March 3, 14
By Special Guest Miss Maris Haire
The bright minds at Perspectives Joslin were very excited to find out the experiment of the day – making slime! To begin, everyone wrote down what they thought a “polymer” was. We discovered that while we’ve heard this word before, we didn’t quite know what it meant! After sharing our hypotheses with each other, I explained that a polymer is a material that has long chains of molecules bound together. Now we were ready to investigate this further through experimentation.
We learned that making slime is a delicate art! First we all followed directions to make slime using glue, water, borax, and food coloring. We observed the mixture along to way to notice the effect of each ingredient. We figured out that borax was the key ingredient that turned the watery water/glue mixture into a slimey mass that could be picked up and stretched. Some then decided to get creative by adding more glue, water, borax, and food coloring to see the effect on their slime. After some individual experimentation, we came together as a group to talk about the differences in each other’s slime.
The girls noticed that some slime was much more firm than others, and tended to break rather than stretch very far. Other slime seemed to have a marbled color rather than a solid purple all the way through. And yet another was so watery that it was impossible to pick up! We named these specimen and took turns writing down observation in our journals. We hypothesized what may have made the slime take on those particular characteristics- was it too much water? Not enough borax? After hypothesizing individually, we discussed our theories. We learned that the first had too much borax, which was making the slime bind tightly together and therefore less able to stretch freely. The second hadn’t been well mixed between each step, which caused the color to marble. The last simply didn’t have enough glue! It was exciting to learn that there were scientific explanations for these differences. The girls then collectively recalled the proper procedure for making slime so that they could recreate the experiment if they wanted to. We made sure to note the importance of the order of ingredients!
To finish up the day, we discussed our new definition of polymers, and how it applied to the slime we made. We learned about other types of polymers such as plastics, Kevlar, and nylon. We also talked about solids, liquids, and gases, and how a polymer has some properties of both solids and liquids. We used the white board to draw containers of solids, liquids, and gases, and polymers. In the solids, we showed molecules tightly packed together in a uniform formation. In liquids, the molecules were close together, but they were in a completely random formation. They also took the shape of the container. The molecules in the gas were spread out randomly and filled the entire container. In a polymer, we drew long chains of connected molecules that took on the shape of the container.
Overall, the girls really enjoyed this fun learning experience!