This past week, our school was treated to some hands-on fun with science hosted by California State University at Long Beach (CSULB) latino students who are majoring in science and engineering (http://www.csulbmaes.org). This was their second visit to our campus. The college students worked with our students to create a chemical reaction using household ingredients. The result was a polymer ball (you know, those super bouncy balls!).
Students had a lot of fun and it was messy. But they did learn that when certain chemicals combine, they do have a chemical reaction. The entire event took about 45 minutes.
If you’re interested in having your students make their own polymer balls, here were the materials and steps needed.
Once the students were prepped about what they were going to do, the fun began!
When we arrived, each table area was set up for each student with two cups. One cup had borax and water, the other water and glue. There was another larger cup that had corn starch that each student would add later with a spoon. Each student was given a craft stick to stir and different food coloring bottles were at each table.
The first step is to stir the borax until it mostly dissolves.
The next step is to add one spoonful of cornstarch to the glue/water mix and stir until mixed well.
Now it is time to add food coloring to the glue/cornstarch mix. Stir well to get it the right color.
The mixes are now ready to be combined and have a chemical reaction!
Students used the craft stick and pour the borax/water mix into the mix of glue/cornstarch. Then they use the craft stick to stir vigorously until it begins solidifying.
Once the stirring has combined the two mixes well and it is becoming solid, students take it out and begin forming a ball shape.
However, if you didn’t stir well or didn’t dissolve the borax enough, you will get a sticky mess!
Finally, a polymer ball! The students took their polymer ball home in a baggie to share with their families. Also, I took lots of pictures and videos and sent them to parents via ClassDojo Story Posts.
If you’re feeling brave, go ahead and try it out!
Share your messy, fun science activities below!