Who doesn’t like slime? Kids just seem to love making it and playing with it! Create a creative and fun Science Fair project out of your fascination with slime. Along the way, learn what it’s like to be a scientist!
What is slime?
There are a lot of different ways to describe different slimes – some alive, some sticky, some gooey, some slippery, and some just plain gross! Slime often results from either a chemical reaction or biological activity. Yep, there is a lot of science behind slime!
Can you believe that “slime” is actually a term that scientists use? For example, biologists have classified hundreds of different species of slime molds and many different species of slime bacteria. Individual slime mold and slime bacterium are so small that you usually can’t see one. But together they can form a big mass or mound (blob) of slime working together as a community for a specific purpose. Smart, huh?
Explore: What slime have you’ve seen? What can your learn about the difference in slime types? What is some of the science behind slime? Want to learn more? Search the internet for:
- Spongebob Squarepants slime mold
- Pink slime
- Scrambled Eggs slime mold
- Dog vomit slime mold
- Hagfish Slime
- Glowworm glue
Common homemade slime ingredients
- White school glue – makes slime hold together
- Corn starch – makes slime less sticky
- Contact lens solution or saline solution – make slime more runny
- Borax/sodium borate (soap)* – makes slime feel “wet”
- Shaving cream* – makes slime fluffy
- Fun ingredients (colors, florescence, scents, glitters, etc.) – makes more fun
* Can cause skin irritation, especially if it comes in contact with an open wound.
Explore: Chemically or physically, how do each of the common ingredients affect the slime properties? What other ingredients do you think you’d like to experiment with?
Simple homemade slime recipe
- White school glue
- Measuring cups & spoons
- 2 Cups or jars
- Disposable stirrer (spoon or stick)
- Zip bag
- Mix 1/2 Cup water, 1/4 Cup white school glue, and “fun ingredients” in a cup or bowl.
- In a separate cup, add 3-5 Tablespoons of Borax to 1/4 cup water and stir or shake until fully dissolved.
- Mix small amounts (Tablespoons) of the Borax mixture to the glue/water mixture until you are happy with the consistency.
- Have fun! When done, store in zip bag
+You can find Borax at most large grocery stores next to the laundry detergent.
Explore: What did you learn or observe while you were making your slime? What “how” or “why” questions did you have while you were making your slime? Want to explore other slime recipes? Check out https://www.wikihow.com/Make-Slime.
Now, think like a scientist
Scientists make observations, ask a lot of questions, then try to find ways to answer those questions. Here are a few questions for you to try to ponder before starting your project:
- What did you observe while you were playing (pulling, touching, pouring, rolling, dropping etc.) with the slime?
- If there was one ingredient you’d like to experiment with changing, then what would it be?
- If there was one thing about the environment around your slime (temperature, surrounding liquid, exposure to air for certain periods of time, etc.), then what would it be?
- How do you think changing one of the ingredients or the environment would cause a change to your observations about the slime?
Learn the science behind slime
Okay, you’ve gotten your hands dirty and have had a chance to make slime, play with it, and ask questions! Awesome! Slime is more than just a fun thing to play with and make. Just like everything around you, slime has A LOT of science behind it!
The science behind a topic is called it’s scientific principles or concepts. Now, its time to learn a little more about the science of slime by doing some background research. To do your background research, you can ask an expert, look in books or search the internet. Below are some scientific principles and concepts of slime that would be helpful for you to understand in order to plan your project. When searching the internet, include “kids” in your search to get age-appropriate information. For example, “kids molecule video”.
- Liquids, solids & gasses (Early Elementary School)
- Molecules (Late Elementary School)
- Molecular chain (Middle School)
- Polymers (examples of polymers are white glue, rubber, plastic and DNA) (Middle School)
- Viscosity(Middle School)
- Non-Newtonian Fluids (High School)
Now, be a scientist!
Inquiry Science Fair Project
If your science fair allows inquiry projects (or demonstrations), then try to answer “why” or “how” questions as part of your project. In your own words, describe the scientific concepts that you learned about and some of the things you observed or discovered. The purpose of an inquiry is to demonstrate what you learned, observed and discovered. Demonstrations are not the same as experiments. But hey, not every scientist is an experimentalist!
Experimental Science Fair Project
When you do an experiment, you choose one thing to change and try to understand what change results. This is called Cause and Effect. If your science fair only allows experimental projects that follow “The” Scientific Method, then follow these steps:
- After learning the science behind slime, decide on just one thing that you will change during your experiment and what you will measure. For example, maybe you change the amount or type of ingredient, the environment, timing and you measure
- Write a detailed experimental question that makes it clear what you will measure.
- State your prediction as a result of a change that you make.
- Plan how you will set up your experiment, including necessary supplies.
- Determine the potential health and safety risks of doing your experiment.
- Write down a detailed procedure that you can use when doing your experiment.
- Collect and record your data and observations.
- Display your data in a table and graph.
- Look for trends in your data graph.
- Try to explain why your data or observations turned out the way they did.
- Share what you learned with others.
- Create a project board display – refer to Project Display Tips
If you’d like help during each step of your project, then check out Make Science Fair Fun workbooks. Each of the 22 worksheets will help your child successfully develop their science & engineering skills!