Polymers Teacher Resources
Find Polymers educational ideas and activities
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EGG-cellent POLYMER PACKAGING DESIGN
Young scholars investigate the concept of a polymer using an experimental design of protecting an egg in a bookbag. They test the properties of polymers and form an educated solution to the proposed problem. Then they describe the steps used in the designing of the polymer.
Catering Middle-School Science: Monomers, Polymers, and Macromolecules
Students investigate foods. In this biology lesson plan, students will conduct testing on different types of foods as they learn about different molecules that make them up. Students will also learn about the shapes of the molecules.
Polymers and Products from Petroleum
Over four sessions, learners survey the production and use of polymers and petroleum products. First, they participate in a kinesthetic activity to demonstrate how polymers act, and review a list of common products made from polymers. They then spend three days conceiving, researching, and delivering a presentation about how life today would be different without petroleum products. Resource contains extensive explanation about formation, properties, and uses of petroleum.
Polymers and Polymerization Reactions
Students analyze and identify polymers and polymerization reactions. They explore how they are formed as well as list their characteristics, main types and recognize their properties. Statements are given to explain when dehydration occurs between two monomer molecules.
Polymers and Crystals: Their Role in Food Science
Blend chemistry with cooking in this exploration of polymers, carbohydrates, and food science. Experimenting with gelatin produces concrete examples of the bonding and ploymerization discussed in the lesson plan. Copious, comprehensive teacher resource links are attached, so give yourself time (and don't give up!) to read and digest the information if chemistry is not your strong suit.
Students explore the different types of polymers while participating in a hands-on activity. The students, themselves, will be the different atoms and molecules involved in making a polymer to help them learn about the structure of these unique molecules.
Organic Molecules - The "Stuff" of Life
A succinct set of slides introduces upcoming chemists to the building blocks of life. The special properties of carbon are explained so that viewers understand why life is based on this molecule. Biomolecules (protein, lipid, carbohydrate, and nucleic acid) are introduced as polymers. Condensation and hydrolysis reactions are investigated. A terrific way to follow this presentation would be to have your class build models of carbon-based polymer molecules! By the way, this is not only useful for your chemists, but biology learners would also benefit from this resource.
In this polymer worksheet, students use an on line site to complete sentences about plastics, their chemical make-up, their uses, their history and information about recycling plastics.
The Influence of Initiator Concentration on the Molecular Weight of Polystyrene
This in-depth organic chemistry lab walks learners through an investigation of the effect of initiator concentration on the resulting molecular weight of polystyrene. It is important that you use this lesson with experienced chemistry learners as they will synthesize polystyrene several times and calculate efflux time and viscosity. Ideally you would use this when teaching your class about polymerization.
Chemists are stretched to their limits with a polymer lesson. They cut strips from a plastic shopping bag and hang weights from them to discover which holds the most. The also pull Velcro apart in a similar investigation. Thorough background information on polymers and plastics is provided, along with a photograph of the lab setup to make it more clear. You will also find student activity sheets and an assessment rubric.
Sorting Plastics For Recycling
First, young chemists practice polymer identification by density and flame tests. With the data collected, they propose a method of separating polyethylene from other plastics and determine what property makes it desirable for recycling. This laboratory activity is ideal when covering polymers in your general chemistry class.
Polymers: The Discovery
Students explain what a polymer is and observe and compare the properties of a polymer. They describe the relationship between the cross-linking of molecules to make a polymer, then explore common uses of a polymer.
Getting Silly with Putty
Introduce polymers to your 4th - 8th graders for the first time. Chemists mix glue with a Borax solution to create a cross-linked polymer and compare its properties to the properties of the original materials. This is a classic activity for teaching polymers to this age group, but the teacher's notes and student activity sheets will really help keep everyone focused.
Edible Slime - the Polymer You Can Eat!
Learners identify that nature polymers like alginate from seaweed and that sodium alginate plus ions creates a slime that they can actually eat. They also identify and interpret that when sodium alginate and calcium acetate when water is added to them. Finally, students identify what the chemical name of their slime is.
Students complete a lab activity with polymers to allow them to better understand how to make "observations". In this science lesson plan students make measurements and collect data.
This organic chemistry lab activity is appropriate for teaching polymerization, percent yield, melting point, or the types and uses of polymer materials. Chemistry pupils imagine that they are working for a company to develop a special polymer and then work in the lab to synthesize nylon. The teacher page offers very little instruction, but since the student lab handout is thorough, it provides enough for you to carry this lesson out in your advanced or organic chemistry class.
Simple Tensile Testing of Polymeric Films and Sheeting
Chemistry classes pretend to be consultants to a grocery story trying to decide what polymer to use for therir new non-paper bags. They prepare tensile bars and use them to test plastic film samples for strength and stretchability. Both plastic and elastomer are examined. Use this lesson as a hands-on investigation of the properties of polymers.
Investigation of Crystallinity in Polymeric Materials
A kaleidoscope is constructed using polarizing polymer paper and then low-density polyethylene, high-density polyethylene, and polypropylene are all melted onto individual glass slides and examined through a microscope. The intent is to choose a material that could be used as a container for beer, keeping oxygen out and carbon dioxide in. The properties of density and crystalline structure are examined in this activity. Student lab sheets are included.
Though this isn't the neatest reproduction of a worksheet, the exercises in understanding organic molecules are invaluable. In addition to answering questions about the general structure of biomolecules, diagrams displaying a condensation reaction and hydrolysis are provided for learners to assess. You will be happy to add this to your supply of biochemistry assignments.
A nine-page narrative gives you the material needed to teach high schoolers about molecular structure, in particular, that of sugars. You may want to display the accompanying molecule diagrams through a projector to increase understanding. After the lecture, learners go to the lab to calibrate a thermometer and combine sugar, corn syrup, butter, and boiling water to concoct a sweet confection. This is a tasty lesson in thermodynamics or the structure of saccharides.