Posts Tagged ‘teaching kids about non-Newtonian fluids’

fun science for everyone: make magic goo from corn starch and water

December 27th, 2010

I’m know for being science-phobic (I took yearbook instead of chemistry in high school), but the¬†Scientific Explorer’s Mind Blowing Science Kit for Young Scientists Santa got Carter for Christmas could change that. Today Carter and I made “magic goo.” Try it even if there’s no kid around.

Magic Goo
Simply mix 5 tablespoons cornstarch with 1/8 cup (1 ounce) water in a bowl with your fingers. Squeeze the mixture, ball it up, put it down. What happens? Is it a liquid or a solid?¬†Technically, this corn starch-water mixture is a “non-Newtonian” liquid, which means pressure as well as temperature can affect its viscosity. (Newton was in the temperature-only camp.) When you squeeze the mixture, it feels like a solid, but take away the pressure and it goes quickly back to liquid state.

Of course beyond the science lesson about solids and liquids, tactile exploration is a key benefit of this easy science experiment. Bottom line, though, do it yourself with or without kids because it’s fun.

For more details and a larger-scale recipe, check out Steve Spangler Science’s take on this chemistry experiment. The site’s tagline is “making science fun!” It’s never too soon to start or too late to try.