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A Brief History of Rubber

Abstract: In this social studies lesson plan, students will explore the development of rubber and its use in society. They will research the history of rubber and will construct a timeline to display key events and the progression of rubber's use in society.

Grades: 5-8

Subject: Other


A Comparative Study of Lactase and Lactase Supplements

Abstract: Lactose intolerance is the number one known enzyme deficiency, with over 70% of the worlds (adult) population affected. According to the Encyclopedia of Children's Health (http://www.healthofchildren.com/C/Carbohydrate-Intolerance.html) there are 30 to 50 million Americans who suffer from Lactose Intolerance. In this lesson, students will conduct a comparative study to examine the effectiveness of Lactase supplements versus pure Lactase? The lesson is presented as an inquiry lesson, but the attached worksheet provides guided instructions.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


A Test of Adhesive Strength

Abstract: Students investigate the variables that may impact the peel force of different tapes/adhesives. This includes, factors such as the type of adhesive, peel force, angle, width of sample, and velocity of pull. Although all these may be tested some relationships are trivial for high school students depending on the level. So we will test angle, width, velocity and their relationship to the peel force.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Adhesives: How Sticky is Your Tape? - Man-made Products

Abstract: In this lesson, students will test the shear strength of different sticky tapes by performing tests in which they will take measurements, record data, and report their findings. They will explain how the usefulness of a manufactured product depends on its function for a particular purpose. Students will learn about how scientists and engineers look to nature to invent products that are useful in our lives.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Adhesives: Measuring Stickiness - Natural Products

Abstract: Students will make a simple device to test the stickiness (adhesion) of household "glues" to determine strength or weakness of the substance to stick two surfaces together. This experience leads to a discussion of adhesion, adhesives (glues), product testing, and applications to daily life. Optional suggestions for Internet research on adhesives are provided.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Balloon Ball Bounce

Abstract: In this activity, students will realize that different sports use balls with different amounts of rebound. Understanding this idea, the students will determine if the number of balloons in a balloon ball affect the rebound height. The students will then use the ball to discuss energy conversions.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


The Bending and Bouncing of Light

Abstract: Students will learn about the transfer of light energy as it interacts with matter. Key terms of refraction and reflection will be explored through hands-on inquiry. The science of the formation of rainbows will also explored.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Biomimicry Using Polymers to Mimic Pinecones or Flowers

Abstract: Inspired by natural hygromorphs, students recreate or simulate how pinecones open and close based on their moisture content. Students use rubber pieces that are glued together and made of two different densities. These biomimetic bilayer structures replicate simple models of natural occurrences such as pine cones opening when dry and closing when moist. Because we are using rubber polymers our biomimetic bilayers will open and close using acetone, a solvent that will absorb into rubber much the way water would be absorbed in a pine cone.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: N/A


Build a Better Bouncer

Abstract: Students discover the effect of placing additives in a glue-based putty to alter the physical properties of the putty. They are then challenged to use their knowledge to design the best bouncing ball possible from the simple materials available to them.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Building Polymer Cup Speakers

Abstract: Students will establish criteria by which to test their speakers. Students will construct and test their speaker. The students will compare speakers and test variable components of a speaker.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences


Can You Get Enough Protein from Milk Alternatives?

Abstract: This guided inquiry lesson allows students to apply their knowledge of organic compounds (primarily proteins) to their everyday life. Biochemistry lessons on proteins and enzyme insufficiency often make students wonder how someone who is lactose intolerant can obtain essential proteins from milk alternatives. This lesson lets students explore whether or not milk alternatives have the same protein concentration as traditional milk.

Grades: 9-10

Subject: Life Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Can You See the Light?

Abstract: Students will learn through design and implementation of their own experiments about the transmission of light energy. Vocabulary terms such as transparent, translucent, and opaque are introduced and explored through hands-on exploration.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Check Out Lights and Shields with Beads

Abstract: Students explore Ultraviolet (UV) detecting beads, conduct several investigations with them to find sources of UV radiation, and find materials that block U V radiation. Eventually students will realize that over-exposure to UV radiation is harmful to their eyes and skin.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences


Classification of Matter

Abstract: This activity involves the students in an inquiry into classifying various materials.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Classifying Solids: Matter

Abstract: Students make observations of solids and classify the items into groups based on their properties. Students are introduced to the three states of matter.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences


Cling On's

Abstract: Through design and implementation of their own experiments, students will learn about static electricity and its relationship with various materials. Additionally, students will learn the conditions in which static electricity is produced and how it can be reduced.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Color Your World

