There’s something exciting about an experiment, and taking ordinary materials and mixing them together to create something new is both fun and educational for young learners. We’ve gathered a few different ideas that you can use when creating slime in class with your students.
Educational Ways to Teach Slime
Creating slime can be just as educational as it is fun, and below you’ll find 3 ideas for using slime to teach engineering, science and nature concepts in class. Before starting the lesson, decide whether your group of students learn best if they create the slime before you explain the lesson, or if it would be best to save the creation of the slime until after you’ve gone through the purpose of the experiment.
Slime Engineering Connection
The act of using tools and raw materials to create something new is part of teaching an engineering mindset. An easy way to make the connection between engineering and the creation of slime is to pose a question to students.
Suggest that they pretend they were hired to find out the best way for making slime that is bouncy (or some other trait). This might mean adding more of certain materials to the slime’s composition, or shaping the slime a certain way to affect its performance. Give your students time to go through the steps of the scientific method to modify the slime to reach the goal.
Slime Physical Science Connection
For younger learners, consider the connection between slime and the differing states of matter: liquid, gas, and solid. Ask your students which of the three types they believe slime to be, and write down the characteristics that they list as reasoning.
After creating this list, encourage the students to try and do things with the slime that they can do with other liquids or solids. The slime pours onto the table and runs off of hands like a liquid, but is obviously able to be picked up and held like a solid.
Then explain to the students that slime is a non-Newtonian fluid, which means its flow changes depending on the stress or forced used. Other examples of non-Newtonian fluids include quicksand (you’ll sink if you stand still in it!), cream (becomes thicker when whipped) , honey (becomes a liquid when stirred), and Oobleck (cornstarch and water that behaves like quicksand).
Slime Natural Science Connection
Another way to teach slime-related science to young students is by showcasing how slime is used in nature. There are several animals that use slime to survive in the wild. Have students try to name animals they know are slimy. Some of these might include: fish, worms, frogs, slugs.
Then discuss why those animals are slimy, or how they use slime to survive. Creating the slime is a great way to discuss slimy animals, and makes for a fun exercise in understanding some of the less cute and snuggly animals we encounter.