Red Flags
DO NOT EAT THE PUTTY! KEEP IT AWAY FROM UPHOLSTERY AND CARPETS – IT’S HARD TO CLEAN OFF!

Questions to Ask
When stirring, at the various stages ask: How does it feel? Have there been any changes in the mixture? What are they? Does this remind you of anything else? Can you find something else in the house that might feel like this? What can you do with the finished product?

Tips for Less Mess
Cover the work surface with newspaper or a plastic tablecloth. Old clothes, smocks, and aprons would be appropriate. Wet paper towels or rags will aid in the clean up. Keep a garbage bag handy. The putty may be stored several days in zip top bags.

Science Connection
White glue contains a chemical called polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) which exists in strands that easily slide past each other (liquid). Adding borate (which is in the starch) makes strands stick together by creating cross links between them so that they cannot slide past each other as easily. This turns the mixture from liquid to “putty”.

Why
To be a chemist by mixing liquid starch and white school glue.

What You Need

  • Liquid starch
  • White school glue
  • Plastic or paper cups
  • Plastic bowls
  • Spoon or whisk

    What to Do
    Using a cup as a measure, have children pour equal amounts of liquid starch and glue into the mixing container. Examine the mixture by stirring with spoon or whisk. Stir well, and examine the mixture again. If it does not feel or act like putty, follow this “rule of thumb”: IF THE MIXTURE IS TOO STICKY, ADD MORE STARCH. IF THE MIXTURE IS TOO RUNNY, ADD MORE GLUE.

    Vocabulary
    Glue: Sticky, viscous liquid used to hold things together.
    Putty: General term for soft dough-like substances.


    Try This
    During the process of making the putty, try kneading it. Ask the children if they would like to color their putty with food coloring. They might want to add various colors to the entire batch, or divide the mixture and color each portion separately. In either case, allow the children to choose the colors. Look around the house for other things that feel like putty.

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