Kitchen Chemistry

Kitchen Chemistry

Many teachers are talking about inquiry in science these days, meaning having students investigate their own questions, just as scientists do. Here are the recipes for several different mixtures which use things found at home, often in the kitchen. Make one or more of these and explore any questions which come to mind. Have fun! Remember, never eat any science experiment unless an adult tells you it is safe!

Cream Coloring 
Get a glass of cream or milk if you don't have cream. Put a drop or two of food coloring on the surface of the cream or milk. Watch it for a while. What happens? Why? 

Gluep
Gluep is made from borax and Elmer's Glue. It is a great model of a polymer. Many objects we use everyday are polymers ­ plastics, nylon, and Styrofoam, for example. You can buy borax in the laundry section of the supermarket. Directions for making gluep can be found at the Recipe Source. What are the properties of gluep? Keep it in a closed container or plastic bag so it doesn't dry out. How does it compare to oobleck? Curious about borax? Visit the Borax Web site

Mystery Sand
Put a cup of sand in a plastic bag. Add a tablespoon of cooking oil. Mix the sand and oil by gently squeezing the bag. For fun, you can add a little food coloring. What happens when you drop the mystery sand into water? What is it like when you scoop it out of the water? Is regular sand like this after being in water? 

Oobleck
Named after the stuff in Bartholemew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss, this stuff is weird. Is it a solid? Is it a liquid? Who knows? To make it, mix 1 box of corn starch with 400 ml of water (about 14 ounces). To mix it, don't try to stir it. Instead, lift it up from the bottom of the container with your fingers. Add a few drops of green food coloring for fun. Pour it, poke it, drop it on newspaper! What are the properties of oobleck? Keep it in a closed container or plastic bag so it doesn't dry out. 

More Ideas
Try writing a description of your favorite one of these mixtures, include as many of its properties as possible. Write a story about one of the mixtures. Try writing better directions on how to make one of these things.
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