Edible Science: Non-Newtonian Fluid, aka Oobleck
Updated: Feb 27, 2019
Dr. Seuss Day, aka Read Across America Day, is on March 2nd this year! And I can't think of a better way to celebrate than by making some Non-Newtonian Fluid, aka Oobleck! The Oobleck can also be dyed green, making it a great St. Patrick Day's science experiment as well!
Box of Corn Starch
A Bowl or Pie Tin
Food coloring (optional)
Paper towels, paper ads, paper table cloth, or newspaper to cover your working surface to make clean up easier!
1. Pour a ¼ cup of corn starch into the bowl.
2. Pour ¼ cup of water into the bowl and stir. Optional: add a bit of food coloring to the water or the mixture.
You’re going to slowly add the water to the corn starch in mixing container, alternating between adding the water and stirring the mixture in the mixing container with a spoon. You’re trying to find a mixture that is similar to honey or syrup as we stir.
The ideal mixture will be liquid when you’re stirring it, and then feel hard when you give it a quick tap with the spoon or your finger. Go ahead, give it a quick tap! Is it hard? If not, then add a little pinch of corn starch.
You’ve got the right feel? Great! Now pick some of it up and roll it around in your hands as if forming a ball. Does it harden into a ball or fall apart? What happens when you put the ball back into the mixing container and stir? Does it go back to a liquid?
A Non-Newtonian Fluid is a liquid as pressure is applied to it. But apply a different pressure, and it may become solid. Which one is it? Solid or liquid? It can be treated as both a liquid and a solid! The reason is because of Non-Newtonian Fluid’s changing behavior under stress (or pressure). Other examples of Non-Newtonian Fluids are ketchup, Silly Putty, and quicksand.
And you may be asking why I chose to categorize this science experiment as edible, and the answer is because corn starch and water are okay to ingest. So no worries if your little one licks their fingers (or jams their fingers into their mouth) as it's edible! And I do think 1-2 years old will really enjoy touching the Non-Newtonian Fluid, and 3+ years old will enjoy making it, touching it, and playing with it! Happy Dr. Seuss Day, St. Patrick's Day, and science-ing!