Week 22 (4-10-17) Silly Putty and Averages

Listed on the board are questions we wanted to ask ourselves about our rice experiment. Only we didn’t start there. And as a result, we never got back to our questions or our rice. But…totally okay.

On the other side of the board is an example of our data gathered last week from our cars and ramps experiment. What we’re trying to figure is the average distance our car moved the yogurt cup it bumped after three trials at three different heights.  I’ll explain in a moment, because we didn’t start here either.

We started here. With Borax and glue and water. What we wanted to do was combine all of these ingredients to make our own silly putty.

This is the gal that makes it look simple. And it’s her recipe we’re using today.

The recipe calls for 1 Tablespoon of Borax to be mixed with 4 cups of water.

Here I am mixing it with the handle of a wooden spoon.

It’s at this time, while the handle is swirling the mixture, that I drizzle in the glue.

So two things at once. Swirling with the handle and adding glue.

What the continual stirring does is keep the glue from wandering away in the water. Instead it groups itself around the handle.

As soon as I’m done adding the glue–and it can be any amount, I swirl it another few seconds and then pull out the handle with the glue wrapped around it.

The stuff is wayyy stringy at first.

And it’s wet. Even gooey.

But as we squeeze it and work it in our hands, it becomes putty.

Let’s do it again.

Please note: I didn’t add more Borax to the water. I just repeated the process by swirling and adding glue.

So here we are swirling again. Kind of like a whirlpool.

Now we’re adding the glue while we’re swirling.

And there we are with another piece of putty.

This is what our water looks like. Cloudy. Because at no time has all the Borax dissolved. Which was why I chose to not add any more Borax during our consecutive glue pourings.

However, what resulted was less concentrated putty the more batches we made.

We had two solutions going, so our putty didn’t range from fantastic to ultra wimpy.

But it did have a range.

Those who were the 3rd or 4th persons to get their putty had putty that was wetter and softer.

Only the putty wasn’t bad. Just different.


Probably should have added more Borax. 🙂

When everyone had putty, and had stored it in a plastic Easter egg, we opened our folders to last week’s data sheet for our cars and ramps.

What we did next was crawl through the steps of figuring out how to compute our averages. We went over each step slowly and then slowly again.

Until it started becoming understandable…and then finally easy for some.

We had to add our distances first. Then we had to divide that sum by the number of trials. This meant long division.

Then, what had been easy for some, became manageable and doable for everyone.

Until we’d all finished strong.

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