Nano Activities

Exploring Materials

Homemade Goop

The structure of a material on the nano-scale affects how the material behaves on the macroscale. Changes to the structure might not be seen because it’s too small but the corresponding macroscale properties can be observed. This activity involves making a slightly-messy, but fun ooze.

This ooze is a non-Newtonian fluid which firms up like a solid when you apply a lot of pressure, but when little or no pressure is applied, it flows like a liquid. Make some and test it out for yourself!

Materials Needed: cornstarch, water, container to mix (zipper bag, bowl, or cup), spoon

ooze materials


If using a bag:

1) Mix 2 parts cornstarch to 1 part water in a zipper bag.

2) Tightly seal the bag allowing some air to remain.

3) Tilt the mixture from side to side to combine.


If using a Bowl/Cup:

1) Mix 2 parts cornstarch to 1 part water in a bowl or cup.

2) Gently stir with a spoon or mix with your hands until combined.

bowl mixture


What can you do with ooze?
Apply different amounts of pressure to ooze using a spoon or your finger and see how it reacts.



Conduct an experiment to see if items will float or sink in the ooze. Lay out a variety of small items (such as a paperclip, a penny, dice, a marble, a toothpick, a button, a cotton ball, etc.). Sort the items into two categories: predict will sink, predict will float. Test out your predictions by carefully dropping each item into the ooze.