I never thought that making slime was educational. Until recently.
I have the privilege of working one-on-one with a nine year old young man, who finds learning – particularly maths – incredibly challenging. He often shrugs his shoulders and throws in the towel. So a few weeks ago, when he asked “how do you make slime?” I told him honestly that I had no clue, but there must be ways to find out.
This has led to a three chapter investigation. The first week, we used cornstarch as the main ingredient. He was comparing quantities and estimating without thinking about the difficulty. The “slime” was a disaster! And I celebrated. “What do you think we need to do differently?” I asked, and he hypothesised. So when he arrived the following week, he happily dove in to reading and interpreting a new recipe (with contact lense solution!) and comparing it to the previous week’s recipe.
Alas – another mess! And the conversation grew. “We need to persevere to get this right,” we decided. “Our mistakes are helping us know what we shouldn’t do next time.”
Chapter 3 unfolded with young lad arriving with his own You Tube Clip and we took notes while we watched. We decided we were missing one ingredient, so perhaps we could improvise. We searched through some other recipes and decided we need to make our own liquid starch. We headed into the kitchen and looked at the measuring equipment. “Which one is larger, which one holds less? How many ml in two cups?” The skills that he employed without calling it maths are varied and impressive.
“We’ve hit the jackpot!” he proudly announced, his hand dripping in yellow “stuff”. Now this is slime. We spoke about what we learnt and on his way out, I am told that when he found his home learning challenging this week, he said, “I’ll give it a go – just like like the slime!”
Yes – I think “we’ve hit the jackpot” !