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Slimes and Oozes Capability: Gather & Interpret data NoS achievement aims: Investigating in science Contextual strands: Material world Level : 1,2

Making Better Sense of the Material World, pages 64-67

Making Better Sense of the Material World has several recipes for slimy mixtures. Exploring these mixtures could provide opportunities for students to strengthen their capability to gather and interpret data in the context of science. In particular, students use the senses of smell and touch as well as sight to make observations.

Curriculum Aims and AOs

The Nature of Science strand


Achievement objectives relevant to this resource

Investigating in science

Carry out scientific investigations using a variety of approaches: classifying and identifying, pattern seeking, exploring, investigating models, fair testing, making things or developing systems.

L1 & 2:

Extend their experiences and personal explanations of the natural world through exploration, play, asking questions, and discussing simple models.

Communicating in science

Develop knowledge of the vocabulary, numeric and symbol systems, and conventions of science and use this knowledge to communicate about their own and others’ ideas.

L1 & 2:

Build their language and develop their understandings of the many ways the natural world can be represented.

The Material World strand


Achievement objectives relevant to this resource

Properties and changes of matter

Investigate the properties of materials.

L1 & 2:

Observe, describe, and compare physical and chemical properties of common materials and changes that occur when materials are mixed, heated or cooled.

Learning focus

Students observe carefully using sight, smell and touch and use appropriate vocabulary to talk about their observations.

Learning activity

Give students plenty of opportunity to explore the various mixtures and encourage them to talk about what the mixtures look, feel and smell like.

Adapting the resource

Once students have had opportunity to explore the slimy mixtures develop a class chart of their observations. For example:

Name of recipe




Vampire Slime







Mucus Slime



soapy slippery
Goop     sticky

Discuss with the class that in science, the language used is objective, i.e., we would say “the vampire slime feels slimy” rather than “the vampire slime feels yuck”.

Ask the students in what ways the mixtures are alike and in what ways they are different? (These are observations.)

Some students might also want to propose explanations for why they think the different mixtures behave in the ways that they do. (These are inferences.)

What’s important here?

What counts as evidence in science are observations (direct and indirect) of the natural physical world. An important foundation for the development of scientifically literate citizens is the ability to make close observations and describe these clearly. This activity aims to build students’ capacity to talk about their close observations.

Developing an appreciation of what counts as evidence in science supports students to become scientifically literate, i.e., to participate as critical, informed, and responsible citizens in a society in which science plays a significant role. (This is the purpose of science in NZC.)

What are we looking for?

What words do students use to describe the mixtures?

Are their descriptions objective? Do they use precise, unambiguous language? Do they talk about smell and texture as well as about what the mixtures look like? Can they describe subtle differences?

If you read out the students’ descriptions, can they identify which mixture is being described?

Do students understand that close observations and careful descriptions are important in science?

Opportunities to learn at different curriculum levels

For suggestions about adapting tasks in ways that allow students to show progress in gathering and interpreting data see Opportunities to learn at different curriculum levels .

Exploring further

As well as the recipes provided in Making Better Sense of the Material World, almost any cooking activity lends itself well to this focus on observing carefully using sight, smell, touch and taste and using appropriate vocabulary to talk about their observations.

The following Assessment Resource Banks items focus on food and observation:

There are several Building Science Concepts booklets that focus on food, observations and descriptions:

The Building Science Concepts series also includes several other booklets with a focus on observation in the Material World:

Other resources for this capability

Key Words

Making Better Sense, mixtures