Here are some more details about the experiments we've done so far:


1. Measure 200 ml of water into a bowl.
2. Add cornstarch, (approximately 400g) a little at a time, until it forms a smooth, thick, and weirdly flexible batch of goo.
3. Write down your observations, using all your senses except your sense of taste. (How does it look, feel, sound? How does it respond to slow stirring? How does it feel if you punch it quickly? Try to float things on it. What floats? What sinks? Do you think this is a physical or chemical change?)

1. Imagination Station has some cool videos showing oobleck in action... including a man who runs across a whole swimming pool full of it!
2. Science Geist explains how cornstarch makes popcorn pop with a similar phenomenon!


1. Measure 10 ml of white glue into a beaker
2. Add 10 ml of water into the beaker and mix well.
3. In a separate container, mix 14 g of Borax into 200 ml of water. Don't worry if it doesn't totally dissolve. We are trying to make a SATURATED solution here. (Observe the temperature change as you hold the beaker during this step.)
4. Measure 10 ml of the Borax solution... Pour that into the beaker holding the glue/water mixture and stir quickly.
5. After about a minute, you can take it out of the beaker and gently work it with your fingers. It should stretch if you pull on it slowly and break if you pull it apart quickly.
6. Observe and compare to the ooblek we made last week. Do you think this is a physical or chemical change? Why or why not?

Check out this website for a good explanation of what is going on... Very Tiny Things, "Fun With Boron"

WEEK #3 - Density Column

1. First, predict what order these 3 liquids will stack up in a vertical container... water, oil and dishwashing liquid. BOTTOM _ MIDDLE _ TOP
2. Find the tare weight (empty weight) of a small container.
3. Fill with 10ml of water.
4. Find the mass (in grams) of the 10ml of water. MASS OF 10 ml OF WATER=
5. Calculate the density of water based on your calculations: (D=M/V) g/ml

6. Repeat for the other 2 liquids:
MASS OF 10 ml OF OIL = g


7. Revise your prediction if necessary.
8. Test your prediction by slowly pouring the 3 liquids on top of each other. (down the side of the container)
9. Conclusion: Was your prediction correct? What did you observe? _

10. Many students think that the thicker liquid is the most dense. Is this always true? (Y/N)
What is your evidence?

WEEK #4 - Hydrolysis of Water

1. Fill a beaker 1/2 way with tap water
2. Measure out 7g of baking soda and stir it into the water
3. Place a thin piece of cardboard (a paper plate will work) over the opening of the glass. Poke two thin electrical wires, approximately 1-2 feet/30-60cm long, through the cardboard about 2 inches/5cm apart so that one end of the wire is approximately 2-3 inches/5-7cm submerged in the water.
4. Wrap the other ends of the wires around the positive and negative terminals of a nine-volt battery

5. Write down your observations:

You should immediately see bubbles start to fizzle off of one wire. (If you don’t see bubbles, then check to make sure that your wires have a good connection to the battery, and that the battery still holds a charge.)
What’s happening here? These instructions are simple do-it-yourself electrolysis: when you electrocute water (which is made of hydrogen and oxygen), the electricity breaks apart water molecules. The bubbles you see are the hydrogen from the water being released. Salt water improves the electrolysis reaction - fresh water (like in the picture above, since cloudy salt water was difficult to photograph) will still give you bubbles of hydrogen, but it won’t be as impressive as with salt water.


Light from Candy - Try this experiment from Cool Science:

