27 February 2009

What’s it like – mud?

What’s it like – mud?

‘Sticky,’  says Amelia.

‘Flexible,’ adds Aabis.

‘Dirty,’ says Meghna.

‘Breakable,’ Shahrbano tells us.

Eh?  Time to organise our thinking a bit.

When it is dry mud is breakable and hard.  When it is wet mud is soft and flexible.

Have you ever played that game called ‘Stuck-in-the-mud’?  You know the one I mean; where once you are caught, you have to stand still as if you are stuck in the mud until someone releases you?  Have you ever thought why we call it that?

Picture the scene.  You are out on a soggy day; wellie-clad feet sploshing through the muddy puddles.  The mud is deliciously dirty; wet, soft, sticky, dirty mud.

You stop for a rest perhaps.  What’s it like now – mud?  Dry, hard, solid.  Oh dear - you’re stuck fast…..

I have a much tastier version of ‘Stuck-in-the-mud’ for you to play.  First of all you need to get some water boiling.


While it is heating, have a little look at some chocolate.  What’s it like – chocolate?

  • cool
  • hard
  • dull
  • solid
  • a bit like dry mud really!

And what do you think will happen when we heat it?  How will it change?  What’s it like now – chocolate?


  • warm
  • soft
  • shiny
  • liquid

To play the game you need your very own warm, chocolaty puddle.


And some Gummi-bear players.


Now you have to ‘trap’ the bears in the ‘mud’.  They need to be stuck fast.

Push them in…..








Keep your eye on that chocolate.  What’s it like now?  Still…..

  • warm
  • soft
  • shiny
  • liquid

So how will we get the teddies to stick?  How can we make soft, shiny, liquid, chocolate change so that is hard, solid and dull again?

Owen thinks, ‘we should freeze it.  Put it in the freezer.’

‘Put it outside where it is cold,’ suggests Aabis.

‘Yes, put it outside,’ Martin agrees.

Well yes, we could.  But what about the chocolate before we melted it?  What was it like when we opened the packet?  Is chocolate usually cool, hard, dull and solid when we buy and eat it?  Or is it a warm, soft, shiny liquid?

So, if we leave our chocolaty bear-trap puddles in the classroom do you think the chocolate will go back to how it was before we heated it?  Hard, solid - and dull?


Well, did our bears get stuck fast in our puddles?  Inside the classroom - at room temperature?  Carefully lift the foil up and see…..


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