Monday, March 17, 2014

Let's Grow a Magic Creature!!

So what is a magic creature??  Well...These super-slurping, water-absorbing creatures are made out of a special chemical called a superabsorbent polymer, or hydrogel. You can think of this as millions of sponges that absorb water.

 
You can pick these fun creatures up at Dollar General, Wal-Mart, Target, or online. They are usually in the dollar sections or toy sections. 
 
 

So...where do you start??

·         It's important to gather data as you go!  Make sure you measure before you start and then set up a routine of measuring every day or every other day.  One of the easiest ways to take measurements is to place the growing creature on a piece of graph paper and trace around it. Simply count the squares to determine the size of the creature.  You can also use measuring tape (like in the picture from Mrs. Ward’s class) to measure the growing creature.  Kinders also need to see it measured with cubes since they can relate to them so well!  

·         Fill a huge plastic tub or aquarium with room temperature water. Do not use hot water because it will make the growing creature break up into tiny pieces. Some people even have better results using distilled water. GROWING TIP: Change the water each day for the first few days. I’m not sure if it's the fresh water aspect or the fact that you're adding more water that activates the growing??  It works - so try it!
 
·         It is fun to watch the creatures grow for the first 24 hours... but don't be disappointed if it's not huge. It takes a full week for the creature to get really big. After 24 hours, remove the creature from the water and carefully dry them off with a paper towel. Take measurements and record your data.  The Giant Growing Creatures should grow to at least 3 times their original size and reach their maximum size after 7 days. Your students will be dying to see how much it has grown! 

·         Be sure to name the creature... because you can't just call it "creature."
 
·         Will the Creature Shrink? - Yes! Just leave your giant creature in the container without water and allow the moisture in the creature to evaporate. It might take a very long time to shrink depending on how humid your climate is. Be sure to have the students keep a record of how much the creature shrinks each day.

So...what does it look like? 

The first picture is of Mrs. Ward and one of her students from Brilliant Elementary.  They built a cube tower to match how long their creature had grown and then compared it to an earlier tower. 

 
  


The next picture is a close up of their data chart.  Her students loved growing a magic creature!!
 

You can tie literacy and science into this measurement activity by adding a book about the magic creature you selection. So what are you waiting for??  Grow a magic creature with your students!! They will love it!!

2 comments:

  1. Hi Christy, I saw a number assessment on google and it sent me to your page, which I love. It begins with a number line at the top and has "I can draw 1: at the bottom. I would love to purchase this, do you know where I could find it. Janette

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  2. Hmmm....so much on here that I'm not sure. Can you save a picture of it and send it to my email at ccwaters@una.edu. I may have that and can send it to you. Thanks!

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