Today I took my kids to the brand spanking new science lab to do our oobleck lab. I could have just as easily done this lab in my room except for the fact that it's nice to have a sink with running water to use. In years past, before we had a lab, the kids knew it was lab day when they saw old (I prefer recycled) kitty litter buckets and milk jugs full of water in the front of the room. That was my sink.
So, despite the fact that we lose time walking to and from the lab, and they have to be quiet on the way (something desperately difficult to do), I decided to take them there. After all, it's for their use and it does get them jazzed up about science. And it's not messing up my room.
First and especially second period, had major issues cleaning up. I swear, I'd have them clean up after the lab, and it ended up looking worse than it did before they cleaned up! (I really would have to see their bedrooms.) Fourth period, however, cleaned up so well we could have eaten off the floor. Fifth period did well too, which was nice as it meant I didn't have to clean up again during my planning.
Oobleck, for those of you who don't know, is a wonderful thing to make with your kids. All it is is cornstarch and water. You mix it up and it acts really odd. One minute it's a dry ball in your hand, and the next thing you know it's "melting" and turning into a liquid. The goal was for the kids to figure out if it was a liquid or a solid. (They decided it had characteristics of both and decided to call it a solquid.) At first some of them didn't want to touch it, but after a few seconds you find kids just letting it drip through their fingers (and all over the tables) like goo, then balling it up into balls in their fists. Pretty freaky stuff and every year when they do it, they have a ball. (And usually I get a couple of parents at open house who ask for the directions because their kid won't just up about it.)
Ah....and we survived the lab. Or better yet, the lab survived us.