Science Sunday: Goodyear and rubber

We read the book “So You Want to be an Inventor,” it’s a great story that talks about different inventors and the many different ways inventors work.
For me the great joy was finding all of these different inventors in different places.  I was very surprised to find out Goodyear (I’ll go back and get his first name) was from Connecticut, I would have thought Michigan.  He’s a great lesson in persistence.  He spent over 10 years and most of his money, finally going broke before he figured out how to vulcanize rubber so it could be made into the many different things we use it for now.


And here’s where I remembered Christy from Superheroes and Princesses had done an experiment with Borax and glue to make bouncy balls, while not rubber, it’s still similar enough.

Well, we started working and mixing, and I got a few steps in the mixing wrong.


And then the problems really set in.  I let the kids measure the ingredients and I think they didn’t add quite enough cornstarch.  It was a hugely sticky mess.  Out of 10 kids, and my sample I think we got maybe 2 functional ones.  So, instead of being a neat lesson about how cool this pseudo bouncy ball is, it became a lesson in perseverance and how experiments don’t always work out……..  Oops.

It was still an enjoyable lesson.  It just didn’t work out how I thought it would.

I’m hoping someone had a successful science lesson this week.  This particular one was not as successful as we’d hoped.

11 thoughts on “Science Sunday: Goodyear and rubber

  1. When we did not succeed with our rock candy, my uncle (who happens to be a scientist) told me that you learn a lot more from failed science experiments than you do from those that succeed. I still wished we had rock candy.

  2. Well, they didn't learn what you intended, but they did learn how it's very important to measure accurately and how precise science experiments need to be (sometimes)! I have to look up that bouncy ball idea; I'm sure Matthew would love that!

  3. I agree with Natalie. Science is all about experimenting, some work and some don't, but that is why we try again, learning from our mistakes as we go.

  4. We have plenty of learning experiences that aren't exactly what we set out to do. I think we all learn something in those moments though. And I'm sure the kids had fun playing in the sticky goo!

  5. We are working on a blue footed booby unit study. I don't have all the booby projects we are doing posted yet. But I wrote a review of the study and listed projects. I will post more on individual booby projects soon and link them up with Science Sunday. This is an amazing bird that doesn't quite fit in with previous bird assumptions in the science community.

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