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- Jenna H., Teacher
Polymers Teacher Resources
Find Polymers educational ideas and activities
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.
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. 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.
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 activity 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.
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.
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.
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.
Three steps are needed to extract DNA from learners' inner cheek cells. The procedure and reasons for each step are explained. As enzymes work on the cells, a series of questions are answered regarding the structure of the DNA molecule. As the third step is in process, questions about DNA replication are also addressed. Finally, the DNA strands are placed into tiny tubes and hung on necklaces for biologists to wear home! If you can obtain the tubes, this would be a unique and memorable enrichment.
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.
Students 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.
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.
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.