Tuesday, 26 April 2016

"Reason, observation, and experience; the holy trinity of science."


Recently we had every intention of having a Science week but one thing lead to another and that week we ended up having a couple of science days and moving on. We did lots of research together, reading books and I spent many evenings watching Youtube videos of fun experiments for me and Opeie to have a go at. He loves anything that makes a mess so we decided that our first experiment was going to be 'Magnetic slime'.


I thought it best to make the slime first and then ask Opeie for his hypothesis on what he thought was going to happen. I had never done this experiment before and I was really shocked at just how simple it was to make the slime, It is the perfect experiment for a 5-year-old as there is no huge amount of effort and the end result is great, So, Goggles on!


Firstly we filled a third of a jar up with PVA glue that we had picked up from our local pound store. You can pick up loads of great experiment ingredients from there and we managed to get things for another four experiments. We then added the same amount of water to the jar and gave it a stir. "It doesn't look like slime at all!" said my disheartened little lab partner.


In a separate jar, we mixed a small amount of water with a teaspoon of borax that we had picked up online. After also giving that a stir Opeie slowly added the Borax mix to the PVA and water cocktail, a little bit at a time. Very quickly the consistency of the mixture changed which got my lab partner very excited, we had slime! and it was great. greasy and gross, perfect for a children's science experiment.


Now it was time to add the final ingredient to our slime, iron fillings, which again we had picked up online. On the youtube video that I had watched, the people doing the experiment seemed to be very sparse with the Iron filings but we found that we needed to be quite liberal with them to get the effect that we needed, so if you are giving this a go don't be reluctant to put lots in.


And here is where we ran into our big problem. It turns out that you cannot get the desired effect from using fridge and other magnets that you may have around the house. For the experiment to work well you need a Neodymium magnet to get the sort of reaction that will make a science-curious child go 'Uhhhhhhh.....'. So at this point in the experiment, we had to scrap the slime, as it turns out that after making phone calls to every hardware store I could find in Shropshire, no-one sells Neodymium magnets. We did, however, purchase some online and two days later we went through all of the previous steps again, this time though at the request of Opeie we added some food colouring for effect.

At this point, I asked Opeie what he thought was going to happen when he held the magnet close to our slime. We had had a conversation about what a hypothesis was so he knew what was coming. We learned about magnets before so he explained that he thought that the slime would move towards the magnet, bright as a button that one.

The reaction from the slime was even better than I was expecting and Opeie's little face was all that I was hoping for. We had a brief chat about what was happening to the magnet and the slime but it was clear that Opeie had his own investigations to get underway, plus his friends had joined us outside and they all wanted a demonstration.



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