Day 1: March 9, 2015
Bartholomew and the Oobleck: image found here
Today’s class started a bit differently – Mr. Winkelman read us a Dr. Seuss book called Bartholomew and the Oobleck. I was definitely not expecting that. I mean, this is eighth grade Science. The story was surprisingly not as childish as I thought it would be (you know, Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham), and was actually sort of interesting. Basically what happened in the story was there was a king who wanted something new to fall out of the sky so he asked his royal magicians to make that happen. They made this greenish substance called Oobleck, but it ended up being extremely sticky and stuck fast to everything it fell on, so the king’s pageboy Bartholomew was going around trying to fix everything. At this point of the story I was mostly just wondering what on earth the point of this story was. I later learned we were supposed to create our own version of ‘Oobleck’ using cornstarch, water, and green food coloring. Luckily, it wasn’t super sticky, but it was still pretty gross and gooey. We ended the class after introducing the subject of polymers by writing down questions that our class had about polymers on the board, gathering into groups, then deciding which member within each group would research which question for homework.
I thought this class was really good because not only was it fun, but we also learned some basic information about polymers. For example, I learned that besides liquids, solids, and gases, there are also non-Newtonian substances. The Oobleck we created was an example of those non-Newtonian substances, because it wasn’t exactly a total solid or liquid. The Oobleck would become solid once pressure was applied to it, and melt back into a liquid once the pressure was released, which I thought was really cool. Besides being a non-Newtonian substance, the Oobleck was also a polymer, which is what we are studying this unit.
Even though I learned all that, I still had some questions, like: What is a polymer? What are some examples of polymers? And what makes something a polymer? Hopefully I will figure out all the answers while doing my research for next class!
Day 2: March 11, 2015
Ever heard of or used the app ‘Inspiration‘ before? Yes? No? Well, I hadn’t before today’s class. Today, we were started creating a mind map about polymers on Inspiration. The first thing we did was getting into our groups and share each person’s research on their polymer question from last class so we could gather all the information to create mind maps. Unfortunately, the first part of the lesson was disturbed because about half of the class was gone changing laptops, so we ended up creating individual mind maps instead of a group one. The concept of creating a mind map on a laptop to learn more about a subject was completely new to me, so I probably spent a little too much time trying to figure it all out. Even though I’ve never made a mind map on laptop before, by the end of class I was totally convinced that this was a really good and fun way to learn things like the answers to my questions from last class, and more about polymers, as well as how to create a mind map on a laptop. Even though I had gotten all the answers to my questions from last class, I still had another one: What is the history of polymers? This question will be easily answered though over the course of my research for the mind map.
My completed mindmap:
Day 3: March 13, 2015
Slime is super gross, and that is a fact. I do not like looking at it, I do not like being around it, and I certainly do not like touching it. Sadly, in this class we had to do all three of those things – but hey, it’s for the greater good – learning about polymers. We did that by doing a lab that had three four different sets of instructions for making four different kinds of polymers: Gloop, Boogers, Goobers, and Super Slime. The lab was supposed to be done in partners, so my partner and I first gathered all the materials needed for the first slime – Gloop.
Since we added yellow and green dye to our blob of slime, it ended up being a pale green color. The Gloop was surprisingly successful and actually looked like something, whereas our second slime, Boogers, became a messy, soggy, blue blob. I think the reason the Boogers failed so badly was because we didn’t read the instructions carefully enough and ended up pouring way too much of one of the liquid ingredients at once, making the final result not solid enough. However, we could still do a few tests using it though obviously since it wasn’t very solid our observations were affected. On a side-note, I just want to say that my partner (not mentioning any names), basically forced me to touch this slime. I think it would be important to mention that I clearly could not touch it as I was busy laboring away writing down observations. But evidently, my partner could not appreciate such diligence, and refused to touch it since it was so ‘gross’ (*cough* wuss *cough*), so I ended up touching it. And yes, it felt as disgusting as it looked.
Anyways, because there was only enough time to do three slimes for my partnership with excellent teamwork dynamic, so we skipped the Goobers and instead did the Super Slime. I think the super slime was probably the most successful and coolest slime out of all of the others that we made today because not only did it turn out exactly like how we hoped it would turn out, but it was also much better than what we expected. The slime was translucent, and because we used blue dye in the mixture, the result ended up being really cool and the transparency was much more apparent.
All in all, I thought this was (surprisingly!) one of the most fun Science classes we’ve had this quarter, and even though there were a few bumps (still not mentioning any names) during the experiments, we still had a good time and learned something in the process, like more about the different types of polymers. Also, I learned how they are created, what makes up a certain polymer, and what the different combinations of substances result in. This class, while fun and educational, left me with another question: What substance made each slime solid?
Final three slimes:
Day 4: March 17, 2015
Aren’t tests just the best thing ever? (Not). Especially a unit test. I love unit tests. (Definitely not). Anyways, moving away from all that sarcasm, today our lesson was focusing on reviewing for the end of unit test next class. The lesson started off with everyone working on an educational worksheet with questions about polymers that was disguised as a crossword (I don’t know about you, but I was completely fooled by it and thought it was fun). After that, we moved on to the not so fun part: the study guide. This study guide was that was there simply to remind everyone just how much stuff they’ve forgotten since the start of the unit – oh, and of course, review for the test. As I went through the study guide, I realized something: I do not remember anything. Nothing. I forgot so much stuff, I ended up looking up a lot of answers in my textbook and on past worksheets – too many, and more answers than I care to admit. The good thing about the study guide though was that I really helped me relearn some things from the start of the unit, like all the atom basics and periodic table stuff, and without it I’m not sure what I’d do during the test. At least I have all the studying and reviewing to look forward to once I get home (still not). Well, I’m back to the sarcasm again. I guess the only question I have is: How am I going to do on the test?
My polymer crossword:
Day 5: March 19, 2015
Well, it happened. We had the unit test today. Everything I’ve been dreading is over now – well, at least until we get our grades back. In the beginning I think Mr. Winkelman got the feeling everyone was super stressed out so he told a super funny joke: ‘If H2O is water, what is H2O4?’ The answer can be figured out when you sound out ‘H2O4‘: What is H2O for? Get it? Get it? No? Yeah, me neither at first, but then I laughed way too much once I did get it cause this joke was so bad it was funny. While the joke was really bad, it did the trick – our class was much more relaxed afterwards. The test itself took almost the entire class for me, so by the time I finished there wasn’t much for me to do. But, in what little time I did have, I did part of the Quarter 3 Science Reflection and read over the project overview of our next project: designing our own polymers. The inspiration for this project was the product ‘Sugru’, which was created over a series of experiments, challenges, and finally, success. This project sounded like it could be fun and teach us something and I hope it does! Today wasn’t much of a learning experience since we were actually testing what we already learned, but I did learn about the new project we are going to start, but am left wondering how my group’s polymer will turn out?
Sugru: image found here