Lesson: Oobleck: What's the Matter

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Lesson Objective

Given the unknown state that Oobleck is in, students will make observations to draw a conclusion of which state of matter it is.

Lesson Plan


  • Prepare Oobleck and separate into ziploc bags. (1 part water : 1 part cornstarch)
  • Mix cornstarch and water. Use green food coloring for effect.
  • Separate oobleck into bags (1 for each group/table)
  • Check out: Bartholomew and the Oobleck   By: Dr. Seuss



  • What is matter?
  • What are the different types of matter?


  • Read Bartholomew and the Oobleck
  • (Guiding Questions during the beginning of the story.)
  • What state of matter is rain?
  • How do you know?
  • What state of matter is fog?
  • How would you characterize gases? 
  • What state of matter is snow?
  • Can you think of other examples of solids?



  • I brought some Oobleck with me today. At your tables you’ll be able to explore it and make observations about it, but let’s go over the expectations.
  • At the tables there is a Ziploc bag of Oobleck. With your eyes only, I want you to talk at your tables about what state of matter you think it is. Why? Write observations.
  • Pick up the bag, by the top. What do you notice about the Oobleck when you pick it up? Set it back down in the middle. Do NOT grab for the bag. If you notice someone else reaching for it, let them have it, and everyone will get a turn. Record on your observation sheet.
  • When each person has written these first 2 observations down, cut a hole in the bag and give each student a small handful of oobleck to explore.
  • Students should write down 3 ways that oobleck is like a solid and 3 ways oobleck is like a liquid.
  • After observation time, let students wash hands and come to the carpet with their observations.



  • Chart: 2 column: Solid | Liquid
  • Ask: How many think oobleck is a solid? How many think oobleck is a liquid?
  • Tell: Oobleck is sometimes a solid and sometimes a liquid.
  • Chart: Have students share how oobleck is alike a solid and how oobleck is like a liquid.
  • Tell: Tomorrow we will be exploring the 3rdstate of matter: Gas



In this lesson, students explore a substance that behaves both like a solid and a liquid. I love any lesson where I can use literature to tie in a concept in a different content area. The weather in the book can signify the 3 different states of matter (rain, fog, snow) and oobleck is this sticky substance in between. This is also a great connection to college students using the same "oobleck" for fun and experimentation!   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUYEN9_84ug

and Mythbusters:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wiYtoG9kZE&feature=related

Lesson Resources

Science Matter Oobleck StudentResponse   Project / Lab
Mythbusters: Walking on Water
USU Engineering Week


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