Using oobleck to simulate texture of slime molds
About 2 months ago in 6th grade science the module textbook about Microorganisms-Fungi-Plants, identifying slime molds was part of a section included with bacteria, molds, and viruses. I thought using oobleck has a simulation activity for the texture would be helpful for this age of student.
At the time student desks were arranged in pods. This class has 18 students so the room has 3 sets of 4 desks and then 2 sets of three. Each pod received a bowl with cornstarch, a beaker with water, and a plastic spoon for each container (with strict orders not to mix the spoons up and 'contaminate' their supplies). Each student received paper towels to protect their desk, a clear cup, a spoon for mixing and stirring.
Food coloring was distributed about midway to make sure the students got their basic oobleck made.
Some students because of their hand size being too big, ended up cutting off the top half of their cups in order to use their fingers to get ahold of the mix better. 100% engagement with this activity. On my end, I was leading a discussion and asking questions about how this reminded them of photos seen in textbook and online about slime molds.
Students' comments were interesting and they understood the analogy.
Here are two pics taken during the activity:
I found a form online that goes through the steps and cautions students to use a little bit of water when adding to the cornstarch. That was read before supplies were distributed.
Overall, this was a great opportunity for the students to have a hands-on and safe activity for their chapter and it also led to discussion about how this would work for other science topics (physical and chemical changes).
Teaching and learning in the USA heartland,
aka Mrs. S/Mrs. Sadler