Abstract: In this lesson students solve a problem about painting the walls of a room. Dimensions of the problem include calculating the surface area to be painted, the cost of the paint and labor, and the amount of time expended. After students report their solutions, a new technology is introduced that would both save time and money. Besides this home decor example, other examples of this amazing advance in polymer films can be discussed after viewing a short video clip of Dr. Miko Cakmak, Professor of Polymer Engineering at The University of Akron.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Science and Technology


Condiment Diver: The World's Simplest Cartesian Diver

Abstract: This activity uses a condiment packet to teach students how fish use their swim bladders to rise and descend in the water. The students will also learn about density, buoyancy, and sinking and floating.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Consider Your Options

Abstract: Students will watch another student make a lunch to take to school. The students will make a list of all the plastic items used to make the lunch. Discussion will follow about the items used to make a complete list. Other students will make the same lunch without using plastic items.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Counting Animal Populations

Abstract: Through hands-on investigation, students will learn about the method field scientists use to determine the population of a species for a specified study area. Through collaboration they will design and implement their own strategic method for counting the population of students in their school.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Life Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Creating Shape Memory Polymers

Abstract: Shape memory polymers are an emerging class of polymers that have the capability of changing into a different programmed shape and then back to its original shape. This shape change is usually caused by some outside stimulus like heat, light, magnetism or electricity. Because shape memory polymers can exist in different shapes, they have many potential uses such as self-tying sutures, medical implants and other high tech applications. In this activity, students will transform a homemade rubber band into a shape memory polymer using latex and lauric acid. Students will then be tasked with creating specific shapes with their shape memory polymer as well as creating new shapes of their own.

Grades: 7-12

Subject: Scientific Inquiry


Cross that Bridge!

Abstract: This hands-on inquiry activity sets up a problem for students (design a bridge) and gives them specific constraints (type of materials, amount of materials, length of bridge, etc.) under which to work. The participants will work in groups to brainstorm and test multiple bridge designs. Throughout this lesson, the best teaching practices of inquiry approaches, hands-on/minds-on learning, and applications to the real world, will be emphasized.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Cups Under Pressure

Abstract: Students will observe how a Styrofoam cup shrinks under pressure in a cooker.

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Decomposition of Polymers: Removal of Chewing Gum

Abstract: Our lives are fraught daily with things that gum up the works; especially chewing gum. If it happens to attach itself to your clothes, hair, or (heaven forbid) the inside of the family clothes dryer you have a real problem.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: N/A


Describing the Motion of a Battery Powered Car

Abstract: Students use the variables of time and distance traveled to observe the characteristics of a distance vs time graphs for the motion of a battery powered car operating with one battery then again with two batteries. This allows students to explore how the number of batteries used to power the car affects the characteristics of distance vs time graphs. Students then use the time and distance data collected for the motion of the cars in the two trials to calculate the average speed of the car in each case. The average speeds will then be compared to the slopes of the respective distance vs. time graphs.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Determining the Age of Fossils

Abstract: This lesson is designed to help students understand the concepts of radioactive dating to help determine the approximate age of fossils and rocks. After this lesson students will have an understanding of how maerials undergo radioactive decay and that the rate of decay allows scientists to predict the approximate age of the specimen. This lesson is geared to help take the "mystery" out of scientific dating of rocks and fossils.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences


Determining the Coefficient of Friction for Various Tires on a Ramp

Abstract: Students will determine the coefficient of kinetic and static friction for various tires such as tractor, truck, bike, high performance, tourism. They will then have to apply this knowledge to solve a practical problem.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Determining the Density of Water

Abstract: Students will determine the density of one drop of water using experimental laboratory methods and graphing techniques, and then independently find the density of another liquid such as cooking oil. This lesson can be teacher directed or conducted as an open investigation.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Diaper Challenge

Abstract: Students will compare the absorbency of regular disposable diapers with Swimmers in fresh water and salt water.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences


Diaper Dilemma

Abstract: Students will learn what a polymer is and some uses of polymer materials in science. The student will research the polymer sodium polyacrylate. The student will then use inquiry and design a series of tests with given materials to see which brand of diaper will be best for the city hospital to use. Students will have to interpret their results and data to formulate this plan. They will write their results in a letter and will present their results to the class.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


The Dirt on Soil

Abstract: Through hands-on exploration, students will learn about three basic soil types and some of their physical properties. Concepts of porosity and permeability will be developed through experimentation. Students will design and implement a model of a water treatment plant.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Downhill Racer

Abstract: Students investigate the motion of a car traveling on an inclined plane and along a flat surface. Students observe the pattern of drops left by the moving car. The changing distances between the successive drops indicate that the car was not traveling at a constant speed. From the drops, students will be able to collect data and graph both the velocity and acceleration of the car.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Drug Delivery with Polymer Based Nanoparticles

