Category Archives: Cool Products

Until Next Year, Polymer Body Parts

Halloween is over and it’s time to put away the polymer body parts, but first, let’s compare what they look like at the end of October with what they looked like at the beginning of October.

Each polymer body part is about two inches long.
Each polymer body part is about two inches long.
Each body part is between 4 and 7 inches long!
Each body part is between 4 and 7 inches long!

Watching a polymer grow is always fun;  with some polymers, the transformation is instant, and with others, the change takes a little more time, but never very much time.  With the dismembered body parts, watching the transformation is like watching the hour hand on a clock; it never seems to move while you’re looking at it, but when you look away and then look again, there’s been movement.

Now Halloween is over and the body parts are drying out.  They didn’t grow in a day and they won’t shrink back in a day, but once they seem dry, I’ll put them back into their jar and put the jar back in the laundry room until NEXT October.

One more time, look really closely at how big they got.

Big polymer body partsMore big polymer body partsBig polymer parts again

Until next October then, dismembered body parts.  (Polymers last pretty much forever, you know.)

 

Jane GoodwinJane Goodwin is a professor of expository writing at Ivy Tech Community College, a hands-on science teacher for College for Kids, a professional speaker and writer, and a social media liaison  for Steve Spangler Science.  She wanted to be a ballerina and an astronaut, but gravity got the better of her.

Dismembered Body Parts: Day 31

Check out our dismembered body parts now!  Skipped a few days, do you think?  I got busy playing with other polymers with my students – pictures to follow.

When last we left our dismembered body parts, the hypothesis was that the polymer hand, foot, brain, nose, ear, and hungry alligator would eventually grow so large that they would push off the lid of the jar.  As you can see, that’s exactly what happened.

Check out the jar's lid.  It's being pushed out of the way by those giant still-growing polymer body parts!
Check out the jar’s lid. It’s being pushed out of the way by those giant still-growing polymer body parts!

Actually, as the jar seems to be completely full of dismembered body parts, I don’t think there’s any place for them to grow and go except up and out.

Quite a contrast to the tiny body parts that didn’t even cover the bottom of the jar a few weeks ago, huh.

That’s how polymers work – just add a little water and they morph into giant things that astound us.  Polymers are so cool.

Stay tuned for details on size.  I’ll need TWO rulers this time.

Dismembered Body Parts: Day 9

I’ve missed a few days since Day One, but the point remains that our hydrogel polymer dismembered body parts just keep on growing.  Kind of as if they were real. . . .

I need to add more water!
I need to add more water! The dismembered body parts need room to grow!

Remember how tiny each of these dismembered pieces used to be? Two inches, and all of them together not covering the bottom of the big jar, and now? Pretty soon they’ll be outgrowing the jar! I wonder if they’ll push the lid off. . . Well, we’ll have to wait and see.

Hypothesis: If the jar’s lid is not screwed on tightly, the hydrogel polymer dismembered body parts will push the lid off and completely outgrow this jar.

Therefore, I’ll unscrew the lid, add more water, and set the lid back on loosely.

And now we wait.

 

Jane GoodwinJane Goodwin is a professor of expository writing at Ivy Tech Community College, a hands-on science teacher for College for Kids, a professional speaker and writer, and a social media liaison  for Steve Spangler Science.  She wanted to be a ballerina and an astronaut, but gravity got the better of her.

Dismembered Body Parts: Day Five

Dismembered body parts: day five?  What happened to Day Four?

Sorry about day four.  I went to a Renaissance Faire dressed like Minerva McGonagall.  Any questions?

Moving right along to Day Five, the polymer body parts have almost filled the jar.  All but two of them are still floating, but one of the noses is on the bottom of the jar.  Do you know why?

That nose didn't stand a chance against the alligator!
That nose didn’t stand a chance against the alligator!

The alligator is pushing the nose down to the bottom of the jar, that’s why. The nose WANTS to float, along with its friends the brain, the hand, the ear, and the rest of the gang, but when you’re just a nose and an alligator is pushing you around, the alligator is going to win.

Oh, and the cat is still wondering what on earth has happened to her tabletop naptime spot.  You can almost hear her thinking, “What is all this scary stuff doing on my nappy spot?”  Several times a day, she pushes everything around to make a space for her nap.

Okay, YOU try to move her.

Photobombed by a big black cat.
Photobombed by a big black cat.

 

Jane GoodwinJane Goodwin is a professor of expository writing at Ivy Tech Community College, a hands-on science teacher for College for Kids, a professional speaker and writer, and a social media liaison  for Steve Spangler Science.  She wanted to be a ballerina and an astronaut, but gravity got the better of her.

Dismembered Polymer Body Parts, Days 2 & 3

You saw how tiny the dry polymer body parts were in my first post about dismembered body parts.  Polymers absorb the liquid quickly, some more quickly than others, but all absorb pretty fast.  Our dismembered polymer body parts, packed away since last October and dry as bones (body parts. bones.  I crack myself up sometimes!) wasted no time in starting to soak up the water and grow.  Think about how they looked on Day One.  Now look at Day Two!

One day's good soaking can really make a difference!
One day’s good soaking can really make a difference!

I had a little trouble getting a good picture on Day Three as the cat seemed to consider herself one of the Halloween decorations and refused to move out of the way. She also believes that those dismembered body parts are going to eventually end up in her supper bowl; I can tell by the way she wraps her body around the jar and WATCHES them. My apologies for the quality of Day Three’s picture, but the cat rules the house and she was there on the table for the duration.

She wasn't moving and it's not wise to interfere.
She wasn’t moving and it’s not wise to interfere.

This is Millicent, and she wasn’t letting any pumpkins, skulls, tombstones, dismembered body parts, or strobe lights get in the way of a good nap.    You can sort of see the body parts and the alligator in the jar behind her.  Sigh.

Polymer science is one of my favorites – can you tell?

Our Insta-Snow is a polymer, and it reacts instantly when water is added to it.  Our water jelly crystals are also polymers, and while they react more slowly than Insta-Snow, it still doesn’t take very long for them to turn into beautiful “gems.”  Our Water Gel, which is one of my very favorite polymers, also reacts quickly, and in a different way than our usual showstoppin’ polymers.  The potential for practical jokes is definitely there.

The cat finally moved, but now it's dark outside and the light bulb is dim.
The cat finally moved, but now it’s dark outside and the light bulb is dim.

In just a few days, those dismembered body parts and the alligator that wants them for lunch will completely fill the jar.  I love having life-size body parts in my living room in front of the picture window for all the world to see.

Sometimes, on Halloween, little kids will cluster at my window, gazing in horror and amazement at the body parts floating amidst the strobe lights and sound effects of my home.

Sometimes I make cookies shaped like noses, fingers, big toes, and brains.  I expect a call from Gordon Ramsay any day now.

What?

Jane GoodwinJane Goodwin is a professor of expository writing at Ivy Tech Community College, a hands-on science teacher for College for Kids, a professional speaker and writer, and a social media liaison  for Steve Spangler Science.  She wanted to be a ballerina and an astronaut, but gravity got the better of her.