Festive Magic Goo

It's a solid! No, it's a liquid! Is it both? Make a batch of kid-friendly magic goo (also known as 'oobleck') this holiday season with SRC and Wowl STEAM Lab and see for yourself what makes this goo so fun.

Enjoy exploring the magic goo’s different textures! Try some artwork with your goo. See the demonstration video for a few great options to start with. 

Download the Magic Goo instruction sheet. Share your experiments with the world, tag #sciencewithsrc

Disclaimer
Wear gloves to protect your hands from food colouring. While every reasonable effort is made to provide experiments that are safe, adult supervision is recommended at all times when experiments are performed. Safety gear, such as gloves and glasses, may be required. 

ingredients

  • A bowl or container 
  • 250 g corn starch
  • 100 g water
  • Food colouring (green, red or any other colour you’d like!)
  • Food extract (e.g., peppermint, almond, coconut) - just for some nice festive smells
  • A spoon

instructions

  1. Set up a bowl or container to keep your workstation clean.
  2. Pour 250 g of corn starch into the container.
  3. Add a few drops of food coloring into 100 g of water. Feel free to add food extract into the water to create your custom festive look and smell.
  4. Pour the water mixture into the container.
  5. Mix the water and corn starch together with a spoon or your hands. 
  6. When it’s ready, you can punch the goo and it acts as a solid but can be easily grabbed like a liquid.

Note: Corn starch in different brands behaves differently. You can add more water or corn starch if needed. Play with the ratio and see what happens to the goo.

Done the experiment? Download your Honourary Scientist Certificate!

how it works

This magic goo (sometimes referred to as “Oobleck”) is what scientists call a Non-Newtonian liquid. Sir Issac Newton stated individual liquids flow at consistent, predictable rates. As you've already discovered, magic goo does NOT follow those rules – it can act almost like a solid if you punch the goo hard enough and keep rubbing it together, and then it flows like a liquid once you stop. 

So why does magic goo act this way? Most of it has to do with pressure. The size, shape, and makeup of the corn starch grains causes the cornstarch to “lock-up” and hold its shape when pressure is applied to it.