue into measuring cups. They then took turns testing the different ratios of glue and Borax solutions in individual plastic bags and recording their results. Everyone was instructed to wipe off their hands with baby wipes as well as possible before washing their hands.

PVA Slime:
We bought “Green Super Slime” and “Slime Activator” through Steve Spangler Science to give the kids a quick, easy, high-quality PVA slime to take home. Each child was given a cup and jumbo craft stick. Staff measured and poured ingredients into each cup assembly-style. The kids mixed up the solution with the craft stick and voila! Slime! They were able to take it home in a zip-top baggie.

Resources Used:
Museum of Science: Slime Chemistry

Science Bob: Starch Slime

Scientific American: Playing With Polymers

Science Buddies: Bouncy Polymer Chemistry

YouTube: University of Hull – Science and Engineering: What is Slime? An Explanation of Polymers

YouTube: The Sci Guys: Exploring Polymers By Making Borax Ooze (2:01-3:10)

YouTube: Steve Spangler: Science of Slime

Steve Spangler: Slime Party

Steve Spangler: Magnetic Slime

Fun at Home With Kids: Glowing Oobleck

American Chemical Society: The Science of Slime!

Additional Resources:
Left Brain Craft Brain: Heat Sensitive Color Changing Slime

What we would do differently:
This program worked pretty well as-is. The “glowing oobleck” was not particularly glow-y (or maybe our black light wasn’t strong enough), but we would still recommend making pans of oobleck in groups. Kids love oobleck–all kids, all ages. The magnetic slime wasn’t very strong (despite using a very strong magnet), but it was still kinda cool. We wanted to do the Heat-Sensitive Color Changing Slime experiment, but we couldn’t get the thermochromatic pigment in time. Hopefully we’ll be able to try that next time!

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of covering your floors and tables with something disposable. Slime will get everywhere, and there is literally nothing better than gathering it all up in one fell swoop to throw it away. Wasteful? Yes. Time and energy saving? Yes.

Adaption for older/younger audience:
With more direct adult involvement and less group activity (more demonstrations, more hands-on play time with the goo), you could easily tailor this to a younger audience. The PVA Slime from Steve Spangler is particularly simple, and would be ideal for K-3rd.

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