What do fireworks, rubber, and Silly Putty have in common?
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What do fireworks, rubber, and Silly Putty have in common?
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DISCUSS:

What could you do with powders that cause different colored flames?

Powders image

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Extensions

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity & exploration which you just completed.
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The Challenge

When you drop Mystery Science Goo, it splats. Suppose you wanted a goo that bounced when you dropped it.

That's our challenge for you. We want you to make a goo that bounces.

Start with the Mystery Science Goo recipe. Think about the properties of this goo make it splat. What do you need to change to make it bounce?

Discuss with your friends. Then check out our ideas.

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Bouncy Goo — Our Ideas

We decided Mystery Science Goo needed to be firmer to bounce. So we experimented with adding powdery stuff to the recipe to make firmer goo.

Here are our three new recipes:

  • 1 Tbsp talcum powder, 2 Tbsp of glue/water solution, & 1 Tbsp of borax solution
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch, 2 Tbsp of glue/water solution, & 1 Tbsp of borax solution
  • 1 tsp salt, 2 Tbsp of glue/water solution, & 1 Tbsp of borax solution

Try all three and compare the resulting goos. Which one bounces highest?

For more information on goo recipes, visit the Page that Dripped Slime on the Bizarre Stuff website.

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Image & Video Credits

Mystery Science respects the intellectual property rights of the owners of visual assets. We make every effort to use images and videos under appropriate licenses from the owner or by reaching out to the owner to get explicit permission. If you are the owner of a visual and believe we are using it without permission, please contact us—we will reply promptly and make things right.

Exploration
lumberyard by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: pinyo bonmark
bench by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Iablonskyi Mykola
plasticware by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Kameel4u
tires by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Bedrin
wrench by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Tischenko Irina
glass of water by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Roman Motizov
cinder blocks by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Jiang Zhongyan
trees by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Gerald Bernard
not allowed sign by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Dmitry Natashin
window by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: washington1775
nitrate salts by NurdRage
copper sulfate by Benjah-bmm27
lead nitrate by Ondřej Mangl
feric nitrate by Alecjw
copper flame test by Phillip Evans
purple fire by Anne Helmenstine
lithium flame test by wwwperiodictableru
different flame tests by sciyeung
Chinese rocket by NASA
gunpowder by Jiao Yu and Liu Ji
Rhazes, Persian Physicist and Alchemist by Wellcome Library
rain boots by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Nataliia K
soap by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Michael Kraus
stack of paper by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Nuttapong
truck wheel by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: pema
surgeon by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: ChaNaWiT
rubber extraction by gopismc
latex rubber balls by FlinnScientific
scientist mixing chemicals by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Creativa Images
Activity
play-doh by Chrissy Southern
silly putty by Rev. Jay Goldstein
flarp noise by LuckyPennyShop.com
chemists by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Everett Collection
scientist mixing liquid by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: wavebreakmedia
Print Prep
Activity Prep

This Mystery develops the idea that chemical reactions create new materials that have useful and interesting properties. The Great Goo Experiment is a two-part activity. In Part 1, students experiment by combining different substances and watching for reactions. In Part 2, students mix glue and borax solution in clear plastic bags to observe the reaction, which creates "Mystery Goo."

Preview activity

Number of students:
Clean-up Supplies (Eg. Paper Towels)
1 roll per class
Mixing Bowl
2 bowls per class
Table Covering (eg. Trash Bags)
2 bags per group
1 Cup (8 oz) Container
1 container per class
Baking Soda
1 teaspoon per class
Dixie Cups (3 oz)
For Part 1 of the activity.
Details
6 cups per group
Dixie Cups (3 oz)
For Part 2 of the activity.
Details
2 cups per student
Glad Press 'n Seal
You can also use sheet protectors.
Details
12" per pair
Measuring Cup
1 cup per class
Measuring Spoons
1 set per class
Milk
1 tablespoon per group
Multi-Purpose Glue
We suggest multipurpose glue. For reference, 2 tbsp = 1 oz.
Details
5 tablespoons per group
Paper Plates
1 plate per student
Plastic Straws (Not Bendable)
4 straws per group
Toothpicks
10 toothpicks per pair
White Vinegar
1 tablespoon per group
Ziploc Bags (Sandwich Size)
1 bag per student
Borax
8 teaspoons per class
Goo Testing printout 1 per pair
Goo Testing Answer Key printout 1 per class
Prep Instructions

You will need access to water for this activity.

We suggest students work in pairs and two pairs of students share supplies at a group table. Homeschool students can work on their own.

Plan Your Time

  • Part 1 (testing substances) takes 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Part 2 (creating goo) takes another 15 minutes.

You may want to divide this activity into two sessions, stopping after Part 1 and continuing with creating goo at a later point. If you plan to do the activity in two sessions, creating goo begins at Step 12.

To make the baking-soda solution, use your 1-cup container to mix 1 cup water and 1 teaspoon baking soda.

To make the glue mixture, mix equal amounts of glue and water in a mixing bowl. This glue mixture will be enough for both parts of the activity.

To make the borax solution (for up to 32 students), in the other mixing bowl, mix 8 teaspoons borax powder with 4 cups warm water. It is okay if all of the borax powder doesn't dissolve. This borax mixture will be enough for both parts of the activity.

If you are splitting the lesson between two days, just keep the mixtures covered so they don’t dry out.

Prepare the Straws

Students use straws as pipettes for transferring liquid from a Dixie cup. Regular length straws cause Dixie cups to tip over and spill. To prevent this from happening:

  • cut each straw in half.
  • lay the straws side by side with their ends squared up.
  • eyeball ½ inch away from the cut edge and lay a ruler down at this point.
  • draw a line using a permanent marker across the straws, as shown below.

straw setup

Prepare the Press 'n Seal

Each pair of students will need a sheet of Press 'n Seal about 12” long.

Prepare the Testing Supply Cups for Part 1

  • Count out 6 cups for each group of 4 students (or homeschool student).
  • Use a permanent marker to mark cups for each group.
    • W for Water
    • S for Baking Soda solution
    • B for Borax solution
    • G for Glue/water mixture
    • V for Vinegar (If you use paper cups, be aware that vinegar will leak through some brands after an hour and a half. Plan accordingly.)
    • M for Milk
  • Put 1 tablespoon of the corresponding supply in each cup.

Prepare the Mystery Goo Cups for Part 2

Using the remaining Dixie cups, you’ll prepare a cup of glue mixture and a cup of Borax solution for each student. * Add 2 Tbsp of glue/water mixture in half of the Dixie cups. * Add 1 Tbsp of borax solution in each of the other half.

Note that for homeschool students, you can always make a larger batch of goo as long as you mix the glue/water mixture with the borax solution in a 2:1 ratio.

Separate Supplies for Easy Distribution

In Part 1, your students will first practice using a straw to put water onto their testing mat. They’ll need the following supplies for this: supplies1

Then, students will combine and test different substances to see if they react. Students will share supplies with others at their table and will need the following: supplies2

In Part 2 of the activity, students will each create their own small bag of Goo to take home with them. They will each need the following supplies: supplies3

You may want to set up supply stations for easier classroom distribution.

Borax, while safe when diluted, can be a mild skin irritant to some people, especially those with sensitive skin. If you are concerned, you may want to consider having your students wear gloves or use one of our the Alternative Goo Recipes here .

Extensions
Download this Mystery to your device so you can play it offline: