MAKING SLIME WITH GLUE AND BORAX
The Aha! moment of making slime is seeing instant chemical change that turns your glue mix into a completely different rubbery substance. You will have great fun playing with your finished slime: shaping, spinning, blowing, pinching and stamping it into different shapes.
Mixing glue, borax laundry detergent and color creates an instant example of chemical change and is a fun toy to play with. Use slime as a make and take-home experiment or combine individual slimes to create a large tactile blob as part of your classroom science curiosities.
These amounts are per person. Use 2-quart water pitchers for the water and borax mixture. Add 1.5- 2 tablespoons borax for each quart of water. Try to limit the food coloring to no more than 12-15 drops per student; 4 drops per color when they are mixing colors.
16 ounce plastic cup or bowl * Popsicle sticks * Food coloring
2-4 ounces of white glue-all per person * 2-4 ounces of water
1 teaspoon of borax per 8 ounces of water
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1. Pour the glue into cups or bowls
2. Add drops of food coloring to the glue and mix with the popsicle stick.
3. Mix borax and water and add it to the glue (equal amounts glue to borax/water mix).
4. Stir with the stick first and then use hands to be sure that every part of the glue touches the borax/water solu- tion to cure it.
5. The slime is fully cured when it no longer oozes sticky glue on your hand. Now you can remove your slime from the water solution.
6. Remove the mixing cups/bowls, sticks and paper towels.
7. Pour the leftover liquid from the cups/bowls down the drain. Dispose of leftover solids in the trash, wash, recycle or dispose of cups & bowls.
HOW TO PRESENT IT TO YOUR GROUP:
1. Pour the glue into cups or bowls ahead of time; you can approximate the amount of glue in the cup. Put a paper towel, popsicle stick and glue cup/bowl down in front of each student.
2. Explain to the students that they are going to combine two substances to create a chemical reaction that will make a completely different substance they will be able to play with. Since we are artists as well as scientists, we will make our new plaything beautiful by coloring it before changing the molecular structure of it.
3. Mixing the colors is an exciting and important part of the lesson. Mixing two colors together to make a third color is often a new experience for younger students. Start by offering primary colors of food coloring or colorant. Explain that they can make their slime red (pink, since it is mixed with white glue), blue, yellow or combine col- ors to make orange or purple. Additionally, they can see what happens when using all the colors. Mixing colors is fun and exciting; it puts participants at ease and is an important part of the process. Don’t underestimate the value of this part of the lesson.
4. Add drops of food coloring to the glue and mix with the popsicle stick. Don’t put more than 12 or 15 drops of colors total in the mix. I tell students that if they want only one color, they should let me know and I will add 8-10 drops of that color. Otherwise, I will assume they are mixing colors and put 4-5 drops of each color in their mix. I start with one color and go around to each student with that color and repeat this for each additional color. The children can use their wooden craft stick to mix at any time during the coloring process.
5. Fill your pitcher up with water and put the box of borax next to it. Explain to students that we are now going to create our chemical mixture. Put 2 tablespoons of borax laundry powder in each quart water container, explain- ing that it is the natural chemical borate that causes the molecular change in the glue. Mix with a spoon, and explain that because the borax does not dissolve in the cool water, it is a suspension. Keep mixing the suspen- sion so that there are as many borax particles at the top of the water pitcher as there are at the bottom.
6. Explain to students that you are going to pour the chemical solution into their cup and the molecular change is going to happen immediately. Their job is to use the craft stick to stir the glue with the chemical water, so as much chemical water as possible contacts with the glue. Tell them not to use their hands to stir until you say so.
7. Pour the chemical/water mix into each cup in an amount equal to the amount of glue. It will immediately start curing the glue. This is the Aha! moment for students and they take immense joy in seeing the chemical change.
8. Stir with the stick first and then use hands to be sure that every part of the glue touches the borax/water solu- tion to cure it. The chemical mix will cure the outside layers of glue, leaving pockets and bubbles of sticky glue. The students can now use their hands to squeeze and mix the glue in the water so that those sticky bubbles are popped and the glue inside gets cured. Hands will get sticky but contact with the borax water mix will cure the glue on their hands and it will easily peel off. It will also come off on the fully cured slime ball when they are handling it. They should not wash their hands in the sink until all the cured glue comes off their hands. If you wash sticky glue hands in the sink, it will only serve to clog the drain and waste water.
9. Allow students to play with the slime on the smooth table surface.
10. Students will delight in sculpting, shaping, mashing, tearing and forming their slime.
11. Students can take their own slime home in a sealed plastic bag or you can combine all the slime in one commu- nal slime bowl/tray to observe and handle in the classroom.
OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH THIS PROJECT:
1. Put out cookie cutters and play dough tools for children to work with.
2. See how long you can stretch your slime in a continuous string. We have had students create string 36 feet long with 2 ounces of slime.
3. Give students a straw and see if they are successful in blowing large “slime bubbles.”
4. Combine everyone’s slime in a bowl or a tray and keep it in the classroom. See what happens when you expose it to the elements, freeze it, leave it uncovered, etc. It will become an experiment to check on every day.
The glue is made up of flexible molecules called polymers. They usually slide by each other much like a liquid. Borax mixed with water creates borate ions. The ions link the glue polymers together so they can’t flow as easily, creating the rubbery slime substance.
Preschool science version: Allow 15-30 minutes
Preschoolers willing to get their hands sticky can make the slime in individual cups or bowls just as the older students do. This allows the students to pick their own individual color mixing and it accommodates different cognitive stages of development. Three to six students sitting together then put their slime in a communal plastic container and play with it as a group.
At the end of the session, all slime is combined in one container and kept in an airtight container like a bag or a bowl. It can be brought out and played with upon students’ request or when the classroom science director considers it an appropriate time for experimenting with the large blob of slime.
Keep your slime on your parents’ good side!
If the children are taking their slime home, I let them know that, “9 out of 10 parents will want to throw your slime away.” That comment is inevitably met with, “My parents didn’t throw mine away last time,” to which I reply, “Where is it now?” The response is, “I don’t know.” I go on to explain that families are afraid the slime will get stuck in the car upholstery, the carpet, and/or the furniture. Do not store it in your toy box or under the bed (this is what children have told me they will do to hide slime from parents).
The best way to keep your slime from being thrown away is to keep it in a plastic container in the refrigerator or freezer. Take it out when you want to play with it and have a smooth table surface to play on. Families are usually happy with this arrangement, and your slime might survive for a long time.
Chemical reaction, solution, suspension, polymer molecules, borate ions