lesson plans and activities

Making Oobleck at Home: Fun with Physics!

Making Oobleck at Home: Fun with Physics!

Learn about states of matter--by making Oobleck! 

Age: Grades 4-6

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Activity Time: 30-60 minutes

Materials:

  • Water (1 cup)
  • Corn Starch (1 1/2 - 2 cups)
  • Food Coloring (optional)
  • Large Bowl
  • Mixing Spoon
  • Container (Large enough to fit 4 cups)

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  • Add water to the bowl.
  • Add the corn starch in small amounts to the bowl. Begin mixing with the mixing spoon and eventually you may use your hand.
  • Continue mixing until the consistency of the Oobleck reaches a consistency that is both liquid when poured but also solid when grabbed. It should be a gooey consistency, not powdery and not wet in the sense that it will splash when hit.
  • Add food coloring to the Oobleck and thoroughly mix with your hand.
  • Play with your Oobleck! See Suggested Activities below.
  • Store your Oobleck in an airtight container to save for later!

 Suggested Activities:

  • Try stirring the Oobleck. Stir quickly, it should act like a solid and resist. Stir slowly, it should act like a liquid and give way.
  • Grab a handful of Oobleck, squeeze it, and let it flow out of your fingers.
  • Slowly dip your and into the Oobleck (It should act like a liquid).
  • Punch the Oobleck (It should feel solid).
  • Shake your Oobleck in a container.
  • Compare Oobleck to solid water (ice) and liquid water.
  • Design other experiments to test how Oobleck behaves like a solid or a liquid, record your findings!

Photo credit:  David Mudler (Flickr)

Key Information:

  • Everyday materials generally fit into one of three states of matter: Solid, Liquid, Gas
    • Solid – Definite shape and volume; rigid; not easily compressible; does not flow easily
    • Liquid – No definite shape, but definite volume; non easily compressible; flows easily
    • Gas – No definite shape or volume; assumes the shape and volume of the container it is in; compressible; flows easily
  • Sir Isaac Newton proposed that fluids flow at a predictable, and constant rate. Many fluids, such as liquid water, behave this way.  Oobleck does not behave this way.
  • Oobleck is a non-Newtonian fluid that has properties of both liquids and solids. This means that it acts like a liquid when being poured, but like a solid when a force is acting on it.
    • Non-Newtonian fluids respond differently depending on how quickly you try to move them. Non-Newtonian fluids act as liquids when moving slowly but like a solid when moving quickly.
  • Oobleck gets its name from Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss.
  • Other common non-Newtonian fluids include, ketchup, mayonnaise, and jelly. What other non-Newtonian fluids can you find around your home?

 

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