Scientists Still Have Some Questions About Oobleck #makereducation
Wired took a deeper look into the science behind Oobleck, one of the most common classroom STEM activities:
Of course, the most famous force applied to oobleck is the weight of a person slamming their foot down as they run over a vat filled with the stuff. You can find plenty of videos on Youtube of people repeating this amazing feat, including the one above. It’s not just little children, college students, and Ellen viewers who are impressed. Explaining all of oobleck’s properties is actually the subject of serious scientific investigations.
In 2012, researchers at the University of Chicago published a paper where they described the battery of experiments they performed on oobleck (you can watch a video of their tests below). It’s hard not to be impressed by all the science these guys are doing on some bizarre stuff I used to play with as a kid: Lasers! High-speed cameras! X-ray machines! Their lab has got it all.
After measuring all the forces and deformations involved inside of oobleck, the researchers think they know how it is able to generate the support for messiah-like party tricks. If you hit oobleck hard and fast, the cornstarch particles get shoved together, bunching up like snow in front of a snowplow. This creates a quasi-solid column just below your foot, which can support your weight. But if you stop moving, you stop applying force and the oobleck returns to a liquid state.
Each Tuesday is EducationTuesday here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts about educators and all things STEM. Adafruit supports our educators and loves to spread the good word about educational STEM innovations!
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.