DIY Plasma Stars: Glow in the dark slime

What you'll learn:

How to make your own glow in the dark slime star

Key takeaways:

There are actually four states of matter: solid, liquid, gas, and plasma, which is found in stars.

Let’s make glow in the dark slime! Scroll down to get the supply list and the instructions to make your own glow in the dark slime, keep on reading to learn about what plasma is, and why it’s at the core of all the stars in the universe!

Plasma. It sounds cool, but what is it? Plasma is the fourth state of matter – yes, that’s right, the fourth state of matter. Forget everything you learned about there only being three states of matter.

Let’s learn about plasma but starting off with solid water…aka ice. In ice, there are a bunch of water molecules awkwardly holding hands very, very rigidly. Almost as if their movements were frozen. Add some heat, however, and our water molecules begin to move around. They are still holding hands with each other, but now they are in a big group dance.

This is a new state of matter, we went from water molecules holding hands not moving to them holding hands and dancing around. This state is liquid water…aka water. 

Let’s add a little more heat to the party. As we add more heat the water molecules start dancing around more and more – in fact, they get so excited about their dancing that they, gasp, stop holding hands. When they do this the individual water molecules are free to dance away into the night as gaseous water…aka steam.

These are the three states of matter we all know and love. Solid, liquid, and gas. Ice, water, and steam.

But what if we take our crazy gaseous water dancers and add even more heat?!? If we add more heat, and I mean a lot more heat, the water molecules are going to dance around so much they will lose their hats.

So now we have a bunch of hats hanging around and a bunch of dancers with no hats. In the physics world, this is a plasma. You have a bunch of hats (or electrons) that were ripped away leaving behind dancers (or ionized particles).

How cool is that? A whole new state of matter, so now we have solid, liquid, gas, and plasma.

Plasma must be super rare if we don’t learn about it in school right? Wrong! Plasma can be seen in lots of things. For example, lightning is a plasma. So are the Northern lights. So are all the neon signs you see flashing “Open”. 

And of course, if you’re hot enough to be a plasma, then you are definitely glowing. In fact, plasma is the most common state of matter in the universe! (Seriously, how is this kept a secret?!?) Stars are made of ingredients in their plasma state.

To celebrate plasma, let’s make a handheld star. Scroll down to learn how to make glow in the dark slime (because holding a real plasma in your hand would be a poor life choice).

Project Ingredients:
Glow in the dark powder
Clear glue
Contact solution (with boric acid)
Baking soda

glow in the dark slime to learn about plasma stars
glow in the dark slime makes learning about stars and plasma fun
learn how to make glow in the dark slime

How to make glow in the dark slime

Making glow in the dark slime as you learn about the plasma in stars is a ton of fun. First, you will want to make our clear slime recipe. I like to use clear slime instead of a basic white slime base because it lets the glow come through so much more. The final glow in the dark slime won’t be clear, or even translucent. In fact, the glow in the dark powder will make it completely opaque!

Once you have a batch of clear slime on hand you need to add your glow in the dark powder.

To do this, make a small, 2-3 inch wide disk out of your slime. Add the glow in the dark powder to the middle of the disk and wrap the disk like a calzone or piroshki. then gently begin to knead the powder into the clear slime. If you do this too quickly the slime will form a pocket around the dry powder that will rip open and spill your glow in the dark powder all over the floor.

Once the powder is kneaded you are ready to test your glow in the dark slime! Charge it up by holding it close to a light, then turn out the lights and watch your plasma star shine! If it isn’t bright enough you can always add in more glow in the dark powder, but we found that about 1-2 tsp was plenty for a 2 ounce batch of slime (the amount that fits in the small plastic food cup containers).

Enjoy! This glow in the dark slime is a huge hit with kids and a perfect way to talk about a little astronomy and physics while you’re at it!

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