Today, while out running 12387529312031 errands pre-vacation, we stopped off at Hobby Lobby because we were in the area and my car went on autopilot and pulled in the parking space marked “FOR JEN”. We walked in and the store stopped for a brief moment, the Heavenly Choir started singing and everyone turned and said, “NORM!” (only those who used to watch “Cheers” will get that one).
So we trekked back to the Clearance section to see what’s what back there and lo and behold they had some cool little Science craft for a steep discount. It was $2.99. Than gave me the puppy dog eyes and I melted (it rarely works but when it does…..)
We ended up buying “Cool Science Jungle Quick Sand” ‘Create Your Own Quicksand Pit’. We both thought that was cool so we bought it.
Than wants to share some of his fun little experiments with the readers here at BC once in a while so I gave him his own little corner of the blog. I’m doing the typing, etc. because frankly, he’s too busy playing with the goop to come over here and participate in “the boring stuff”.
We opened the package and pulled out the stuff. A bag of this powdery stuff (which I came to find out was just cornstarch), 2 plastic animals (lion and rhino), a cardboard sign that said “Quick Sand”, 2 cardboard bushes, and a plastic “bowl” to put the quicksand in.
I am going to write down what they say in their pamphlet because it’s a science lesson and I thought your kids (or you!) might like the little lesson that goes with it.
FIRST, though, here’s the WARNING: This contains chemicals that may be harmful if misused. Read cautions on the individual containers (the cornstarch container/box) carefully. Not to be used by children except under adult supervision.
Here’s What You’ll Need
gallon size ziplock bag
cookie sheet or cake pan
newspaper or plastic drop cloth
Mix Up Some Quicksand
1. Cover the ground beneath your workspace with newspaper or a plastic drop cloth. Making a jungle scene can be very messy!
2. Get the pitcher and fill it with room temperature water.
3. Pour the cornstarch into the large bowl and begin adding the water, a little bit at a time. Mix it up with the spoon, or even with your hands if you don’t mind making a mess. (it will seem VERY watery at first).
4. Keep adding cornstarch and water until you have the consistency of honey. It may take a while to get it just right (this is true!)
5. Pour the mixture onto the cookie sheet or cake pan. Stir it around with your fingers, first slowly, then as fast as you can. Skim your hand across the top of the glop. Sink your entire hand into the quicksand and try to pull it up. Weird! Pick it up and squeeze it in your fist. Notice how the consistency changes.
6. Arrange the goopy mixture into the plastic Quicksand Pit *you can just use a small bowl for this*. (You and your kids can cut out some scenery from cardboard you may have handy if you want to get extra creative. Draw pictures on paper and tape it behind where they are playing with the goop).
7. (This one is important for when you are done) When you’re finished creating your jungle story, scoop up your “quicksand” and put it in a ziplock bag. Eventually, the water will separate from the glop and form a solid clump on the bottom of the bag. Make sure you don’t pour the stuff down the drain, it WILL clog the pipes! Instead, pour off the water and throw the bag of glop into the trash.
(now here’s the science info part)
How Does It Work?
Why does glop act like a solid sometimes and a liquid at other times? Actually, your quicksand is an example of what is called a Non-Newtonian fluid – a fluid that defies Isaac Newton’s law of viscosity. All fluids have this property. It is a fluid’s measurable thickness or resistance to flow. For example, honey and ketchup are liquids that have a strong resistance to flow.
Newton stated that the viscosity of a fluid can be changed only by altering the fluid’s temperature. For example, motor oil and honey both flow more easily when you warm them up and they become very thick when they get cold. A Non-Newtonian fluid has the same dependence on temperature, but it’s viscosity can also be changed by applying pressure. When you release the pressure, the glop behaves just like a liquid again.
Real quicksand has some of the same properties, but it works a little differently than the “quicksand” used here in this experiment. Quicksand is caused when water mixes with sand or grainy soil until the friction between the grains decreases. The earth beneath your feet begins to act more like a liquid than dry sand.
Imagine standing on dry sand at the beach. You know for certain that you will sink a little when you walk. If you move closer to the shoreline, the sand becomes wet and the grains are packed closer together. This sand is even more solid here. If you forced more water through the sand (if there was a broken pipe or flood, for example), the ground would turn to quicksand, and you would begin to sink.
Quicksand can be found almost anywhere if the conditions are right. In movies, people are sometimes sucked down into a quicksand pit, but real quicksand is rarely deeper than your kneecaps. However, you can get caught just by struggling to get free. It’s much better to let yourself float on top of the sand, because your body is actually less dense. Whatever you do, if you do get stuck in quicksand, don’t struggle! Let your body relax and slowly float to the surface.
Other things to do:
1. Add food coloring to your sand to make different colored quicksand.
2. Write a story about the Jungle world you have created.
3. Collect some real sand in a large tub and mix in enough water to create real quicksand. It may take you awhile to get the correct consistency, but you will be able to see how the water separates the grains of sand, creating real quicksand.
Ok that’s the end of the printed directions. However I want to give credit to the company that makes this, so maybe you can click on over and check out more of their products (they’ll wonder why they are getting hits coming from this weirdo site). LOL Then they’ll sue me for using their stuff and typing it out. HEY BUDDY DON’T SUE ME, I GAVE YOUR WEBSITE LINK OUT AND GAVE YOU RAVE REVIEWS! Lol, actually his site is AMAZING. So much fun science stuff to do. I guarantee we’ll be buying stuff from him.
Here’s his site: Beamazing.com
Here’s some “action” shots of Than and his Jungle Quicksand: