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Our holiday STEM-tacular activities were inspired by the SCIENCE portion of STEM. One of the most popular experiments was our chemistry focused Polymer Bouncy Balls, orignally shared by Anne Marie Helmenstein, Ph.D. on ThoughtCo. (Original link can be found HERE.) 

Materials

  • Borax (found in the laundry section of the store)
  • Cornstarch (found in the baking section of the store)
  • White glue (e.g., Elmer’s glue, which makes an opaque ball) or blue or clear school glue (which makes a translucent ball)
  • Warm water
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Measuring spoons
  • Spoon or craft stick (to stir the mixture)
  • 2 small plastic cups or other containers (for mixing)
  • Marking pen
  • Metric ruler
  • Zip-lock plastic baggie

To make bouncing polymer balls, follow these steps:

  1. Label one cup “Borax Solution” and the other “Ball Mixture.”
  2. Pour 2 tablespoons of warm water and 1/2 teaspoon of borax powder into the cup labeled “Borax Solution.” Stir the mixture to dissolve the borax. Add food coloring if desired.
  3. Pour 1 tablespoon of glue into the cup labeled “Ball Mixture.” Add 1/2 teaspoon of the borax solution you just made and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Do not stir. Allow the ingredients to interact on their own for 10-15 seconds and then stir them together to fully mix. Once the mixture becomes impossible to stir, take it out of the cup and start molding the ball with your hands.
  4. The ball will start out sticky and messy but will solidify as you knead it.
  5. Once the ball is less sticky, go ahead and bounce it.
  6. You can store your plastic ball in a sealed bag when you are finished playing with it.
  7. Don’t eat the materials used to make the ball or the ball itself. Wash your work area, utensils, and hands after you have completed this activity.

Looking for Fluffy Slime? Click HERE!.

bwhitlow

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