Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Oobleck vs. Gloop

Melanie Henderson
Bay District Schools


By the end of the lesson, second grade students will be able to explain that we use our senses to make observations and that the observations often describe properties of an object or substance.


The student keeps science records.


- Plenty of newspaper, to cover the desks
- Clear containers for Oobleck ( You will need 1 container per every group of four: eg. 6 containers for 24 students)
- Clear containers for Gloop (same) Containers may be large, clear ziplock bags, beakers, pickle jars, whatever you have available.
- Data collection sheets for each student (see associated file)
- Duty cards for the number of students
- Clothespins for the number of students
- One overhead transparency of the data sheet
- Timer
- Paper clips and small thumbtacks


Prepare ahead:
-Gloop: 2 parts Elmer's Glue, 1 part Sta-Flo liquid starch. Mix together and knead like dough. Gloop can be refrigerated for several weeks before it gets moldy.
- Oobleck: Cornstarch and water. Start out with about 2 boxes of cornstarch. Slowly add water while mixing. Keep adding water until semi-thick. Oobleck will get moldy within a few days. DO NOT pour it down the drain as it may stop it up. It is biodigradable so just empty it on the lawn in an unused corner.
-Duty cards: Can be made to suit your taste. You may cut pictures out and mount on colored paper, or simply write the words on colored paper. You will need four different duty cards - Gopher, Leader, Data Collector and Spokesperson. It is best to laminate these. Each set of four will need to be on different colored paper.


Part One:
1. Hold gloop and oobleck in hands.

2. Say: -Class, I'm holding some very important materials in my hands. They are samples taken from the surfaces of two newly discovered planets. You have been chosen as the first elementary school students to see and touch this material! In a few minutes you are going to get into groups and closely examine the substances, which NASA has named Gloop and Oobleck. Use your keen observation skills to describe the substances in detail! NASA is waiting for our report!

Part Two: Management of Activity
1. Pass around a box with the duty cards in them, and ask each child to choose one card. You may also decide to assign these.

2. Assemble students in groups of four according to the color of their cards.

3. Explain the role of the Gopher: Only person in the group who is permitted out of his/her seat. The Gopher is in charge of all materials and is also in charge of cleaning up after the activity.

4. Explain the role of Leader: The person in the group who makes sure that everything is running smoothly and that the directions are being followed accurately. The leader is the only person in the group who may ask the teacher questions.

5. Explain the role of the Data Collector: The person who records the data as it is collected by the group.

6. Explain the role of the Spokesperson: The person in the group who presents the groups' findings at the end of the lesson.

Part Three: The Activity
1. Tell the gophers to secure all materials and bring it to their tables ( this includes newspapers, oobleck, gloop, 2 paperclips, 2 thumbtacks and data collection sheet).

2. Tell the entire class to manipulate the substances, describing their findings on the data sheet.

3. Explain the Poke test: Use you finger to poke the substance first slowly and then quickly.

4. Explain the Squeeze test: Use your fist to squeeze some of the substance.

5. Explain the Sinker test: Use the paper clip and thumbtack to see if they sink in the substances.

6. Explain the Drying out test: Pour some of each substance on newspaper and see if it dries out.

7. Explain the Roll in the ball test: Try to roll substances into a ball when it is wet and after is has dried.

8. Allow the groups 20 minutes to experience, play with and discuss the characteristics of gloop and oobleck.

Part Four: Whole Class Discussion/Closure
1. Get the students ready for a transition to whole class instruction by saying -I've set the timer for 2 minutes. You need to have everything cleaned up and back in its place within two minutes. Also, make sure that your data sheets are completed and the spokesperson is ready to present the findings of the group.-

2. After the timer rings, allow each spokesperson a minute or so to describe their findings.

3. Record each groups' findings on an overhead transparency of the data sheet.

4. Lead a discussion on how the descriptions are actually observations that were made using senses. How were you able to describe the substances? Sticky? Wet? White? No smell.( May help to circle these description words with a colored pen.)

5. Introduce the terms qualitative observation and properties, writing each on the board.

6. Qualitative observations use precise describing words, using the senses, to tell about a substance.

7. Properties are the special qualities of a substance and do not use any senses.
- Point out key words on the overhead that show observations. Discuss with students to check for understanding.

8. Emphasize that observation skills are one of the most important skills that scientists possesses.

9.Assign a homework project for the night. They will write their observations of a raw egg (uncracked), a piece of celery or carrot, and an apple. Students are to use a data sheet to record their observations. They are to use all their senses in their observations. Make sure students understand the assignment and the data sheet.


Students and teacher will review the homework assignment together the next day in class. (Just as in this lesson). Look for describing words on the data sheets, which indicate understanding of an observation.
( An observation uses only describing words, derived from using your senses). Students should use words to describe what they see, smell, hear, touch, and taste for each item. For example: egg- round, white, smooth, odorless, cold)


- Have students design, draw and describe a spaceship that would be capable of landing on a surface like oobleck or gloop.
- Have students write a letter to NASA inquiring about the real surfaces of other planets.
- Have students read [Bartholemew and the Oobleck] by Dr. Seuss (Random House Pub. 1949). Then have students compare and contrast the oobleck portrayed in the book and the oobleck made in class.

Attached Files

The data sheet and the homework sheet.     File Extension: pdf

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