Slime Time The Second

Last Sunday we were down at the Royal Three Counties Show in the Discovery Zone. Thanks to Heidi Dobbs, our RSC regional coordinator, we were given the opportunity to do our thing on the third and final day. Folks from Birmingham uni did Saturday and Heidi did Friday with her epic Chemistry Busking boxes.  After our highly successful Keele Community Day, we decided to focus on the slime activity and worry less about hydrogen peroxide/elephant’s toothpaste. Actually we’ve been tearing our hair out a wee bit on prep as we couldn’t quite pin down why it wasn’t working well. Probably the peroxide and we’ll fix it before the ChemNet day at the end of the month.

Anyway, slime of the poly(vinyl alcohol) variety was a better call as there were only two of us on the stand for the day and it’s easier to focus on one thing. It goes down quite well with a young audience! I spent 5 minutes trying to convince one young man that girls did like slime, and we managed to establish that the very general statement encompassing all females was based on empirical evidence from school, N = 1. Other interesting things I noticed were that largely, the choice of slime colour (red, orange, yellow, green, blue and pink once the red starting running down) was varied with no one colour being preferred by either gender.  At least this time no one felt faint at the sight of red slime!

I think I need to expand the activity a bit, probably wouldn’t work in such a busy environment, but it’s a great opportunity to talk about polymers and why animals produce slime (mucins), and how drug delivery can exploit mucosal surfaces in humans. Perhaps it would make a good Hallow’een activity!

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