K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • Develop skills in spelling, writing, reading comprehension, and social skills.
  • Develop science skills in processing information, making inferences, and describing solids and/or liquids.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

1 hour


  • five tablespoons
  • five clear plastic cups
  • water
  • corn starch (approximately three cups total)
  • green food coloring
  • writing and illustration paper
  • pencils
  • crayons
  • chart paper
  • marker
  • book Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss


  • The teacher will have recently read the Dr. Seuss book Bartholomew and the Oobleck.
  • The students will have worked together in groups mixing solids and liquids together with discussion and/or written work (optional, but helpful).


  1. The teacher and students will review the book Bartholomew and the Oobleck through oral discussion. This discussion will include questions such as, “What do you think Oobleck is? A solid? A liquid? Can you think of words that might describe a solid (‘hard’) or a liquid (‘wet’)? Can you think of words that might describe ‘Oobleck’? Do you think it is sticky, cold, hot, frozen?” etc. The teacher will then introduce the next activity by saying, “Today, we will make our own Oobleck by mixing solids and liquids. Then we will write about what we made.”
  2. In the second activity, the students will make their own Oobleck by working together in small groups of four or five. The teacher will have set up four or five areas for each group to work. This activity can be done on mats or tables. Each area will have a plastic cup, tablespoon, a bowl of corn starch, green food coloring, and access to water. Each material will be labeled. The teacher will also show the chart paper with four simple directions listed:
    • Mix four tablespoons of corn starch with two tablespoons of water.
    • Add a drop of green food coloring and mix.
    • Feel it. Talk about it. Use senses to describe what it feels like (sticky, soft, gooey, warm, cool) and looks like (light green, dark green)
    • Clean up but save the cup of Oobleck.
  3. In the third activity, the students will come together to have a whole group discussion on the results of their group’s activity making Oobleck. The teacher will review the chart listing the directions on how to make Oobleck. The teacher will also ask individuals from each group to describe the Oobleck using descriptive adjectives. The teacher may ask questions such as, “Can you give me one sentence that describes your group’s Oobleck? Is it a solid? Is it a liquid? Why do you think it is a solid or a liquid?” Make three columns headed solid, liquid, either. Write students’ descriptive words for Oobleck on cards. Have students place cards in one of the columns. Decide whether the Oobleck is a solid or liquid based on the descriptive words.
  4. The fourth activity is the individual written activity. Each child will be given illustration and lined paper, along with pencils and crayons. The teacher will ask each child to write one or more sentences answering the question, “What is Oobleck?” The teacher will then observe and assist individuals as needed. The students will also illustrate a picture relevant to this activity. (Proofreading and editing can be incorporated into this activity as an individualized objective or whole group objective.)
  5. The last activity will be a sharing activity of students’ written and illustrated work. The teacher will call on individuals to read/share their work. The teacher will then display their work.


The teacher will assess the students through observation of each student’s participation in discussion and group activities. The teacher will also assess each child according to his/her written work making sure that the vocabulary taught in the lesson has been used correctly.

Supplemental information


This lesson is designed to meet the needs of both first and second graders depending on their academic level. It was jointly designed by Paige Hoffman and April Pittman.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Reading: Literature

        • Grade 1
          • 1.RL.4 Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.
        • Speaking & Listening

          • 1.SL.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups. 1.SL.1.1 Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others with care, speaking one at...
        • Grade 2
          • 2.SL.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups. 2.SL.1.1 Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., gaining the floor in respectful ways, listening...
      • Writing

        • Grade 1
          • 1.W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.
        • Grade 2
          • 2.W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Science (2010)
      • Grade 1

        • 1.E.2 Understand the physical properties of Earth materials that make them useful in different ways. 1.E.2.1 Summarize the physical properties of Earth materials, including rocks, minerals, soils and water that make them useful in different ways. 1.E.2.2 Compare...
      • Grade 2

        • 2.P.2 Understand properties of solids and liquids and the changes they undergo. 2.P.2.1 Give examples of matter that change from a solid to a liquid and from a liquid to a solid by heating and cooling. 2.P.2.2 Compare the amount (volume and weight) of water...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 1

  • Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
    • Objective 4.03: Use specific words to name and tell action in oral and written language (e.g., using words such as frog and toad when discussing an expository text).

Grade 2

  • Goal 3: The learner will make connections through the use of oral language, written language, and media and technology.
    • Objective 3.03: Explain and describe new concepts and information in own words (e.g., plot, setting, major events, characters, author's message, connections, topic, key vocabulary, key concepts, text features).

Science (2005)

Grade 1

  • Goal 3: The learner will make observations and conduct investigations to build an understanding of the properties and relationship of objects.
    • Objective 3.01: Describe the differences in the properties of solids and liquids.
    • Objective 3.03: Classify solids according to their properties:
      • Color.
      • Texture.
      • Shape (ability to roll or stack).
      • Ability to float or sink in water.
    • Objective 3.04: Determine the properties of liquids:
      • Color.
      • Ability to float or sink in water.
      • Tendency to flow.