Is it a solid, a liquid, or a gas? Investigate the three states of matter by measuring and mixing ingredients for two types of slime. Students are encouraged to dive hands-first into this interactive lab! Register today!
Cost: $6 per student
Standard labs are booked for a minimum of 15 students with a minimum price of $90.
Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations, Science v.1.09
- Make purposeful observation of the natural world using the appropriate senses. (S.IP.00.11; S.IP.01.11)
- Manipulate simple tools (for example: hand lens, pencils, balances, non-standard objects for measurement) that aid observation and data collection. (S.IP.00.14; S.IP.01.14)
- Matter exists in several different states: solids, liquids and gases. Each state of matter has unique physical properties. Gases are easily compressed but liquids and solids do not compress easily. Solids have their own particular shapes, but liquids and gases take the shape of the container. (P.PM.E.2)
Students participating in this program will explore science content as stated in the Disciplinary Core Ideas. They will engage in science and engineering practices as they plan and conduct investigations to answer questions regarding matter.
Next Generation Science Standards
PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter
- Different kinds of matter exist and many of them can be either solid or liquid, depending on temperature. Matter can be described and classified by its observable properties.
- Matter of any type can be subdivided into particles that are too small to see, but even then the matter still exists and can be detected by other means. A model showing that gases are made from matter particles that are too small to see and are moving freely around in space can explain many observations, including the inflation and shape of a balloon and the effects of air on larger particles or objects.
Slime Time! Pre-Visit Information
During Your Visit to the ScienceWorks Lab students will be expected to:
- Sit in tables of 6 students and (at least) 1 adult
- Students should be prepared to give their attention to the Lab instructors when requested to “Give Me Five”
- Work cooperatively with one another at the table
- Follow the hands-on procedures just as the Lab teacher or assistant explains them
- Handle materials and equipment carefully
It is important that teachers and chaperones:
- Help to focus the students’ attention
- Assist students with the hands-on activities and experiments when necessary
- Turn off cell phones and pagers during the class
Please be aware that slime can be messy. Our slime ingredients include cornstarch, water, Elmer’s School Glue and a small amount of Borax powder – all of which are safe to use and will come out of your clothing. At the end of the class, the Lab teacher will provide a brief wrap-up and ask students to help with the clean-up. Due to the messy nature of slime, students will not be permitted to take their slime out of the ScienceWorks classroom. They will be given the recipes to make both types of slime again at home.
Fluid: A fluid is something that flows and takes the shape of whatever container it is in. Liquids, such as water, are fluids. So are gases, such as the helium in a balloon.
Gas: A gas is a form of matter with no definite size or shape. Gases move about freely and take the size and shape of whatever container you put them in. The air we breathe is a gas.
Liquid: A liquid is a form of matter with a definite size but no definite shape. Liquids flow and take the shape of their containers. Water is a liquid.
Matter:Matter is anything that has weight and takes up space. All things are made of matter, including liquids, solids and gases.
Non-Newtonian Fluids: Non-Newtonian fluids don’t follow the rules of how liquids should behave. Instead, they’re somewhere in between a liquid and a solid. Jell-O, slime and quicksand are non-Newtonian fluids.
Solid: A solid is a form of matter with a definite size and shape. The shape of a solid is not easily changed. A rock is a solid.
Slime Time! Post-visit Activity: Kid Molecules
Post-visit activities will help reiterate new concepts and tie the ScienceWorks Lab experience to your classroom curriculum. Below you will find a classroom activity and a list of suggested resources for further information. We hope that you enjoyed your field trip. Visit us again!
What is matter? Why is some matter solid (like a rock), some liquid (like orange juice) and some gas (like the air we are breathing right now)? It has to do with molecules!
Matter is everything around you that takes up space – air, cars, elephants, candy, milkshakes and you. Matter is usually something you can see, feel, or lift. Matter can be solid, liquid, or gas. Do you remember what solids are like? Solids have a size and shape that always stays the same. Chocolate cake is a solid. What’s a liquid? Liquids have a size that always stays the same, but they take the shape of whatever container you put them in. Milk is a liquid. Gases always become the size and shape of the container you put them in. The helium in a balloon is a gas.
Matter is made up of molecules – tiny, tiny things that make up all of the stuff around us. Solids, liquids and gases are different from one another because the molecules that they are made of act differently. They move around each other in different ways.
We can’t see molecules without the help of a very powerful microscope, but let’s try an activity that will show us how they behave.
- Select a group of 5 or 6 children to be your molecules. Have them come to the front of the room (Note: this activity can be repeated so everyone gets a chance to be a molecule while the other students watch and think about how the molecules behave).
- Begin a discussion about gases. Remind students that a gas has no definite size or shape. Its molecules move about freely and take the shape of whatever container you put it in. Designate an area at the front of the room to serve as the container. The student molecules cannot go outside the boundaries of this container (you might even use tape to mark off a large box). Tell your students that in a gas, the molecules have a lot of energy and are moving very fast – rushing all over the place, bouncing off the walls of their container, bumping in to one another and taking up lots of space. Remind them that while real molecules bump into each other, they won’t because it’s dangerous. Have your student molecules act like a gas for about 10-20 seconds, then have them freeze.
- Next, discuss liquids. Remind your students that liquids stay the same size, but take the shape of whatever container you put them in. The molecules in a liquid stay close to one another, but they can still move around a lot - they just move more slowly. Have your student molecules hold hands (since the molecules in a liquid stay close together) and move about their container, acting like a liquid. Remember! The molecules in a liquid move slower than the molecules in a gas. Give the students 10-20 seconds before you tell them to freeze.
- Finally, discuss solids. Remind your students that solids have a definite size and shape. They do not change if you put them in a different container. The molecules in a solid are closely packed together. They vibrate, but do not move around. Have your student molecules link arms at the elbow and stand very close together. Tell them that they cannot move their feet and cannot unlink their arms. Have them act like a solid for 10-20 seconds, then freeze.
Matter is very important. It’s the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we need to stay alive. The molecules in different kinds of matter—solids, liquids and gases—act differently. What happens in a solid? What do the molecules do? How about a liquid…do you remember how those molecules behave? What about a gas? How do those molecules act?
Nye, Bill. Bill Nye the Science Guy’s Big Blast of Science. Addison Wesley Publishing Co, Reading, MA. 1993.
Robinson, Faye. Solid, Liquid, or Gas? Children’s Press, Chicago, IL. 1995.
Sarquis, Jerry, Lynn Hogue, Mickey Sarquis and Linda Woodward. Investigating Solids, Liquids and Gases with Toys. Terrific Science Press, Middletown, OH. 1997.
Stockley, Corrine, Chris Oxlade and Jane Wertheim. The Usborne Illustrated Dictionary of Science. EDC Publishing, Tulsa, OK. 1988.