Abstract: Students will critique common drug delivery techniques and analyze ways that newer nanotechnology techniques could be more beneficial for drug delivery. The students will be responsible for investigating the properties needed for nanoparticles to be used in biological systems in order for cellular uptake to occur and for proper release of the entrapped drug to take place. Students will use prior knowledge of cellular transport and cellular structures to guide them in this inquiry. Once students construct parameters needed to potentially design the nanoparticles, and the teacher has steered them towards working with polymers, they will choose a variable they would like to test on model particles and hypothesize its effect on the particles release of the entrapped material. Students will create their model particles in the lab and then investigate the environmental variable on the particles by designing an experiment in the lab. Students can then draw conclusions on the effectiveness of their particles based on one parameter of their initial design.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Egg Walk Challenge

Abstract: Students will design a pair of shoes using plastics that will enable them to walk on eggs without breaking them.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Electromagnetic Energy and Its Spectrum

Abstract: As a result of hands-on exploration and inquiry, students will learn about electromagnetic radiation and the electromagnetic spectrum. Students will create waves to understand the relationship between energy and wavelength. Students will design and implement an experiment to reduce UV exposure to an object.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Energy Cars and Polymers: Reducing Frictional Forces

Abstract: Students will be working in pairs to design and build energy car that meets specific requirements by using knowledge of polymer chemistry, and laws of physics. The goal of the project is to build a car that would go maximum distance when launched by rubber band, therefore, students will have to apply knowledge about motion, friction, and engineering principles to achieve best results. Energy car must be build from wood platform, and wheels from thermoplastic. During this lesson, students will learn about thermoplastics (polymers), friction (sliding, rolling, fluid, static), and motion (speed, acceleration, velocity).

Grades: 9

Subject: N/A


Exploration of Bones as a Natural Composite Material

Abstract: Growing up we were told to drink our milk so that our bones could grow to be strong. Milk and other food products provide us with the calcium our bones need for strength. In fact, about 99% of our body’s calcium is found in bones. However, our bones also need a structural protein called collagen in order to provide added strength and flexibility. Bone can be thought of as a composite material; something made out of two materials with different properties, which when brought together produce a new material with new properties. In this laboratory you will play the role of a polymer scientist and explore the techniques that engineers use to test the strength properties of a composite material.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: N/A


Exploring Osmosis with Polymers

Abstract: In the first part of the lab activity, students will be making their own "gummies" similar to gummy worms and Boba fruit spheres using sodium alginate, a polymer found in green algae. The student will then make a connection to osmosis properties by soaking their polymers in distilled water, tap water and salt water, and collected data on mass change.

Grades: 10

Subject: Scientific Inquiry


Exploring the Physical and Chemical Properties of Polymers

Abstract: This activity involves the students in an inquiry based examination of the physical and chemical properties of polymers.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Fishing Line Tests

Abstract: This lab is to test the stretch and breaking points of various brands and strength of polymer fishing lines and to graph the data collected.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Scientific Inquiry


Float Your Boat

Abstract: Through design and implementation of their own experiments about Archimedes' Principle, students will learn the effects of the force of buoyancy, and the role density plays in the sinking and float of objects.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Gellin Like a...Hydrophylic Cross-linked Polymer?

Abstract: Students will prepare several recipes of Xanthan Gum-Glycerol polyester polymers and determine through testing and data analysis which one will serve best as wound dressings or other specific applications.

Grades: 9

Subject: N/A


The Great Rube Goldberg Polymer Machine

Abstract: Using the Rube Goldberg over-engineered method of design, students will find and utilize only polymers to construct a machine that will move a Polymer object (ball, car, etc) from point A to point B. They must incorporate a Shape-Memory Polymer and at least one example from each category of polymers found in the recycle codes for plastic #1 - #7. The object must change directions at least three times during the trip. This entire lesson allows teachers to meet science content standards and introduce polymers and other science concepts using Best Teaching Practices, Hands-on/Minds-on Learning and Authentic Problem-based Learning.

Grades: 6-8, 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Heat Loss and Gain

Abstract: Students will measure both qualitatively and quantitatively the heat of physical changes and a chemical reaction.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Hold On Tight!

Abstract: In this lesson, students will test the strength of different sticky tapes, such as duct tape, cellophane tape, medical bandage tape, and painters' tape, by performing tests in which they will take measurements, record data, and report their findings. They will explain how the usefulness of a manufactured product depends on its function for a particular purpose. Content information includes a discussion of types of adhesives and the mechanisms by which they work.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


How are Polymers Utilized in Everyday Life?

