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Making Fake Snot!
Molecules, as you may already know, are groups of atoms bonded together. Water, or H2O, is a molecule made of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. The oxygen gas we inhale (O2) is a molecule made of two oxygen atoms bonded together. Water and oxygen gases are made up of small molecules, but many complex molecules found in living things are gigantic by comparison! For example, each molecule of the sugar found in many of our favorite treats contains 12 carbon atoms, 24 hydrogen atoms, and 12 oxygen atoms. But molecules can get a whole lot bigger than that, especially when they form long chains of identical smaller molecules repeated over again called polymers. The proteins, carbohydrates, and fats we eat are all polymers, which our digestive system breaks down into smaller, more useful pieces. Our body also makes big molecules, including the sugars and proteins dissolved in water that form the mucus that sometimes fills our noses.
The not so nice, but better known word for nose mucus is snot. Would you like to learn how to make fake snot by mixing together some common ingredients in your kitchen? After you gross out yourself, your family, and your friends, you can investigate how to break down the pretend snot you created. Who knows—maybe someday, you’ll invent the next great cold medicine!
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