Oobleck Science: Solid or Liquid? Activity

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Updated on Apr 11, 2016

Did you know that matter is malleable? From icing snow to help it melt to boiling an egg, people change matter every day without even realizing it. When matter undergoes a chemical change, it can’t be changed back to its original condition. You see this transformation happen with rusted metal, burnt wood, and spoiled food.

Chemical reactions also happen when something is broken down or apart, and new matter takes its place. Examples of this include a candle that’s lit and a melting glacier.

Oobleck is a substance that’s somewhere between a liquid and a solid. It pours like a liquid but acts like a solid when you squeeze it. Follow the recipe to make this amazing oobleck and kick-start a fascinating conversation (or unit) about changing states of matter.

What You Need:

  • Newspaper
  • Bowl
  • Cornstarch (1 cup)
  • Water
  • Recyclable plastic tub
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Old clothes or smock (optional)

What You Do:

  1. Lay the newspaper down to cover your work surface.
  2. Have your child pour 1 cup of cornstarch into the bowl.
  3. Help him add in water slowly, until the mixture is thick (about the consistency of syrup).
  4. Stir a couple of drops of food coloring into the mixture, if your kid wants it to be a certain color.
  5. Encourage him to squeeze the oobleck between his fingers, asking him questions about the experience. Some great examples include: Can you shape the oobleck into a ball? What happens when you squeeze it in your fingers?
  6. Have your child pour the mixture into the plastic tub. What happens?
  7. With your child, experiment with the oobleck. Have him make it into a ball and throw it into the air. Encourage him to leave it out in the sun. Tell him to try to bounce the oobleck. After each experiment, discuss what’s happened with your kid.
Alicia Danyali, BS Elementary Education, taught primary-level students for four years at the International School of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The last four years of her teaching career, she taught at the Washington International School in Washington, D.C. She recently completed writing a series of children's picture books and is a mother of one young son.

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