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Video: How to Make Glacier Goo


Students explore how glaciers move by using “glacier goo/flubber,” (a polymer made with glue and Borax solution) whose properties model the movement of glacial ice.

Through an open or guided inquiry, students make a hypothesis and then test their ideas to answer their own questions or the following:

          • How does the top surface of the glacier move in relation to the bottom surface?
      • How do the sides of the glacier move in relation to its middle?
          •  Does the glacial bed affect the way a glacier moves?
          •  Does temperature of the glacier affect how it moves?


 Key Concepts: (to be discovered during the activity, or discussed after)

  • Glaciers move from higher elevations to lower elevations
  • In Greenland and in Antarctica, many glaciers cover the land. These great masses of ice are called “ice caps” or “ice sheets.”
  • If the glacier meets the sea, it often flows out over the water. Floating ice that is still connected to land is called an “ice shelf.”
  • Ice shelves act as “buttresses” to hold the land-based ice on land. If the ice shelves break up, the land-based ice moves faster into the sea.
  • The top of the glacier moves faster than the bottom because friction is acting on the bottom.
  • The middle moves faster than the sides, also because of friction.
  • Glaciers often cut U-shaped valleys as they move across land.
  • Glaciers have the power to move huge rocks as they flow.
  • Different bed surfaces cause the glacier to move faster or slower. Water under the glacier can make it slip or slide easier than a rocky or sandy surface.