Gresham and I learned about the states of matter today in his science book. We’re doing The Berenstein Bear’s Big Book of Science and Nature as part of Sonlight Core Pre-K 4/5. This link is to my amazon affiliate account – the book is out of print, which is why the price for a new copy is so high. It’s a great book for preschoolers, and if you get a chance to buy it at a decent price, go for it! Anyway, after learning about solids and liquids, we did an experiment with polymers that I saw on A Student at Mama University.
Polymers are really interesting substances. Water is a monomer. Each molecule has two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. The molecules are small, and can slide past each other really easily. Polymers are substances that are made up of long chains of molecules. The long chains give them properties of both a solid and a liquid.
To make our polymer, we mixed 2 cups of cornstarch with 1 cup of water. We added a couple drops of food coloring, just for fun! The mixture was very hard to stir, but once it was mixed, it was quite fun to play with! If you push your fingers down lightly on the top of the mixture, it feels like a solid, especially around the edges of the bowl. But if you scoop up a glob with your hand, it looks like a glob only for a second, and then melts into a liquid.
We put a lid on our bowl and put it aside to show Dad tonight since it was such interesting stuff! By evening, the goop had thickened, and it was even more fun. It was impossible to stir, even though it looked like a liquid at first glance. Yet it still had some liquid properties to it – weird!
This experiment was pretty messy, but it washes off hands and surfaces very easily.
If you need more science-y things to do, don’t forget that the cold weather months are a great time to do some static electricity experiments! It’s also a good time of year to make a pine cone bird feeder and observe the birds that come to your yard!