Slimey Mass

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!

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Slime at Woodson!

February 28th was a busy day for many of our students who could not make it to our session-all except 6th grader, with perfect attendance, Ashanta Dean. It is tough being the only one in the classroom, so STEM Facilitator, Tolu Rosanwo made sure to have a super fun lesson for our superstar! So, they decide to make SLIME!

6th grader, Ashanta Dean

6th grader, Ashanta Dean

They began with a lesson about the basic states of matter: solid, liquid and gas. Ashanta also learned a new word, “viscosity” which means, “the resistance to flow.” In order to test if she had the concept down, Tolu gave had a choose which fluids were more viscous. In the picture below, Ashanta is deciding whether maple syrup is more viscous than water.

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Is water more or less viscous than maple syrup?

The answer was, “Maple Syrup!” She was right!

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Ashanta is all smiles for understanding a concept!

Once Ashanta understood viscosity, she performed a slimey experiment. Slime can be made using Elmer’s glue, borax, a salt, water, and a little bit of food coloring.

Ashanta mixing everything together.

Ashanta mixing everything together.

After mixing the reactants together, we are left with a slimey product. Ashanta observed that you can pick up slime like a solid but it also conforms to whatever container it is placed in, like a liquid.

Is it a solid? Is it a liquid?

Is it a solid? Is it a liquid?

Stretchy slime!

Stretchy slime!

The slime is a polymer that has both fluid and solid-like properties. Intrigued by the slime, Ashanta  wrote down her observations and wanted to investigate what would happen if more borax was added when preparing the slime. She predicted, that the slime will become more viscous. She repeated the experiment in order to test her hypothesis.

Writing observations like any good scientist!

Writing observations like any good scientist!

After adding the 2x more borax for the second trial of the experiment, Ashanta stretched the slime as far as she could without breaking it and measured the differences in length between the slimes.

Measuring the differences in length

Measuring the differences in length

Once she measured the differences in length, Ashanta then plotted the values on the board. She and her STEM facilitator talked about the differences between independent and dependent variables, and she decided that the amount of borax added would be the independent variable because the stretch of the slime changed due to how much borax was added! What a scientific thinker she is!

How does Borax affect the length of slime?

How does Borax affect the length of slime?

Twice as borax added to the mixture decreased the stretch of the slime by about half. Ashanta also observed that the polymer was much less fluid and viscous. With two different slime puddies to take home, plotted to throw some at her cousins! But, after reading her journal entry, her STEM facilitator felt confident that Ashanta had learned a bit that day!

Ashanta's journal entry

Ashanta’s journal entry

Who knew that slime could not only be fun but educational?! Science is fun with Sisters4Science!

Tolu Rosanwo

New Facilitator!

By Alondra

Although the girls understood that there was going to be a new facilitator, I was still nervous. I thought of so many ways to present myself: nice, funny, or even strict. It was nerve wrecking. Fortunately, Marilee , their previous facilitator, instructed them very well.

Badges had been introduced during their previous class, so they were excited to know when the first badge was going to be awarded. I told them that during the first week the Communication Badge was going to be awarded. I also had them read and explain the criteria so they would understand better.

The girls began class a little shy, but throughout the day their attitudes changed. I decided to let them vote on the activity for the day; the options were either building straw bridges or making slime. All of them voted for slime. They worked as a team:

Team work makes the dream work!

Team work makes the dream work!

First, Lesly helped me set up the equipment. But the other girls wanted to help too so I gave them each a different task. They each read a step and completed what it said; then, as Jade read the instructions, Denise would follow them and complete the step. I was amazed at how they understood each other, sometimes without using words. The girls were interested in knowing exactly what made the slime stretch more or make it “softer” like Jade said. So I allowed them to experiment it themselves.

Jade exploring!

Here Jade decides to submerge her slime into water and borax. When I asked her what had happened to it, she said, “It became softer.”

Lesly trying to see how far her slime stretched.

Lesly trying to see how far her slime stretched.

Lesly had something a little different in mind. She wanted to know how far her slime would stretch without breaking. Her conclusion was , “the more I have it in my hands the faster it breaks.”

They then helped me clean up and we headed to lunch where we got to tell each other what we liked and what we didn’t. By that time the girls seemed more relaxed and laughed much more than at the beginning. When I asked who thought they deserved the Communication Badge they all raised their hand, but of course they all made sure to look over the criteria first. Towards the end we played charades and hang man: There the girls really let themselves go. As they shared their journals I realized that I didn’t have to be so nervous because they thought that having a new member in their group wasn’t so bad. Knowing that they felt comfortable with me and that they had fun learning makes me look forward to the future classes with my curious explorers!

Jade, Lesly, Denise

Jade, Lesly, Denise