Welcome to Science Expeditions Extras! Dive deeper into your science kit’s theme and experiments. This month, learn a little extra about polymers.
Ooey, Gooey, Sticky Stuff
Slime is not the only thing filled with polymers. Many things in the world are made out of polymers—from cars, buildings, and toys to food, clothes, and animals. You, too, are filled with polymers! Some polymers are naturally occurring like the wool of a sheep or the exoskeleton of a lobster. Other kinds of polymers are human-made like the rubber tires on a bike or a plastic grocery bag. Explore more about polymers by checking out the fun facts and photo gallery below!
Gather the household items from the list below before you begin your experiments. Check off items as you go or print the list here. All other materials are included in your kit.
liquid laundry detergent OR contact lens solution
¼ measuring teaspoon
¼ measuring cup
food coloring (optional)
cup (large enough to hold bouncy ball mold)
sheet of paper
One of the most natural polymers is your DNA! DNA is made of long chains of nucleotides, basic units that code your body’s genes.
Oobleck, the non-Newtonian substance made of cornstarch and water, was named after the sticky green substance found in the famous Dr. Seuss book, Bartholomew and the Oobleck.
Half of what makes a piece of wood is cellulose, a polymer that provides stiffness to the plant. Cellulose is what makes paper (which is made of wood) strong and structured.
Aunt Charlie’s Corner
Expert tips to complete this month’s science experiments!
Sticky Science: Slime
Watch this experiment!
- Don’t forget to test your detergent before starting to make your slime. If your laundry detergent doesn’t work, try using contact lens solution instead.
- Remember to stir quickly and thoroughly as you add detergent to your cup of glue.
- Adding detergent in small increments to the glue mixture helps from oversaturating your slime and making it too soupy. You can always add more detergent, but can’t take it away!
Sticky Science: Oobleck
- Adding water in small increments to the cornstarch helps from oversaturating your oobleck. You can always add more water, but it’s harder to take away!
- If you do add too much water, add more cornstarch if you have extra or pour a little bit of water out while keeping the cornstarch in the bowl.
- Pack the bouncy ball tightly with powder. Remember to tap the mold on the surface as you fill it with powder to compress the polymer crystals.
- If you overfill the mold, gently pour out the powder.
- Be patient and let your bouncy ball mold sit in hot water for at least 5 minutes. The water activates the polymers, causing them to stick together! Reminder: Be careful when handling hot water. Do not touch with bare hands.
- Ask an adult to use a sharp edge to scrape off any rough parts of your bouncy ball after it has dried.
- Remember to refrigerate your bouncy ball to preserve its bounciness! Greasing it with lotion may also help.