- Use observation skills to explore how lubrication
- To work together as a team to accomplish your
- To correlate data and utilize it to help make
- (per group)
- unflavored gelatin (5 envelopes)
- 8 inch square baking pan
- mixing bowl
- liquid dish detergent (1/4 cup)
- vegetable oil (1/4 cup)
- 8 bowls or plastic containers
- watch with a second hand
- paper towels
- Doing the Activity
- To Prepare for the Activity
- In a mixing bowl, dissolve the 5 envelopes of gelatin
in 2 1/2 cups of hot water.
- Coat the inside of the pan with vegetable oil. Pour
the gelatin mixture into the pan and put it in the
refrigerator until firm (about 3 to 4 hours).
- Use a knife to cut the gelatin into cubes about 1 x 1
x 1 inch. You should have about 64 cubes.
- Place 15 gelatin cubes in each of 4 bowls or
- Set up four workstations. Each station needs to have
one bowl with 15 gelatin cubes and one empty bowl that
are approximately 15 cm from each other. Station one will
have plain gelatin cubes. For stations two-four you will
need to add 1/4 cup of the lubricant - oil, water OR soap
- to the cubes in the bowl and gently toss until the
cubes are coated.
- Have paper towels at each station for hand cleaning
after the activity is completed.
- You may want to label the stations as to the type of
- Safety Considerations
Gelatin cubes are not to be eaten.
Do a periodic floor check to watch for any
- Select a partner and go to one of the looby cube
- One partner should be ready to time for 15
- The other partner is to pick up and move as many
looby cubes as possible from one bowl to the other in 15
- Have your partner say "go," start picking up the
gelatin cubes one at a time with your thumb and index
finger (don't squeeze!). See how many cubes you can
transfer to the other bowl in 15 seconds.
- Return all the looby cubes to the original bowl.
- Let your partner try and see how many cubes they can
move in 15 seconds.
- Try out all the different looby cube stations using
the same method. Rinse and dry your hands between
- Important: DO NOT EAT the gelatin cubes
after they have been handled or covered with
Talking it over
- With which liquid were you able to transfer the most
- With which liquid were you able to transfer the
- Which was the best lubricant (the slipperiest)? Which
was the worst?
- What's Happening
- If you oil the hinges of a door, it will stop
squeaking. Rub petroleum jelly on lips to prevent them
from becoming chapped. These slippery substances are
called lubricants. They are very important in modern
technology. Cars, truck, airplanes, and machines all have
parts that rub against each other. These parts would heat
up, wear down, and stop working if we didn't have
lubricants. Lubricants reduce the amount of friction
between 2 surfaces that move against each other.
- Test other objects such as beans, marbles, or seeds
to see how they act when lubricated.
- Think of other kinds of lubricants to test. Do all
lubricants need to be liquids?
- Activity Source
- Helping Your Child Learn Science U.S.
Department of Education, Office of Educational Research
and Improvement, U.S. Government Printing Office Order
Desk (202) 512-1800. The GPO Stock Number is