Thursday, October 8, 2009

"Slime Time"

Yep, that was the name of our chemistry experiment today. Because we're all about classy.

For science this year we're studying chemistry. The boys immediately envisioned a mad scientist's lab, with test tubes, beakers, bunsen burners, boiling liquids, and the occasional explosion to liven things up... think "Flubber". They were somewhat disappointed by the mundane appearance of our tools and materials. But that's changing...

They're having a great time with the experiments in this book:

Fizz, Bubble and Flash, by Anita Brandolini, is part of a series marketed for 7-14 year-olds. But don't be fooled by the cartoons and funny rhymes, there's good science in there :0)

We're working our way through the Periodic Table, and were talking about the Metalloids today. (That would be Boron, Silicon, Germanium, Arsenic, Antimony, Tellurium and Polonium... but you knew that.)

Boron is useful when it's laundry time,
And a crucial ingredient in our favorite slime.
Put borax in water and mix it with glue
To get he most curious, glorious goo!

So we did.

Wyatt was my photographer and took this picture looking into his cup, to see the slime developing.

Tate definitely looks like a mad scientist!

Gunnar, cheerfully molding his slime around his finger.

And my glitter-glue slime.

The book not only has fun experiments, it also explains the science behind them at a kid level. For instance...

"... glue is made of long, stringy molecules called polyvinyl alcohol. Borax links these strings together, forming a net. The water molecules get trapped inside, so the slime feels wet." This is accompanied by a cartoon picture of borax molecules holding a glue "net" around a bunch of water molecules.

We've also:

* separated water molecules into Hydrogen and Oxygen

* explored the effect of salt on ice in an edible (and delicious!) experiment that we've already repeated

* investigated cholorphyll (and other pigments) using paper chromatography

* compared the bubbling ability of hard and soft water, with and without calcium sulfate

* prepared our own pH indicator and tested acids and bases around the house

I think this book will keep us busy until about Thanksgiving, leaving the rest of the year to play around with Janice VanCleave's 101 Chemistry Experiments for Every Kid.


leah said...

I love science! And chemistry is loads of fun- the crystals you can grow, the reactions you can make...

Plus, you can freak people out simply by knowing the chemical names for things. WATCH OUT- that's DIHYDROGEN MONOXIDE! Which is, of course, water. But dihydrogen monoxide sounds a lot cooler.

Even as a grown-up writing MSDS sheets (Material Safety Data Sheets) for medical device products (I contract from home) there is something a little thrilling about writing all the doom and gloom warnings for chemicals. Though, of course, if you read the MSDS for sodium chloride, it will scare the pants off you (WARNING: HEALTH HAZARD), lol!

The biochemist in me can't resist these posts. Now I want to go make some slime.

Cutzi said...

Thanks for the recommendation! This one might get added to Abbey and Gabe's Christmas gifts.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

We're having a great time with science. Of course, the boys' favorite is probably biology, preferably with live animals (like all the lizards they catch), but chemistry has great potential for the kind of mayhem they love :0)

Leah, I didn't know you wrote MSDS sheets. I've seen a funny one for Dihydrogen Monoxide, but you've probably seen it too.

Cutzi, the book is great. Your kids would probably enjoy it too when they're a bit bigger.

Ann said...

Oh, I've had such fun making that stuff before! We used to do it at Mother's Day Out with our four-year-olds, and they thought it was the neatest thing in the world!

Anita Brandolini said...

Hi - I'm the author of "Fizz, Bubble, & Flash", and I want to thank you for your kind remarks about my book. And I'm happy that you find it useful and informative! You may be want to check out my blog "Dr. B's Science Lab" which can be found at This is a completely noncommercial site that discusses a different topic (nearly) every month. Hope you find it interesting!