Dirtmeister's Science Lab Home

Here's what you'll need:
a big mixing bowl or a disposable aluminum baking dish
one 16-oz container of corn starch
a measuring cup
lots and lots of paper towels and a wet sponge for cleaning up!
 Here's what to do:
 1. Pour the dry cornstarch into the bowl.
 2. Add about 1 1/2 cups of water.
 3. Using your hands, mix the two together until it forms a thick paste. (You may have to add a little water — the mixture should have the consistency of tapioca pudding!)
 4. Clear off the table around you and prepare to get a little messy!
 5. Take some of the mystery matter in your hand and let it rest in your hand. (Make sure you hold it over the bowl!)
 6. Next, grab a handful and give it a squeeze.
 7. Let a handful rest in your hand. As some falls between your fingers, try cutting it with scissors.
 8. Leave the mystery matter in the bowl and try poking it with your finger.

How can you force a physical change in matter? What happened to the state of the mystery matter when you took it out of the bowl and held it in your hand? What happened when you squeezed the mystery matter? What kind of energy was causing this change?

Before you try this Science Lab, predict what state of matter (solid, liquid or gas) your mystery matter is when it is sitting in the bowl.

When you've finished the Science Lab, share your results with the rest of your class. Based on your observations, what conclusions can you make about the state of your mystery matter? See what other tests you can come up with to prove your ideas.

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