Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Bloggable Moment

Not too long ago, I was in the library studying with OP and Charcoal. We were sitting, each quietly working on our own assignments, when Charcoal started giggling and coming out with things like, “Wow!” and “Oh man!” She was clearly watching something on her laptop, and soon OP was watching too. Eventually, I asked what the heck they were watching, and Charcoal said, “Just some experiments with oobleck.”

“Experiments with what?” I said.

“Oobleck,” she said. “Haven’t you ever seen it?”

“No,” I replied. “What the heck is it?”

Charcoal got clearly excited about this and yelled one of the ongoing mottos of our program: “Teachable moment! Teachable moment!” She ran to get her professor, who was still in the building, and together they brought some cornstarch and water and made up a batch of oobleck.

And suddenly, I realized why she was so fascinated.

This stuff is amazing! Move it fast - it’s a solid! Move it slowly - it’s a liquid! It’s remarkable, I swear! It’s all goopy and sticky and so much fun. And all the while, Charcoal’s professor is teaching us about the properties of it and all that. It was, as Charcoal said, a teachable moment.

Suddenly, I wiped my hands off and ran to my purse. Charcoal asked, “What are you doing?”

I grabbed my camera and came back over to the table. “This isn’t just a teachable moment,” I said.

“This is a bloggable moment.”

(If you want to see a REALLY cool demo of the properties of oobleck, check out this clip. If you don't have time to watch the whole thing, you should at least watch for a bit starting around 1:30. So entertaining.)


CC said...

Yay- first to comment!

Ooblek is amazing indeed. We played with it in 7th grade science and it became somewhat of a class pet.


LaLa said...

Hmm. There you go, cornflour is useful for all kinds of things. My Mum used to use cornflour and vaseline on my bottom when I got nappy rash... obviously a long, long time ago.

CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

I love Ooobleck! Any time I can get my hands on it and in it, I'm a kid again.

Silicon Valley Moms Group said...

There is a Dr. Suess book about oobleck too!

Anonymous said...

I am most amazed that I actually see your hands with goop on them. Was this a step out of your comfort zone or a change that I'm just discovering?

Juka said...

Fun with non-Newtonian fluids! Yay!

Mocha said...

Oh, I have loved ooblek for a long time. I think it was when Mason was younger and we were bored so we looked up stuff to make with household items. Next, we're going to try meth.

Anonymous said...

Woo! I see there is another reader with nerdy sensibilities. Non-Newtonian fluid, indeed. My Navier-Stokes DNS program, given oobleck parameters, is breathing its last as the measured CFL is rapidly approaching zero. "Water!" it wails, "just give me some water. ... *gurgle* *gurgle* ... not that quickly!"

tpiglette said...

Non-Newtonian indeed. Oh the joys of 120A... one of the last ChemE classes I ever took... oh wait...

Yeahhh. Well at least it's fun to play with. ;)

Lara said...

CC - yay you! and yay for seventh grade!

lala - wow, that was possibly more information than i needed. but i'm glad you've long been over your "nappy rash." (and "nappy" here means something very different, so "nappy rash" is a very strange phrase to me.)

california teacher guy - yeah, that's kind of how we were acting, too!

momma to lg - yeah, wikipedia claims the name came from the seuss book, in fact. weird, huh?

mom - it was a major step outside my comfort zone. it was fun, but it didn't take long for me to dash for a sink, soap, and paper towels. ;)

justin - you are such a nerd.

mocha - let me know how the meth lab works out. maybe we could have a "teachable moment" with that next. :-P

alfred - see my comment to justin.

tpiglette - see my comment to alfred.

Anonymous said...

hah. the nerds strike in force. excellent.

silly putty is another fine example of a dilatant.

Lara said...

anonymous - oh jeez, are you a nerd too? :-P what is it about my blog that draws you all in? you people crack me up...