Join us again in Dr. Frankenstein’s lab where his assistant Igor (pronounced eye-gore, of course!) is running things and letting us stick our hands into everything squishy.
Yesterday didn’t work out for the Haunted House food tricks but hey look, today works just as well. In addition to Igor’s Ichor we can play around with some squishy eyeballs and smoosh our hands into a brain.
Ichor is a word stemming from Greek mythology and refers to the (not-actually-blood) fluid running in the veins of the immortals. How did Igor get his hands on it? Best not to ask.
See also: petrichor – the smell of rain. Petrichor derives from petra (stone) + ichor. So the smell of rain is technically called gods’ blood rock? (Fun fact – humans can detect the smell of geosmin, the major component of petrichor, at a rate of only five parts in a trillion – ie our noses are 200,000x more sensitive to the smell of rain than sharks are to the scent of blood in the water! Why??) Learn more at the American Council on Science and Health.
- Cornstarch (½ c)
- Water (5 tbsp, or as needed)
- Colors, glitter, or fragrances (optional)
Grab a washcloth and get it plenty damp before you even start
Dump your cornstarch into a medium/small bowl
Add any additives to make it extra pretty – we used 4 drops of green food coloring and 2 of blue
Add the water one tablespoon at a time and mix thoroughly. It’s easy to add too much water. (If you do though, just add another tablespoon of cornstarch)
It’s very hard to mix. That’s normal, and, in fact, is part of the point. Go slowly until you’ve got an oozy gloop without too many lumps. The food coloring will help you ensure that it’s mixed through!
It should be very goopy, not watery. Too much water will break the slime.
Play around with it – what do you see? Compare how it looks with how it moves. Turn the whole thing upside down (with another bowl underneath it – this isn’t Dairy Queen!) and see what happens!
This particular ooze is my favorite to make at home because a) it’s dead easy b) it’s what’s known to us scientists as a non-Newtonian fluid. What that means is that it has a viscosity that changes depending on how hard/fast you touch it. Water moves easily and has a low viscosity – honey is thick and moves slowly so it has a high viscosity. Igor’s Ichor (commonly called “oobleck”) offers resistance similar to a solid when you’re trying to stir it or grab a handful, then drips right off your fingers like a liquid.
Watch a video explanation from Crash Course Kids!
Innards and More
In addition to Igor’s ichor, he let us get our hands on some eyeballs, a brain, and of course intestines! Peeled grapes are an absolute classic, but I loved trying out the marshmallow intestines. Because MGF loves eating marshmallows as a snack, it was something we actually had around the house.
We used the “recipes” found at Food Network Canada – link above.
Abby Normal’s Brain
- Oatmeal or (enough)
- Enough water to cook the starch
- Some cottage cheese
- Color (optional)
I eyeballed these but if you make entirely too much oatmeal like I did just save some for breakfast (assuming you notice before mixing it all together)
- Cook the oatmeal (or other starch)
- Mix the cottage cheese in
- Mix in a few drops of red.
- Mix mix mix everything up really well and then pour into a mesh colander and drain into a bowl.
- The resultant drain-off liquid is also really slimy and disgusting
- Shake out the colander and get it pretty well drained out
- Place the colander-bowl apparatus in the refrigerator to set for at least an hour or two. We cooked up all this stuff at night to play with in the morning.
- marshmallows small or large for small or large intestines
- needle and thread
- food coloring (if you like)
We used two drops of red which made it pink.
Because we’re making this in advance we did not use a whole lot of water.
We’re really doing this experimentally so just trying what seems like a good idea and see how it works.
- Make a garland out of the marshmallows end-to-end.
The marshmallows tear easily and there is nothing that I could say that would sufficiently prepare you how sticky and messy putting all the marshmallow on the string is. Marshmallows don’t seem like they are that sticky and messy when cool and dry, but they are on the inside.
- Place your garland into a bowl and wrap it into a coil.
- Drip a couple of drops of food coloring in if you want
- Cover with just a bit of water and kind of toss to coat – of course making sure you don’t get food coloring all over everywhere
- I let this sit overnight as well, tossing it a few times to make sure that it was really getting good and soaked in and sloppy
Igor’s Eye Gore
- some grapes
- A bowl
I used smallish red grapes because they were what we had that were already nearing end of life, but if you have any giant globe grapes even better! Red are nice because the bits of red skin look like blood vessels, but any are fine.
- Peel grapes
- Put them in a bowl
- Allow them to come to room temperature (optional but they will feel a little bit more realistic temperature vs at cool temperature.)
- You might even want to toss them in a little bit of the pink gloop from either your marshmallows or brain. You don’t want them dripping in blood but having a little bit of extra slime and just a hint of the food coloring could be a nice touch
I’ll provide an update tomorrow when we actually get up and play with these things and we’ll see how MGF reacts to the gross haunted house stuff.
Incidentally I have a Moms’ Night Out coming up this weekend at a haunted house and she was sad she couldn’t come with me. I tried to explain it to her that it’s made to be scary for grown-ups and most of the grown-ups coming with us are even scared about going and she told me that when she was 4 she was scared, but now she’s 5 and big and doesn’t get scared anymore. I promised her I would try to find a little kid – sorry – big kid haunted house for us to go to together.
Did you try any sticky slimy experiments? Which one was the most fun?
Here’s a puzzler: If geosmin is neutralized by acid, then why do canned pickled beets taste so much more like dirt than fresh? These are the things I need to know!!
Let’s talk on the Nerdish Homeschool Discord!