Creating polymers was simple and extremely entertaining. I practiced the recipe (below) with my own kids before working with the 3rd graders in Brittney Royal’s class. The reason for completing this recipe in class was to have the kids learn the importance of the procedure in the Scientific Method. We put out the materials, posted the procedure on the web, and the groups were in charge of completing the experiment on their own.
Once the polymers were created a couple of questions were asked of the class:
- Is your “Flubber” a solid? Why?
- Is your “Flubber” a liquid? Why?
These questions caused silence to fall over the class. Because we created a polymer the students could see answers for both. The looks on their faces (as they were moving their “Flubber” in their hands) were priceless. Real critical thinking was taking place. After class, the students were asked to research and define polymers and give two characteristics of their “Flubber” that led them to the conclusion that they had created a polymer. They had to enter their answers onto our blog for this project.
- Elmer’s Glue® (4 oz bottle of Elmer’s Glue-All)
- Borax (a powdered soap found in the grocery store)
- Large mixing bowl
- Plastic cup (8 oz size works well)
- Measuring cup
- Food coloring
- Clean up materials (paper towels, wet wipes, etc.)
- Zipper-lock bag to store final product
1. This recipe is based on using a brand new 4 ounce bottle of Elmer’s Glue. Empty the entire bottle of glue into a plastic cup. Fill the empty bottle with warm water and shake (put the lid on first and then shake). Pour the glue-water mixture from the glue bottle into the cup and use the spoon to mix well.
2. Go ahead… add a drop or two of food coloring.
3. Measure 1/2 cup of warm water into the plastic bowl and add a teaspoon of Borax powder to the water. Stir the solution – don’t worry if all of the powder dissolves.
4. Carefully pour your glue and water solution into the plastic bowl. Be sure to watch the bowl as you are doing this. Once your entire cup has been emptied into the bowl, put your hands in the bowl and take some of the material out. Be sure to leave enough for each of your group members.
5. Store the final product in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Do not leave the material on tables, floors, or clothing. The food coloring that was used may leave a stain. Be sure to WASH YOUR HANDS!