Reading program keeps up hands-on approach with visit from Hands On!

Published 8:44 am Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What makes Silly Putty so silly?Photo by Brandon Hicks
The Summer Reading Program continued its focus on fun with an educational twist with a look at the science behind fun, led by Hands On! Regional Museum.
The young readers also learned how to make their own putty toy to take home with them.
Shannon Walsh with Hands On! led Tuesday’s sessions and talked briefly with the young readers about how some items are made before they got to make their own hands-on experiment.
Walsh told the group about engineers and polymers, which are building blocks for flexible materials used to make some things.
She first asked the group if they knew what an engineer’s job was. Some of the young readers responded an engineer drives a train, and others said engineers build things. While both are technically correct, Walsh offered another definition for what an engineer does.
“Some engineers design things,” Walsh said. “They have to decide what materials are best for what they are building.”
For example, if an engineer was planning for a bouncy ball, Walsh said they wouldn’t want to use glass to make the ball, but would want to use rubber.
And the mention of rubber brought polymers into the conversation. Polymers are made up of many molecules, making them flexible, strong and bendable.
Walsh said plastics and rubber products examples of manufactured polymers. Hair and fingernails are examples of natural polymers, along with starchy foods like rice and potatoes.
The young readers then made their own putty toy to take home with them.
To make putty, mix 1/4 cup glue with 1/4 cup water. Add in food coloring if desired and stir to color the mixture. Then add one tablespoon of Borax to the mixture and stir as it starts to turn sticky. After that, knead it with hands or in a plastic bag for five to 10 minutes to complete mixing. Store the putting in an airtight container to save.

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