Seuss, Dr. (1971). Bartholomew and the Oobleck. New York: Random House.

A page boy named Bartholomew proves himself wiser than a mighty ruler, and saves the kingdom from being swallowed by buckets of gooey, green goop.

Oobleck Water Cycle - Adapted Project WET Activity

Project WET Incredible Journey - Incredible Journey.pdf
Recording Sheet - Oobleck cycle.pdf
Dice Pictures - Use the Oobleck Picture instead of "Plants" for the original activity. Replace the picture for plants with the Oobleck picture on the Soil cube.
IncredibleJourneyPDF copy.pdf


I. Air pollution - Tuten-Puckett (1990)
Air pollution - have students research and write about air pollution in the state, the nation, worldwide.

II. Weather (Suters)
Read the book in coordination with your unit on weather. Discuss different types of precipitation.

III. Making Oobleck
Several activities follow that describe different lessons with Oobleck. Numerous recipes for oobleck can be found on the web - some have been included. Oobleck can be easily cleaned, does not stain, and should not be disposed down a drain! Encourage wearing safety goggles when mixing these substances as a class.

A. Novelli (2003)
Ask students to describe and write directions for how they could make Oobleck. Read student directions aloud - what do they have in common? How are they different? Share a recipe for Oobleck with students. How is it like their recipes? How is it different? Explore properties. Based on your observations, do you think Oobleck is a solid or liquid?

Sample recipe:
Pour 3 cups room-temperature water into a large bowl. Add 5-6 drops green food coloring. Stir in 5 cups cornstarch (one cup at a time) and mix well. Adjust the mixture as needed by adding more water or cornstarch.

B. Krantz (2004)
Process skills are emphasized: Observation, comparing and contrasting, recording data, and making inferences.
Students will be given 3 substances to compare. Students should explain which of the 3 substances was Oobleck and why. Encourage touching of all substances. Make sure they use examples from the story and from their observations. If a unanimous decision cannot be reached, try constructing a Venn diagram (see Inspiration template under “planning”). Ask each student to create a name for the other substance. Describe how they are similar and how they are different to Oobleck.

Substance 1
4 parts cornstarch
1 part water
Green food coloring
Large bowl
Add food coloring to water. Slowly add cornstarch. Stir constantly. Add enough cornstarch until a substance is produced that is not too thick/brittle (add more water) or too thin (add more cornstarch). If necessary, the substance can be stored in a refrigerator for a few days to prevent growth of mold.

Substance 2
White glue (four 8 oz. bottles)
Borax (the solution made will be enough for 20 students; one bowl of solution per group)
One 4-5 qt. bowl
Stirring sticks
Small cups (5 oz.) (for each student)
2-liter bottle
green food coloring

Premix: pour bottles of white glue in 4-5 qt. container. Fill empty bottle once with warm water and combine with glue (1:1 ratio). Add coloring and stir thoroughly. Fill the cups with about 2 inches of solution, making 1 cup for each child.

Borax solution: In 2-liter bottle, add 3 cups of Borax and fill with water. Shake.

Substance 3
Elmer’s blue glue (using five 4 oz. bottles)
Stirring sticks (popsicle sticks)
Small cups
2-liter bottle
green food coloring

Premix: Pour bottles of Elmer’s blue glue in 4-5 qt. container. Fill empty bottle three times with warm water and combine with glue (3:1 ratio). Add coloring and stir thoroughly. Fill the cups with about 2 inches of solution, making 1 cup for each child.

Borax solution: In 2-liter bottle, add 3 cups of Borax and fill with water. Shake.

Additives: To provide an additional dimension to your students’ observation, you can add glitter and/or scents such as lemon, apple, vanilla, etc.

Substance 2 & 3- distribute 1 cup of substance premix, 1 stirring rod, 1 eyedropper to each student, community bowl of Borax solution. Ask students to slowly begin adding drops of Borax solution to Substance 2 premix. Be sure they stir the mix as they add the droplets. Add enough Borax solution to cause most of the liquid in Substance to form a semi-solid slime. When a gelatinous state has occurred, ask students to stop adding the Borax and tell them to remove the new substance from the cup and place it in their hands.

