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Solid Mantle in Full Flow: The DIY Potty Putty Simulation
This demonstration illustrates the properties of the mantle of the Earth, using potty putty mixed with a solution of borax and simple glue. When left on the desk the potty putty will sink and spread. However it will also bounce like a ball if enough borax is used and it can be stretched far more than plasticine if pulled gently, but can also be fractured if pulled suddenly. Students will discover that they should not assume that the Earth's mantle must be liquid just because they see liquid (lava) emerging from volcanoes. In fact the mantle is almost entirely solid but the forces on it allow it to flow, much as the force of gravity can cause the potty putty, which is solid, to flow.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Middle (6-8)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Presentation / Demo
Subject:
  • Geological Sciences:
    • Geology
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Copyright is waived for original material published on this site if the material is required for use within the laboratory or classroom. The copyright of material reproduced by permission of other publishers rests with the originating publisher.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-006-593
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 5-8:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Evidence, models, and explanation
      • B - Physical science:
        • Properties and changes of properties in matter
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Structure of the earth system
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: Joint Earth Science Education Initiative (JESEI)