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Nicola Germann
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  1. Dr. Seuss Science
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One container cornstarch. Water. Large bowl to mix, whisk or heavy duty spoon. Food coloring optional (will stain skin and clothing). One small zip baggy for each child. Book Bartholomew and the Ooblec. Cleaning supplies.


  • Demonstrate and discuss characteristics of solids and liquids.
  • Contrast and compare.
  • Predicting
  • Tie in to children's literature.
  • Character education

Resource Instructions

  • First read Bartholomew and the Ooblec by Dr. Seuss to the kids. You can read the first half of the story one day, then do the science experiment, and conclude the story later the same day or the next day. We usually read the story during our read the day away celebration of his birthday, and the science experiment is a nice reading break toward the end of the day. The room will be slippery after the mixture dries on desks, chairs, kids, and floors. Advise your custodian ahead of time so they can plan their cleaning time accordingly at the end of the day.
  • Discuss properties of solids and liquids with kids. Give age-appropriate examples of solids and liquids in their daily lives and ask kids to name a few of their own.
  • Ask kids to predict what might happen when the liquid (water) is mixed with the solid (cornstarch). Record on chart paper or on t-chart if you like.
  • Mix cornstarch with little water and discuss any observable changes. Continue to mix in a bit more water until mix (colloid) achieves desired consistency. Should be able to almost ball the mixture, then let it ooze back to a liquid.
  • Put cornstarch on each child's desk. Pour on a little water at a time and have kids tell what the mixture feels like and how it is behaving. Record on chart paper if you like. As mixture dries from being handled, add more water to keep it movable. Note: I do not add green food coloring because it will stain skin and clothing, however some teachers may choose to add it.
  • Ask kids to imagine what it would be like if this were the Ooblec and it were to rain from the sky in their town. How would things look? How would school and home be?
  • Bag up each child's Ooblec in a mini zip plastic baggie and send home with a note explaining the substance, the purpose of the lesson, and that it is entirely washable out of clothing.
  • Finish reading the story. Discuss the moral of the story with the kids and refer back to the colloid they made.


Student participation during discussion and recording on chart paper. Participation during predicting and experiment. Ability to follow directions.

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Posted by: Acumen

The title of the book is Bartholomew and the Oobleck - the word oobleck is misspelled every time.