Abstract: Students will choose one of the ten areas of polymer science from the Macrogalleria web site. They will use the Macrogalleria web site to gather information to put into a graphic organizer. From the information on their graphic organizer the students will construct a Power Point presentation to report their findings to the class.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Science and Technology


How Creepy!

Abstract: Students will observe, measure, and graph a model of slow downslope movement. This task assesses students' abilities to collect, record, and organize data, set up graph axes, plot data points, draw line graphs, apply mathematics, infer based on observational data, predict based on a model, and apply models to other situations.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


How Shocking!

Abstract: Students will be challenged to build a shock absorbing structure using different polymeric materials or rubber that would best protect a gelatin "head" during an impact.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Hydrate Me!

Abstract: In this lesson students will be learning about hydrogels and their importance in wound healing. Students will be completing a lab activity using a hydrogel to determine how well it can hold water.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Hydrogels Make Happy Plants

Abstract: This is a series of activities that allow the students the opportunity to investigate hydrogels. These polymers have the ability to absorb (swell) and release water under certain conditions. First the students will read about hydrogels (Hydrogel: Preparation, characterization, and applications: A review) and develop a working knowledge of the materials. Then, they will go on a Hydrogel Scavenger hunt allowing the teacher the ability to assess their understanding AND demonstrating to the students how prevalent and important these materials are in the world. Then the students will be involved in an investigation where they study different soils with regard to their water retention abilities. This study will include soil that has hydrogel beads mixed in. The addition of the hydrogel beads allows more water to be retained creating a more steady water supply and will then require less watering. Finally, the students will create different formulations of hydrogels using Sodium Alginate. During this part of the investigation, they will first examine bead production in different salts (Lithium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride and they will have already tested Calcium Chloride.) The groups will then select a particular salt and will create the "best" hydrogel beads to be added to their "New and Improved "soil. In this part of the investigation, the students will vary concentrations of the selected salt and determine which bead would have the highest water retention ability and therefore would work most effectively in potting soil.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Impulse: An Investigation of Impulse/Change in Momentum

Abstract: This Lesson is based upon the Impulse/ Change in Momentum Theorem. This inquiry lesson will allow students to explore the Impulse/ Change in Momentum Theorem using a force plate sensor and energy dampening materials to distribute the force of a falling mass over time. An acrylic cylindrical tube will be utilized as a container for each chosen material. A mass that fits the tube well will be dropped from a particular height. The force plate will register the force peak from the drop and the change in time in which this force was imparted. Students will be able to quantify Force and Change in time data as the materials are changed in order to record them in a data table for analysis. Each material will be given a specific cost. This is to ensure that students remember that in engineering ideas are meant to be scaled up and cost effective so they do not go overboard out of the gate. Through this Inquiry, students will learn the necessary content as well as working "like and engineer".

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Industrial Processes of Polymers: How Toys are Made

Abstract: Students explore the ties between science and technology as they simulate the plastic manufacturing processes of extrusion, injection molding and blow molding. Interest is stimulated, and questions are initiated, as students examine a variety of simple plastic toys. Students try to find traits that would lead them to suggest a process by which a given toy was made. Next, students form "manufacturing companies" and actually extrude a product using a common toy - the Play-Doh Fun Factory®. Students also make an injection molded product using a hot glue gun, and a blow molded product using plastic tubing and a simple mold. Finally, students review their original set of toys and classify them as injected, extruded, or blow molded.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Introduction to Lasers and Optics

Abstract: In this lesson, students will construct a small scale laser table and reflect a laser beam around an object. Students will be exposed to some of the key components of real life laser systems and learn how to control light propagation (control how the light travels around the laser table).

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Jungle Gym Drop

Abstract: Through several trials of dropping objects from various levels of a jungle-gym, students will be able to find out more about gravity, forces, and motion.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Making Bouncing Balls

Abstract: Children have the opportunity to use different materials to make balls. They design and build balls and explore how their balls roll, bounce, and fall. They also take apart old balls to see how they are made and use these ideas in making more balls.

