Not to disparage sensory play, but slime can be used for so much more than that! It's the pefect springboard, in my opinion, for the following science topics:
1. Isaac Newton and Non-Newtonian Fluids
Newton said that fluids only changed their viscosity in response to changes in temperature, so when scientists discovered fluids that didn't follow this pattern--such as slime--they named them "non-newtonian fluids." For a little more information about Newton and instructions on how to make a simple non-newtonian fluid out of cornstarch and water, download the file "NonNewtonianFluids.pdf" attached below.
2. Polymers and Enzymes
Another fascinating tie in to the topic of polymers is to look at starch versus cellulose. They are made almost entirely from the exact same building block: glucose. Yet we can digest starch but not cellulose. Why is that? This handout tells the story and explains more about how enzymes and polymers work. Read more by downloading the file "WhyRestaurantsDontServeWood.pdf" below.
3. Plastics - for patrons
The polymer industry is huge, and nearly all of it--whether using building blocks derived from petroleum or biological sources such as corn--is devoted to making plastics. This worksheet breaks down each recycling symbol, telling you what each material is named and the building block or monomer used to make it. Print it double sided and the back of the page is a scavenger hung to catalog which types of plastic you can find in your fridge, bathroom, and laundry room. Become a member of our community here on patreon (costs as little as $1 a month) to download "PlasticPolymers.pdf" from here.
4. Distinguishing hype from reality
I touched on this briefly in THE SCIENCE BEHIND SLIME video I posted to YouTube, but the question of whether borax is safe makes an excellent introduction into a more general learning session on how we evaluate information and assess risks.
In today's rapid-fire information age, it's impressive how quickly ideas can spread. If enough people see bold headings of "BORAX-FREE slime--SAFE for kids!" there comes to be an implicit assumption that slime containing borax is harmful. What kind of responsible adult would give a kid this kind of slime? That's the subliminal message we receive with all the "borax-free" headlines.
Could a similar thing happen with biotin? What if you suddenly noticed that all of the egg packages in your store except for one brand had labels like: "Biotin-free eggs!" "Now Biotin-Free!" "Contains NO biotin!"
If you didn't know what biotin was and didn't take the time to investigate it, you'd likely start buying the eggs with the new stickers, which is too bad, because biotin is vitamin B, an essential nutrient.
A lot of the reason people assume borax is dangerous stems from two occurances where people reported adverse reactions, both of which received a healthy amount of media coverage. One of these was dubious at best--Snopes debunked it here: https://www.snopes.com/slime-health-risks/ , and the other, as I mentioned in the video, was caused by very prolonged exposure.
There are two different foldable book files available you can download. SLIMEBOOK.pdf is available at the bottom of this post and SLIMEBOOK2.pdf is available to patrons at this post.
SLIMEBOOK.pdf makes a 6 page booklet with three different slime recipes and a brief explanation for why slime works. The booklet measures approximately 5 by 4 inches. SLIMEBOOK2 measures approximately 3 by 3 inches but is a more substantial booklet, having 28 pages.
The SLIMEBOOK.pdf file could be printed and put together with or without a stapler. It's a pretty thin booklet and you could use a piece of tape or glue to put it together. The SLIMEBOOK2 booklet, on the other hand, is thick enough that you'll definitely want a stapler.
In the SLIMEBOOK2 booklet, the one-eyed blob and curious critter discuss how to make slime (there is 1 recipe in this booklet), and discuss how we can evaluate which things are safe versus harmful, using sunlight as an example:
The take home message is that dose matters, and it's important to evaluate information before jumping to conclusions.
TROUBLESHOOTING and CLEANING TIPS:
If your slime does NOT work, the first thing to check is whether the contact solution contains boric acid. If the contact solution does not list boric acid in the ingredients, it will not activate the slime. You will need to use a different recipe (using borax powder or liquid starch for activator) or obtain new contact solution.
If you are using borax powder and your slime doesn't work, 9 times out of 10 it will come together if you keep mixing it and kneading it.
The other thing to consider when the texture is not working is the amount of water added. Some brands of glue have different consistencies. If your slime is too runny or tacky and you know the activator is working, try another batch adding less water. If your slime is too stiff, try another batch and add more water.
And if the slime does end up on clothing or carpet, here's a cleaning tip:
If you enjoy these worksheets and booklets, you might also enjoy my other posts that are tagged "Free Printables" here on Patreon, or my science activity books on Amazon.
If you aren't a patron and would like to become one, visit my patreon homepage to see what it's all about.
THE FREE PRINTABLES:
The pdfs are attached just below. Here's a brief description of each file:
SLIMEBOOK - 2 page document. Print double sided and cut it in half and staple or glue it together to make a 6 page booklet with 3 slime recipes and a short explanation regarding polymers.
NonNewtonianFluids - 1 page document with a brief bio about Newton, descriptions of Newtonian vs. Non-Newtonian fluids, and an invitation to record observations on cornstarch "oobleck."
WhyRestaurantsDontServeWood - 2 page document on the difference between starch and cellulose, as well as a brief introduction to enzymes, featuring cellulase.
*Additional worksheets PlasticPolymers.pdf and SLIMEBOOK2.pdf are availabe to all patrons at this link.