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Goo-ology: Explor-ick

Activity Objectives

  • a. Students will learn about polymers.
  • Students will observe a chemical reaction causing a physical change.
  • Students will explore non-newtonian fluids.

Vocabulary/Literature Resource

  • Vocab: polymer, reaction, matter, non-newtonian

Materials Chart

Consumable supplies to gather and/or purchase:   

  • Borax
  • Glue—white, or clear PVA
  • baggies
  • disposable cups
  • food coloring   

Permanent supplies

  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • Mixing bowls

Activity Plan

  • Invite students to help measure and mix ingredients. ½ tablespoon of Borax is dissolved in ½ cup of warm water. ¼ cup of white glue (or PVA) is mixed with ¼ cup of warm water, and a few drops of food coloring. Mix borax solution with glue solution, until slime forms.
  • Ask students to state their observations about what happens. What changes? What stays the same? What is different between the slime made with the clear glue and the slime made with the white glue? What are some other things that are slimy? Is your slime a liquid or a solid? How far can you stretch the slime?
  • Background: The glue contains PVA, a polymer. The borax acts as a cross-linker, basically taking all of the PVA molecules and sticking them together into long chains. Polymers are big long chains of molecules—they are like solids, because they can hold their shape, but like liquids, they can take on the shape of their container as well! The polymer molecules are stretchy, but can still break apart when stretched too far, or too fast. This is a non-newtonian fluid, in that it doesn’t flow evenly—if you pull quickly, it snaps, but you can pull slowly and stretch the slime very far.
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