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Oobleck…oob what?

February 14, 2009
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This week in my grade 5 natural science class we were talking about states of matter (i.e. solids, liquids, and gases). We talked about what each of the states of matter were and the characteristics of these states for example, solids have a specific shape and size, liquids have no shape, but they do have a specific size, and gases do not have shape and they grow to the size of a the container they are in. We had a little bit of fun trying to re-shape a bucket, pouring water from one container to another and then popping a balloon before the real fun began with the Oobleck.

For those of you that are up on your elementary science experiments, Oobleck is what you get when you mix corn starch, water, and green food colouring. It’s a green, slimey-like substance that is somewhat confused on what state of matter it wants to be. Oobleck will pour out of the bag like a liquid and spread on the table, but after it spreads so far, it stops and then when you touch it, it feels like a solid. You can move the goo around like a solid as long as you slide it (you can’t pick it up or it runs like liquid again) and then it will spread back out like a liquid after you’ve moved it around. My and Heather’s classes had a great time playing with this confused goo. (We don’t share a classroom anymore, but it’s more fun to do experiments with other people and it gave my kids a chance to teach the younger ones a little about what they were learning.) I think they all may have actually learned something in the process as well.

The highlight of the entire activity was actually not watching the kids play with the goo and make messes, it actually came in about the middle of the process. We had carefully paired up my older students with Heather’s younger students, trying to choose just the right students to work together. I had chosen my most patient and usually most responsible boy to help out Heather’s little boy whose most common English phrase is “Miss Rumley, why no break (recess) me?”. About 5 minutes after pouring the goo onto the table, Heather’s little boy was having a GREAT time and was actually following directions. About 10 minutes after pouring the goo on the table, he had lost his amazement and was putting the green goo all over his face. I looked at my student in disbelief of what was going on and he shouted to me “Miss Small…this guy…he’s like a young monkey!” I fell on the floor laughing so hard at Moeletsi’s EXTREMELY accurate description of the situation. He really was like a baby monkey that you just couldn’t keep from getting into mischief when there was a mess to be made.

All ended well. Everyone survived the mess, baby monkeys included and my room is now put back into its normal state of tidyness. I was however VERY thankful when Dorah, the cleaning lady walked in after school and said she was mopping the room after the children left for the day.Shew…what a fun activity, but it led to a couple of pretty worn out teachers…good thing we saved it for the end of the week ! 8)

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Nona Rumley permalink
    February 21, 2009 10:07 pm

    HaHa–is “the normal state of tidyness” another state of matter? Never studied that one in school:)

    Really though, it sounds like it was a GREAT time for all. Good job!!!

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