Sparking Student Motivation: GAK!

Happy Saturday, friends!
I'm up way too early on this lovely (supposed-to-be lazy) start of a glorious 3-day weekend! :)

My plans for the weekend are:
*hunting for treasures, garage sale style :)
*watching a chick flick
*finishing the novel I'm reading
*date night to see the new Spiderman (!)
*mall-walking while drinking Jamba Juice
*knock something off my TPT to-do list
*Memorial Day BBQ with friends

But before I set off on my weekend of adventure, I'd like to link up with my pal, Joanne, from Head Over Heels for Teaching, for her Spark Student Motivation Saturdays linky:
I have a group of five smarties who need a little extra challenge - something more to stretch their brains. I was having a hard time differentiating everything in class, so I decided to go for a more direct approach - Enrichment Club! 

Each Friday (during lunch and recess) I meet with these students and we delve deeper into topics covered in class through research projects, science experiments, math activities, book reports, etc. The kiddos have really thrived in this environment and have risen to the challenge of a more difficult workload.

They're been working really diligently the last couple of weeks on some advanced math and a research report, so I wanted to reward them with something fun.

I got the idea and instructions from:
Steve Spangler Science


  • Elmers Glue (8 oz bottle of Elmers Glue-All)
  • Borax (a powdered soap found in the grocery store)
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Plastic cup (8 oz size works well)
  • Spoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Food coloring
  • Water
  • Paper towel
  • Zipper-lock bag
  • Water

Here's the process:
1. Gather materials
2. Empty the entire bottle of glue into a mixing bowl. Fill the empty bottle with warm water and shake (okay, put the lid on first and then shake). Pour the glue-water mixture into the mixing bowl and use the spoon to mix well. 
*NOTE: I wanted the kiddos to each have a hand in making their own GAK, so we each poured about half a bottle of glue into a plastic cup. It made them more involved in every step of the process.
3. Add a drop or two (or seven) of food coloring
4. Measure 1/2 cup of warm water into the plastic cup and add a teaspoon of Borax powder to the water. Stir the solution – don’t worry if all of the powder dissolves. This Borax solution is the secret linking agent that causes the Elmer’s Glue molecules to turn into slime.
5. While stirring the glue in the mixing bowl, slowly add the water-Borax solution. Immediately you’ll feel the long strands of molecules starting to connect. Once the glue and Borax have stuck together, it's time to abandon the spoon and use your hands to do the serious mixing. 
Then use your hands to mush it together. The more you play with it, the more it starts to mold together and feel like GAK!
These two cuties can't decide if GAK is cool or just plain gross :)
Voila! The finished products, stored and ready to play with at home!
What I also really liked about the Steve Spangler Science website was that it gave some details about what was happening in the experiment - plus some background information on silly putty! As the students were stirring, we talking about the different chemicals and the reactions of the bonding agents. 

Now hop on over to Joanne's page to read about an engaging (albeit gross!) way to get your kids reading - and retaining what they read :)


  1. LOL! Your comment about my post made me crack up! Great idea to use your lunch/recess time for your enrichment club! It's so hard to fit all the differentiation some students need during the school day-this is perfect! I love all the colors they chose to make their GAK, and Steve Spangler is amazing! Thanks for sharing and linking up friend!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  2. I think that it is great that you took the time to provide some enrichment for your kiddos that really need that extra challenge. This makes my gifted heart smile!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  3. This is a great idea to use the recess/lunch time for extra activities! Who wouldn't love making GAK? Super cool!! Enjoy your long weekend...looks like a great list! :)
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  4. This sounds like a program that would be popular at my school...

  5. I absolutely LOVE the Steve Spangler website. I totally want to do this with my students, but we only have 3 days left (1 science class), and I don't want to have to buy all the glue.

  6. What a great motivation - GAK!! I love that you meet with your students at lunch and recess to provide enrichment. What did you think of the Spiderman movie - I fell asleep.....but we were at the drive-in and it was the third movie so it was like 1:30 a.m. and I am getting soooooo old - I know this because my 13 year old daughter stayed awake for the whole movie!!

  7. Love Steve Spangler! I've also used his instant snow since I teach in Florida and most of my smarties have never experienced the feel of snow. GAK is so much fun! I'm thinking of adding it to one of my fun day activities. Thanks for the reminder.



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