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