C. Sonek (2000)
The students take a trip to an imaginary newly discovered planet in our solar system. Students work as teams of scientists to investigate the planet’s surface. Students will investigate the physical properties - touch, smell, texture, state or phase, color, temperature, size, weight, etc. Students should be familiar with the 3 states of matter. Inform students that they will be testing to see if the substance is different from the usual states of matter.

¾ cup cornstarch, 4 oz. water, and food coloring (mix water and food coloring, slowly add cornstarch while stirring)

Materials needed: small objects - pennies, Styrofoam balls, toothpicks, wooden craft sticks, wax paper, hand lenses, other various small objects.

Possible Activity sheet
Appearance, color, weight, texture

Feel - touch with finger

Feel - push finger quickly into substance

Pour some on wax paper. Describe what happens. Does it pour like a liquid?

Scrape some of it off. What does it look like? What does it look like after a few seconds?

Try picking up a piece. How does it feel?

Put some into palm of hand and try to roll into a small ball. What happens when you stop rolling it?

Test the substance with small objects. Record what happens.

Try to push some of the objects slowly and quickly over the surface. Record observations.

Discuss term colloids after students have shared their observations. Colloids are substances that are composed of particles that are extremely small that are suspended in a suitable gas, liquid, or solid.

D. Buchanan (2005)
Individual servings:
3-5 ml of room temp water
10 ml of cornstarch
green food coloring
2 bathroom-size plastic cups (one for water, one for cornstarch, measured beforehand)
Class size amount (30 students)
1.0-1.5 L of room temp water
2.5 L of cornstarch
green food coloring
150 ml plastic cups
plate of aluminum pie pan

Mix food coloring and water. Add the water to the cornstarch in a plastic cup. If you are making a class-size amount, mix in the water 250 ml at a time. Stir until the mixture will flow from a cup, but is solid to the touch. Add cornstarch if the mixture is too runny.

E. Crowther & Ross
This lesson can be downloaded from the following website (brief details provided below):

Materials needed:
4-8 boxes of cornstarch
1 gallon baggie with dehydrated colored Oobleck
1 gallon Ziplock Baggie of flour
1 gallon Ziplock Baggie of baking powder
1 gallon Ziplock Baggie of powdered sugar
1 gallon Ziplock Baggie of corn starch
3 oz. Solo cups (1 per student)
12 oz. Solo cups (2 per student)
Variety of measuring devices - standard and/or metric
Food coloring
Popsicle sticks for stirring
Paper towels
Water - a 5 gallon bucket if no source in room

  • Have the four 1 gallon Baggies on a central table marked as mystery powders (A), (B), (C), & (D).
  • Read book to page 17. Share a small amount of pre-made Oobleck as a demonstration. Do same with the dried Oobleck.
  • Explain to students that their job is two-fold. A) from the dried or dehydrated Oobleck find the proper ratio for mixing Oobleck; B) determine which powder is Oobleck powder using the previously determined ratio of water to powder mixture.

Terms defined: solution, suspension, colloid, Tyndall Effect, Immiscible liquids, Emulsion

F. Unknown source

Use the scientific method to identify Oobleck as a solid or a liquid.
  1. Make observations. Use all your senses.
  2. Make a hypothesis.
  3. Identify your problem. What will happen to Oobleck if ? You may want to see what happens if it is heated, cooled, set in sunshine, etc.
  4. To find out I can _. This is your experiment. It is very important that you design your own experiment.
  5. This is what happened .

Now, use the information you gathered to decide if Oobleck is a solid or a liquid.

Buchanan, Kelly. (December, 2005). Oobleck and beyond. The Science Teacher, p. 52-54.

Crowther, David & Ross, Ryan. Oobleck and the Mysterious Powders.

Krantz, Patrick D. (Fall, 2004). Inquiry, Slime, and the National Standards. Science Activities, 41(3), p. 22-25.

Novelli, Joan (2003). Teaching with Favorite Dr. Seuss Books. New York, Scholastic Inc.

Sonek, Barbara. (February, 2000). Find the physical properties of a mysterious substance. Curriculum Review, 39(6). p. 7-8.

Tuten-Puckett, K. (1990). Dr. Seuss Is on the Loose! Planning Month-Long Activities Using Dr. Seuss Materials. Eric Document: ED326867