RESOURCESStressing Silly Putty Hands-on Inquiry Activity
- Download Teacher Lesson Plan and Student Activity Sheet for "Stressing Silly Putty."
- Watch Teacher Tips video for the activity and review procedure and safety notes in the Teacher Lesson Plan.
- Gather materials for each group of students.
For each group of 3-4 students:
To share with an entire class:
- Plastic containers (2), for mixing water and glue, and water and borax powder (i.e., deep-dish plastic food storage containers, 1.8L (64 ounces) no lids needed)
- Spoons, plastic, (3) 3 disposable spoons
- Borax powder, (4 teaspoons)
- Plastic bags that seal (3) (such as Ziploc® sandwich bags)
- Condiment cups (2), clear ~60ml (2-ounce)
- Graduated cylinder, 100 ml (1)
- Ruler, 30 cm (12-inch) or longer (1)
- Stopwatch (1)
- White school glue, ~177ml (6 ounces)
- Permanent marker, to label plastic bags
- Soap and water, for cleaning containers and hands
- Safety glasses, 1 pair per student
- (optional) newspapers to cover desks
Supplemental (per group):
- Borax®, 76-ounce box (aka sodium borate; available at grocery stores)
- 1 set of measuring spoons for solids
Show Introduction video for "Stressing Silly Putty."
Distribute "Stressing Silly Putty" Student Activity Sheets and materials. Review Key Questions, introductory information and procedure with students.
Conduct the activity following tips in the Teacher Lesson Plan. Remind students to wear safety glasses during the mixing process.
Have groups share and compare results. Ask students to work collaboratively with group members to answer Analysis Questions.
Show Conclusion video for "Stressing Silly Putty" and conduct a whole-class discussion of responses to Analysis Questions (answers in Teacher Lesson Plan).
"When Physics Meets Biology - Stress and Strain segment" Guiding Questions
- Access to computer with Microsoft Excel or similar spreadsheet and graphing application
What is the difference between stress and strain?
Stress is the cause of strain. For example, if you pull on a rubber band, your force is causing the stress on the rubber band. How much the rubber band stretches in response to that is the strain.
What are three basic types of stress that tissue can experience?
The three basic types are tensile stress, when the tissue is stretched; shear stress, when the tissue is twisted; and compressive stress, when the tissue is compressed into a smaller volume through pressure on its sides.
Note: Lessons may be downloaded as two separate Teacher Activity Guides: