Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wednesday Explorers Club - Making Oobleck

A couple weeks ago I posted a review of  Charlotte the Scientist is Squished,  - so I thought it would be fun to do some experiments using the scientific method. The "Scientific method" is an outline (or flowchart) that describes how scientists develop hypothesis, test their ideas, and come to conclusions.

Our experiment: making Oobleck. All you need is water and a box of cornstarch. Warning: do not dispose of cornstarch experiments down your sink; they could clog your drain. Wrap them up and throw them away.

Question: What happens if I mix cornstarch in water?
Hypothesis: If I make it thick enough, it will probably be gluey.
Experiment: Start with 1/2 cup water and 3/4 to 1 cup cornstarch. Pour the water into a bowl, and then add the cornstarch. Stir well.
Observe and record:
  • What does it feel like? 
  • Can it stretch? Bounce? 
  • Can it pour? 
  • Is it solid? 
  • What happens if you pour it onto a cookie sheet and hit it with a hammer?
  •  What happens if you put it into the refrigerator? 
  • What happens if you add more cornstarch? More water? 
  • What if you divide it in half and leave one part out in the air and another part inside a ziplock bag? 
  • How long does it last? 
  • Does it get moldy?
Analyze: This is where you draw some conclusions about this non-Newtonian  fluid that acts liquid when you gently put your hands into it, but acts solid when you squeeze or hit it.
Share Results: Scientists write articles. You could take a photo of your oobleck and write a brief note about it and give it to a friend.

You can find more things to do with oobleck here. Find out more about non-Newtonian fluids here.

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