AskERIC Lesson Plans
Lesson Plan #:AELP-SPS0008

Sensational Slime

An AskERIC Lesson Plan

Author: Jan Noyes
School or Affiliation: Westwood Elementary, Enumclaw, WA.
Endorced by: These lesson plans are the result of the work of the teachers who have attended the Columbia Education Center's Summer Workshop. CEC is a consortium of teacher from 14 western states dedicated to improving the quality of education in the rural, western, United States, and particularly the quality of math and science Education. CEC uses Big Sky Telegraph as the hub of their telecommunications network that allows the participating teachers to stay in contact with their trainers and peers that they have met at the Workshops.

Date: May 1994 


Predicting, observing, and drawing conclusions are key elements in the scientific process. This activity is designed to foster utilization of these skills while performing a hands-on experiment.

Grade Level: Appropriate for grades 1-4.


Students will be able :
  1. Predict what will happen when the two given solutions are combined.
  2. Record or discuss observations during the experiment.
  3. Explain properties of slime the likenesses and differences between it and gelatin, (ie. Jello).
  4. List or discuss conclusions based on observations.


  1. polyvinyl alcohol (contact local high school lab)
  2. borax
  3. paper cups of two different prints or colors
  4. hot plate
  5. large coffee can in which to heat solution
  6. large spoon to stir
  7. tongue depressors to stir mixed solutions
  8. graduated cylinder
  9. 1000 ml beaker
  10. water
  11. food coloring
  12. paper
  13. pencil

Activities and Procedures

  1. Teacher prepares two solutions, (prepare early in the morning for afternoon use), following the directions below:
  2. Solution 1:

    40 grams polyvinyl alcohol in 1000 ml water. Heat the water until just too hot too touch, then gradually sprinkle the polyvinyl alcohol powder into the water while stirring continuously. Continue heating and stirring until the solution is clear and then for two more hours.

    Solution 2:

    8 grams of borax dissolved in 200 ml of water.

    1. In a graduated cylinder, measure 40 ml of polyvinyl alcohol; dilute with 10 ml of water to give a total of 50 ml. Pour the polyvinyl alcohol/water mixture into a paper cup and stir thoroughly.
    2. Add one drop of your favorite color of food coloring to each cup of the above mixture and stir.
    3. In a small graduated cylinder, combine 5 ml of borax solution with 5 ml of water and mix thoroughly. Pour into a different paper cup.
  3. Have students predict in writing what will happen when these two solutions are mixed.
  4. After giving each pair of students a cup of the polyvinyl alcohol solution and a cup of the borax solution, have one student stir the polyvinyl alcohol solution continuously and vigorously while the other student adds the borax solution. The mixture will thicken, but continue to stir until the slime is uniform.
  5. Have students record their observations on paper.
  6. Remove slime from the paper cup and observe its properties, (does it stretch, bounce, etc.?). Record observations after each experiment.
  7. Have students draw conclusions regarding gelation and properties they have observed in the slime and record.

Tying it all Together:

  1. Gather class together and list predictions, observations, and conclusions of each student pair on the board. Discuss data.
  2. Placing students back in pairs, have them decide how slime is alike and different from gelatin, (ie. Jello), Using a T-chart. Students may use available resources in classroom to assist them with their task. Collect for perusal.
  3. Gather class together the next day to discuss their findings.

This activity has been copied, with permission, from the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) server to ours, to allow faster access from our website. We encourage you to explore the original site.

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