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Monday, August 15, 2011

¡Flubber Fantastico!

It's a classic!  And I'm sure it must account for at least 97% of sales for Borax. What could be more fun than smooshing and dripping this flexible goop? It's something in between a solid and a liquid.

Here's what you need:  

1 teaspoon borax (in the laundry section)
1 cup water
1 small bowl
a small bowl or cup for each child
spoon, or popsicle sticks for stirring (per child)
2 tablespoons white glue (per child)
food coloring

Here's What You Do:

*Measure the borax and the water into one of the bowls and your child can stir with a spoon or popsicle stick until the borax is dissolved.
*In each child's separate bowl, measure the white glue and add a few drops of food coloring.
*Add 1 tablespoon of the borax and water mixture to the colored glue mixture and have your child stir well.  Magic happens here!
*Take the mixture out of the bowl and knead it in your hands.

What Happened?

You have just created a type of plastic! The molecules in plastics are made up of long chains of molecules called polymers. When these polymer chains are joined they become very strong.  Some plastics are hard, like a bike helmet--or very soft and pliable--like your flubber. 

Basic Science Vocabulary: 

Molecule: the smallest part of a substance that has all the properties of the substance.
Dissolve: one substance, (such as borax breaking apart) and going into another substance, (such as the water) and making a solution.
Chemical Reaction: when two or more chemicals (in this experiment the water, glue and borax) are combined and the combination creates a new substance.

Polymer:  a plastic substance made up of long chains of molecules.

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