Play and experimentation have proven to be a crucial part of learning. There are many ways to “make clay”, and the opportunities for iteration and experimentation provide the perfect framework for learning through play. Of course, the good stuff simply comes right out of the ground, but sculptors and builders alike utilize synthetics (like plaster, cement, or other modeling compounds) for getting the job done. Many recipes exist for making your own clay, and varying ingredients can have a wide range of results. Try a few different recipes, tweak ratios, and invent your ideal modeling material.
Playing with clay can lead to all sorts of new theories on matter. Consider how many ways you can manipulate ingredients to come up with a new substance. More curriculum connectors can be found here.