A few years ago we studied astronomy (check out our astronomy lessons), and at the end of it all we had a Life in Space Unit, and one of the activities I somehow forgot to write about all those years ago was crossing the Oobleck Ocean. This is a super fun and messy STEM project, and it made for a fun science lesson to keep their brain from completely disengaging over the summer.
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What is oobleck?
Oobleck comes from a Dr. Seuss book, Bartholomew and the Oobleck, it has since been turned into a fun look at Newtonian Physics as you play with cornstarch and water. It’s about 2 cups of cornstarch to 1 cup of water.
In our Life in Space Unit, after managing to land in our landing module (design a landing module), and our own version of a moon rover (design a moon rover), our brave explorers have encountered a lake of oobleck, and don’t know how to cross it.
VERY IMPORTANT OOBLECK CLEAN UP INFORMATION
Oobleck will clog up your pipes if you dump it down the drain.
Instead, drop it into your trash can, or if you’re like me and completing this at home, I dumped it in my backyard. This is part of why I lined the contraption with aluminum foil to easily be able to drop it in the trash.
Set up for our oobleck lake
I grabbed one of our casserole dishes and lined it with aluminum foil (to make it easier to clean up, also I’m trying to remember if this is a good price or not, it seems high to me), then filled that with our oobleck, I bought large amounts of cornstarch for this.
With all of that set up, I told them the tale of their sad woes, and let them know their poor astronauts were stranded and needed a bridge to cross the ocean.
Designing their oobleck bridge
Now, I was expecting the kids to use either popsicle sticks OR LEGOs. But no, they used both.
They went through and tried their different ideas, and finally with a combination of LEGOs and popsicle sticks successfully got their astronauts across the oobleck ocean. Sadly I don’t have a picture of their final results.
After they were all done, the kids, of course, wanted to play with the oobleck more. So they played around with it more and learned more about the Newtonian properties outside. Unintentional STEM oobleck learning fun.
Of course, being my kids, and being rather fond of messes….
They grabbed the baby pool, filled it with water, cornstarch, and mud? Why the mud, I don’t know, but it kept them quite happy for a few hours.
It was super fun.
More learning fun for school