It started with a plan to make a "rattle." Rather than accept a plan to throw some hard stuff into a bottle and call it done. I asked, "what kind of rattle?" "What will it sound like?" The student said, offhandedly, ""Like a rattlesnake." I pressed him to identify what a real rattlesnake sounded like so he could gauge the effectiveness of his build. We used my laptop to search for rattlesnake sounds.
After choosing a sound he liked, he then chose just the right mix of rice and beans to match the recording.
Of course, his buddy's unopened box of Nerds candy also sounded exactly right.
An exploration of non-Newtonian fluids with cornstarch and just the right amount of water. When it's mixed just right, it will pour, but if it is subjected to a sudden pressure, it will act like a solid. Plus it feels really good!