As part of our summer reading program, I decided to include a storytime program for school age kids that has a STEAM component. For this program, we read a book or two on a STEAM theme, then do a related activity. The theme for the first session was slime, and we read Billy Bloo is Stuck in Goo, by Jennifer Hamburg and Ross Burach. Before we started reading, I asked the kids what they already knew about slime. This kicked off a discussion of ingredients and how they combine to make slime. We talked about the fact that the glue had to have PVA (polyvinyl acetate) and that there were different activators that could be used (liquid starch, saline and baking soda, Borax), states of matter, and Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids. I found this blog useful in preparing for the discussion.
Then we started making slime! I poured about 1/4 cup of white glue (we noted that the glue was a liquid) into disposable plastic cups and gave each kid a craft stick. I had a few different colors of paint so that they could color their slime–once the paint was added I instructed them to stir the substances together and note how easy or hard it was to stir. I had baking soda in a container and a 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon. I had the kids measure out their 1/4 t of baking soda, then stir it in. Then we added a the contact solution–as they stirred, we talked about how the substance wasn’t as easy to stir anymore, and how it wasn’t exactly a liquid anymore but it also wasn’t exactly a solid (non-Newtonian fluid!)