Hands-On Wednesday: Agate Candy


Observe both a physical and a chemical reaction in this tasty experiment. You may have seen agate crystals used as a colorful home decorations, but it took many years for these rock formations to develop.  Agate crystals are formed when microcrystals within a hollow pocket of a host rock begin self-organizing to form patterns. The colors and arrangements of the crystals are influenced by changes in temperature, pressure, and mineral content. Luckily, our experiment only requires a physical change by being crushed, a chemical change from the oven by being heated and melted, and it takes a lot less time to develop these crystals!

Hands-On Wednesday: Paddle Boats


We are nearing the end of summer, but it is still so much fun to play in the water! With this hands-on project, we created a paddle boat that is able speed through the water by using foam based propellers to drive it. By twisting the rubber bands attached to the propellers, you build up potential energy. When the propellers are released, the energy changes to kinetic and you get to watch your boat zoom away!

Hands-On Wednesday: What Can Beat the Heat?

Here in Texas, it is getting quite hot outside, so we chose to see what objects could beat the heat this week! Using a muffin tin, we added various objects we had leftover from Summer Camp to test. We made predictions about which objects would melt in the 90 to 100 degree weather we’re experiencing here, and after 24 hours, we found that the crayons and chocolate had melted completely! We know that every solid has a melting point — but only a few that we chose had melting points low enough that they couldn’t beat the Texas heat. Choose some objects around your house, and try this out at home!

Hands-On Wednesday: Fluffy Slime

Do you love to play with gooey slime? You can create your very own slime with just a few simple ingredients. When you add all of the ingredients, they work together to create a slimy polymer. Polymers are collections of continuously repeating molecules. The glue is a liquid polymer by itself, but when you add the contact solution, it cross links the long strands of glue molecules so when you pull out one chain of slime, all the rest comes with it in a blob!


  • Shaving Cream
  • Bottle of Elmer’s Glue
  • Food Coloring
  • Baking Soda
  • Contact Solution
  • Large Bowl

How to:

1) Add the following ingredients to a bowl in the order they are listed:

  • 3.5 bottles of shaving cream
  • 5 4oz bottles of Elmer’s glue
  • 30 drops of food coloring of choice
  • 5 tsp baking soda
  • 10 tbsp contact solution

2) Stir vigorously for 5-10 minutes.
3) Get messy!

This slime has another cool property. It has a lot of viscosity! Viscosity is a fluid’s resistance to flow. Water likes to flow very fast. Think about when you pour out a glass of water — it quickly spills to the ground. This means water has a low amount of viscosity. Not all liquids are in such a hurry to get somewhere! Have you ever put maple syrup on your pancakes? Does maple syrup come out as fast as water? No. So, we say that maple syrup is more viscous than water. Polymers, like this slime, tend to be more viscous. That’s why this slime moves more slowly between your hands as you play with it!