MiniMaker Club: Glow in the Dark Goo (Gak)


For week two, I thought mixing things in jars and cups would be a good idea. Twelve kids, how could this go wrong? 


Nothing went wrong, if you want to be Jane Austen specific about it, but I wouldn't teach/make goo this way again.

What I did:

  • Kids were loosely divided between two tables. I had three mixing bowls (1/4 ratio) and three squirt bottles (ditto). The squirt bottles held the borax and water mix (the mix that puts the goo in goo). We dumped glue and water into the bowls, then added glow in the dark paint.
  • I bought small plastic to go containers at the restaurant supply shop (same with the bowls and squirt bottles; never underestimate restaurant supply shops for amazing finds) for them to take the goo home in. You can use plastic bags, but those are a pain. Right?
  • I brought glitter (stanard in the maker box) and food coloring. I brought high-lighters in case we wanted to try the high-lighter method of color extraction. (We didn't.)
  • So. Glue gets mixed in the big bowls, and then I scoop some out in a plastic bowl and give it to a child. She gets to add the borax mix and food coloring. 
  • Mayhem. I came with eight bottles of food coloring and left with one. A couple of the students' hands were a deeply convincing shade of blue. Many of the glow in the dark batches looked like fresh livers sitting in a to go box. Everyone had fun.

What I would do next time: 

  • In some ways, it feels kind of maker-y to let them do each step. If I omit the big mix, then they aren't making. But, with 12 small people, many of whom are six or seven, it's a bit nutty. 
  • Mix the borax in the small bottles as this time. I would probably not mix the glue in the giant bowl, but we'd measure out individual portions and let them mix in their little to go containers. Now, would I have each person measure, or do it myself ahead of time. Perhaps a combination so things move along. 
  • Popsicle sticks make AWESOME stir sticks.
  • I'd have a batch of goo made in various shades so they could see how it glowed and didn't glow. 
  • Bring a flashlight for better glow-check.
  • I think I'd like them to do two batches each, one plain and one livered-up, so they could compare and contrast the glow levels.


We brought two batches home, one that the girl happily dumped blue food dye in, the other was left over I brought home for the boy. It has only glitter in it. 


We held them up to the bathroom light and then I took a picture. You can see the glitter batch glowing in the top right corner. You can't see the blue batch, which had cool streaks that looked bioluminescent phytoplankton (a great book for preK-1 that features phytoplankton is Whale Shines). 


MiniMaker Club: Glow in the Dark Goo (Gak)

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