Candy Sparks
Candy Sparks

What you'll need:
  • Wint-O-Green or Pep-O-Mint Life Savers mints (regular, NOT sugar-free)
  • Optional- a sugar-free version of the same mint
  • Sugar cubes or ordinary table sugar
  • Pliers
  • Zip-Lock bags
  • A COMPLETELY dark room with no windows
Also be sure to ask your mom, dad or another adult to help- they'll want to watch anyway when you tell them how cool this experiment is!
Experimental Procedure:
  1. Put a Life Saver or sugar cube into a Zip-Lock bag, squeeze out most of the air and zip it closed.
  2. Take the bag with the candy inside into your dark room and wait a minute or two for your eyes to adjust to the darkness. [Note- you really need a VERY dark room to observe this experiment, as the light produced is not very bright, so it's best to try this at night and in a room with no windows. A closet is good, or a bathroom with a mirror.]
  3. Carefully place the candy in the jaws of the pliers (just like in the picture above), make sure your fingers are out of danger, then close the jaws and crush the candy... This also works by putting the candy in your mouth and chomping down hard on it. Look in the mirror and keep your mouth open while chomping, so you can see it.
  4. Repeat several more times with the broken pieces in the bag, then try a different type of candy.
  5. Try squeezing the broken chunks with only your fingers.
Observations: Does the candy glow in the dark before you crush it? Did you observe a flash of light as you crunched the candy with your pliers? It's not very bright, and it happens very quickly, but you should see a cool flash of light, almost like a spark. If it doesn't work at first, try again, and make sure the room is dark and your eyes are adjusted. What color is the light? Does it last very long? Does the candy get hot? Cold? If you have different types of candy or some sugar cubes, do you observe any differences in the light from each? If you have a sugar-free mint, does it make a flash of light too? If you have any other candies, try those and make observations.
What's Happening: This is not a magic trick or an optical illusion- you really did produce light from an ordinary piece of candy!. This is a demonstration of tribo-luminescence, which means to make light by rubbing, scratching or crushing something, which is very different from most of the ways you are familiar with to make light. Nothing is burning, glowing or getting hot like the filament in a light bulb (although there may be a little heat from the friction as the candy is crushed). It's also not a chemical reaction like the light-sticks you may have played with before. And though it does look sort of like the sparks you see when some metals (like iron) are scratched or scraped by very hard materials (like flint), those are actually produced by spontaneous combustion (burning) of the metal as freshly cut surfaces of very small pieces react with oxygen from the air.

Triboluminescence is not very well understood by scientists, but most think it is similar to the lightning you see during storms or during one of our cool electricity demonstrations, which is actually a type of plasma discharge. Many materials, like the sugar in this experiment, have a very special crystalline structure that causes electrons to be ripped away from the nucleus of their atoms. Since electrons have a negative electrical charge and the protons in the nucleus have a positive charge, separating these charges can create an electrical field strong enough to rip electrons off gas molecules in the air, a process called ionization, and creates a localized plasma. These plasma ions can then slam into other molecules and transfer energy which causes them to emit photons of light. Those are the flashes you observed. Most of the light energy is emitted in the ultraviolet (UV) part of the electromagnetic spectrum, which is just outside the range of light that is visible to humans, but fortunately there is a bit of violet and blue light that we can see.

You should have noticed that the flash of light from the Wint-O-Green Life Saver was significantly brighter, and may have also seemed to last a little longer. This is because wintergreen, the flavoring used in these mints, is a natural fluorescent dye called methyl salicylate. Fluorescent molecules can absorb energy of short wavelengths and emit their own light at a longer wavelength. In our experiment the wintergreen in the mint absorbs a lot of UV energy that we can't see, and emits greenish-blue light which we can see, so it appears much brighter to us.

Variations and Related Activities: Try this experiment with ordinary table sugar (which you will have plenty of after you crush all your sugar cubes). Put a few teaspoons into a clear glass cup or dish (a Pyrex measuring cup works great) and slowly grind the sugar with a metal spoon to observe flashes of blue light. Try powdered sugar.

Here's another way to demonstrate triboluminescence: Place a piece of Scotch tape onto a glass mirror or plate, then quickly rip it off in the dark. If you're lucky you should see a flash of light, but in our experience this experiment can be very finicky! Others have done this with Duct tape too.
As was mentioned earlier, triboluminescence is not fully understood. Most scientists believe air molecules play a role and that light should not be produced if the sugar is wet or under water, but we have observed flashes of light in both cases. What about other liquids? Humidity in the air can also affect the results (this is especially true for the scotch tape experiment). Let us know what you observe in your experiments

Links to more information and activities
Others instructions for this experiment:
Youtube video showing flashes of light from Duct tape:
X-rays from Scotch tape:

NY Times article that explains whats going on here: