Hello Summer Science Explorers!
Today we are going to make snot! Okay, okay so it isn’t real snot – but it’s not something to sneeze at either (ha ha get it? Sneeze… snot… ok nevermind). By the way, this snot will not make you sick so feel free to play away (just don’t try to eat it).
- Measuring Cup
- Unflavored Gelatin
- Light Karo Syrup
- Use a microwave to heat 1/2 cup of water to boiling (make sure to get parental permission or supervision before doing this!).
- Add 3 teaspoons of gelatin (probably 3 packets) to the water and allow to soften for a few minutes, then stir it with a fork.
- Add enough Karo Syrup to bring the volume up to 1 cup. Stir with the fork.
- Lift the mixture out of the cup with the fork. Those long stringy gloppy things that come out are your snot! Cool!
- If the mixture thickens too much add water by the spoonful until it softens back up
Snot, or mucus, is a wonderful defense mechanism made by our bodies. Much like the fake snot we just made, snot/mucus is a combination of proteins and sugars (although not the same combination of proteins and sugars). The proteins form long sticky chains which can streeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech just like the gelatin proteins in your goo.
Our bodies produce this mucus to help trap foreign particles (like dust, germs, pollen, dirt, sand, fungus, or smoke) that try to enter your body through your nose. Those sticky proteins grab onto them and lock them into the goo. When the time is right, or if something tickles your nose then it’s ah… ahh….. AHHHHHHH……
and just like that those nasty germs are pushed out of the body! Mucus also has things called antibodies in it that help to destroy viruses and bacteria that get trapped in it. Now, not every particle causes you to sneeze, more often the dirty mucus dries up and becomes a BOOGER or, even better, gets swallowed! Yup, you read me correctly, you swallow your snot. GROSS! 🙂
*Reminder – There are two reasons why you shouldn’t eat your boogers: 1) it’s pretty gross and 2) they contain trapped viruses, bacteria, dirt, fungus, … you get the idea.
Did You Know?
The average adult human will produce about 1 QUART of mucus (snot) per DAY! (A quart is about a quarter of a gallon – and a gallon is the size of the large milk jug in your fridge)
- Snot production increases when the inside of your nose dries out (like when it’s really cold outside) to help keep it moist. Since we can only swallow so much snot without getting sick, the rest of it drips out your nose!
- Normal snot will vary in color depending on what is trapped inside of it and how thick the mucus is.
- Green or Yellow snot was thought to be a sign of infection, but this isn’t necessarily true. If you are sick, other symptoms (such as congestion, fever or pressure in the sinus cavities behind your nose and eyes) will be present. That green color is caused by white blood cells releasing a greenish colored protein called an enzyme which helps to destroy bacteria and viruses.
- Don’t forget to wear your goggles and apron to protect your eyes and clothing.
- Always obtain an adult’s permission before starting any experiment.
- Be very careful when boiling the water (on the stove or the microwave)! Rarely, water heated in the microwave can superheat if it does not bubble during the heating process, meaning all the heat stays trapped inside the water and the minute it is move BOOM! the very hot water splashes everywhere. The best way to avoid this is to put a tiny bit of salt in the water before putting it into the microwave. This is a relatively rare thing to happen, but a little caution wont hurt you.
- Don’t forget to clean up everything when you finish. The snot is safe to dump down the drain in your kitchen sink or toilet.