Three Ways to Learn While Making Slime
I wanted to figure out what all the fuss was about. Now I was deeply regretting it. My hands were basically glued together.
At the start of the summer, I decided to make slime. All my students were obsessed with it. Some even creating "slime shops" the modern day version of a lemonade stand.
I looked up the most basic slime recipe that didn't involve anything harmful or dangerous, gathered the materials, and got to work.
I stirred the ingredients together carefully, just like I had seen in a video. As I began to add the activator the slime seemed to be taking shape. I thought that surely it was ready to be taken out of the bowl and handled. I had seen that some slimes do better if you kneaded them in your hands like bread.
As soon as my hands made contact with the slime I knew that it wasn't ready yet. But, it was too late. The slime was already stuck to my hand. In an attempt to help the slime stiffen up, I used my other hand to try to "knead" it. Disaster.
Eventually, I was able to scrape most of the slime off my hands and back into the bowl. I added more contact solution (the activator), and more still, until I was a little more sure that it was ready. I even added some contact solution to my hands before picking the blue slimy blob up again. This time, the slime was the consistency that I imagined it should be and I was able to stretch and play with it without it getting stuck to my hands.
Though my (only slightly) disastrous experience making slime, I began to realize what a great learning opportunity slime making is for students of all ages. The best part? It's so fun that kids might not even realize that they are learning!
Thinking of making slime this summer? Try to incorporate these three learning opportunities when mixing up that sweet slimy goop.
1. Math and measurements
To make most slimes you must follow a recipe. Help your child pay attention to the way the ingredients are measured. Often a slime recipe will call for 1/2 cup of glue. This is a great way to have a conversation about fractions as well as accurate measurements.
To take it a step further, have your child half, double, or triple a slime recipe depending on how much slime you want to make. This will require using multiplication, division, and fraction skills.
2. The scientific method
If your child is really into making different types of slime, you are in a great position to introduce them to the scientific method. Help your child decide on a type of slime they would like to make (smooth/glossy, sticky, hard, stretchy etc.) then guide them to make a hypothesis about what they could add to their slime recipe to get the desired result. After hypothesizing, let them test it out. When done, help your child determine whether their hypothesis was correct. If it wasn't, it's back to the drawing board to make and test a new one. Though this process may take a while, it is a great way to dip a toe into science experiments.
3. Chemical changes
Making slime presents an opportunity to discuss the difference between chemical and physical changes. You can't make slime out of just anything. You have to have specific ingredients with specific properties in order for the reactions to happen (mainly the reaction between PVA and borite). Help your child research what happens when the ingredients of slime combine, and why liquid ingredients come together to make a slimy substance. I liked the way that this blog introduces some of the science concepts behinds slime.
Have fun making slime this summer. I can almost guarantee that you will love it just as much as your child! **Just remember that depending on the slime recipe you use, you could be using chemicals that could put your child at risk. Please make sure to do your research!**