Monday, August 30, 2010


Today we had an experimental playdate. Basically, our good friends invited us over to make some big messes at their house in the name of science. We used this book to guide us:

We found that the instructions were clear to follow, with very age-appropriate activities and descriptions.

Our first order of business was to get some homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream going in the ice cream maker. The kids clamored to take turns adding ingredients and loved watching the concoction spin around on the counter. This was sort of a side project to the main event, but food science is a fascinating discipline that should never be overlooked! Following a protocol, making discreet measurements, and often, applying temperature change to cause phase transition--baking is such a relevant way to subtly introduce good scientific practices to kids!

Anyway, for our main projects, we really played to our target audience and decided to make slime and snot.


This didn't turn out quite how we adults were envisioning, but it was definitely cool. Cornstarch was the main ingredient here, which made the mixture solid in the bowl, but slimy when you tried to pick it up.

Next up, snot:

OK, this had more the consistency we were expecting for slime. But it was also stretchy, and well, snot-like, I guess. This one was made with unflavored gelatin, which gave it a bit of an unpleasant odor, but was definitely fun to play with.

Also fun? Mixing our polymers into one big slimy mess!

The book gave a very nice blurb about how polymers were made and why our slime and snot had the unique physical properties that they did. I'm not sure the kids were really too interested in that, though. Not when they were being actively encouraged to get messy!

We had been hoping to make a soda bottle geyser to cap off our morning of mess, but we had to put that off for another day. Before our playdate ended, we were all able to have a nice bowl of our homemade ice cream. The kids were pretty excited to not only have dessert before lunch, but to know that they all played a part in making our treat. Thank you to our friends for a fun morning...and sorry about the state of your kitchen after our little get together.


Nan M Gough said...

Fabulous! We will definitely try to make these delicacies!

Julie said...

Very cool! I am planning to order 2 copies of the book- one for Caroline and one for my nephew who is always looking to concoct somethings. Thanks for the Christmas gift ids. Have you see the Science They must be Giants CD- may order that too. Who can beat a song about the elements. The chem E in my loves it!