Grades: K-2

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Magnetic Discovery Bottle

Abstract: This lesson uses a "Magnetic Discovery Bottle" to teach students: how to conduct a simple investigation; to use simple equipment to gather data; to use data to arrive at a reasonable explanation; to communicate the investigations and explanations; to describe the properties of magnets; to explain why some materials are magnetic and some are not.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Making a Model Lung

Abstract: In "The Model Lung" lesson students will construct a simple model of the human lung and use this model to identify the structure and function of the lung. In the lesson extension, students will model and research malfunctions to the respiratory system due to illness or disease.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Scientific Inquiry


Marbles and Momentum

Abstract: Using the game of marbles, students will explore how momentum is transferred from one object to another object in an elastic collision. Students will determine the properties that make a good shooter.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Scientific Ways of Knowing


Mechanical Properties of 3D Printed Parts in Fused Deposition Modeling

Abstract: Today's students are not aware of the many uses of polymers in their daily life. In this experiment, students will examine the mechanical properties of 3D parts to solve a real world problem. Students will determine the optimal mechanical properties of components fabricated with 3D printers. Students will create 3D printed parts with various print specifications such as orientation, temperature, infill, layer thickness, etc. This research, testing and analysis will then be used by the students to create a DIY assistive technology (DIY-AT), "which is any device or system that allows an individual to perform a task that they would otherwise be unable to do, or increases the ease and safety with which the task can be performed" [1]. Once the students have created their 3D printed parts, they will conduct a tensile test. The data collected will be graphed and analyzed with the conclusion of the experiment to be a collaborative discussion of the Students will use data gathered from the tensile testing to determine optimal properties for use in assistive technology.

[1] Cowen,D. & Turner-Smith,A. The role of assistive technology in alternative models of care for older people. In Sutherland,I. (ed.) With Respect To Old Age:The Royal Commission for the Long Term Care of the Elderly (1999), Stationary Office, 325-346

Grades: 9-12

Subject:


Miracle Fish

Abstract: This lesson plan leads students through the process of designing an experiment. First, students are given a miracle fish and asked to make observations. Then, through a series of steps, they develop procedures to investigate the behavior of the fish and determine the most likely cause of the curling of the fish when it is placed in the palm of the hand. After discussing the components of an experiment, students are led through a second exploration, involving polymer spikes, where they practice and build on what they have learned by forming questions, identifying variables, making observations, collecting data, completing graphs, and drawing conclusions.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Mystery Powders

Abstract: Students will observe physical changes by adding water to eight different polymer powders. They will record physical properties before and after adding the water. Students will analyze their observations to identify the powders. They discover polymers are more than just plastic.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


The Nanofiber Chocolate Factory: An Analogy

Abstract: A nanometer is one billionth (1 x 10-9) of a meter which can be about 3 to 5 atoms in width. Electrospun nanofibers produced from polymer solutions are being used in unique ways by scientists. Nanotechnology allows the manipulation of matter, atom by atom at the "nanoscale." Properties of these materials are amplified due to the fact that many fibers can fit into a very small space. Scientists have found many unique ways to use such fibers from producing new materials capable of blocking moisture, removing of toxins from both water and air, delivering medicines to a specific region in or on the body, and tissue scaffolding. The possibilities are endless as scientists and inventors produce new products formed from these extremely small fibers.

In this investigation students will determine the advantages of going “small” by comparing the amount of chocolate syrup coating on a large diameter pretzel to that of an equal volume of smaller pretzels coated with chocolate. Students will learn what happens to the surface area as the diameter gets smaller and smaller. Students will determine what advantages exist in making the size (diameter) of a pretzel smaller. Students will make the comparison by massing a cup of chocolate syrup before and after dipping the pretzel(s). Students will use their data to support their conclusions. The lesson contains a PowerPoint review of the metric system with pictures to help students visualize large and small number lengths. Using a second PowerPoint set of slides in the elaboration, the teacher can relate the activity to the new field of nanotechnology and discuss with students why it is advantageous for newly developed materials to be so small. This often has to do with the large surface area available on nanosized particles and fibers.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology


Nanofibers: Why Go Small?

Abstract: A nanometer is one billionth (1 x 10-9) of a meter which can be about 3 to 5 atoms in width. Electrospun nanofibers produced from polymer solutions are being used in unique ways by scientists. Nanotechnology allows the manipulation of matter, atom by atom at the "nanoscale." Properties of these materials are amplified due to the fact that many fibers can fit into a very small space. Scientists have found many unique ways to use such fibers from producing new materials capable of blocking moisture, removing of toxins from both water and air, delivering medicines to a specific region in or on the body, and tissue scaffolding. The possibilities are endless as scientists and inventors produce new products formed from these extremely small fibers.

In this investigation students will determine the advantages of going “small” by comparing the amount of chocolate syrup coating on a large diameter pretzel to that of an equal volume of smaller pretzels coated with chocolate. Students will learn what happens to the surface area as the diameter gets smaller and smaller. Students will determine what advantages exist in making the size (diameter) of a pretzel smaller. Students will make the comparison by massing a cup of chocolate syrup before and after dipping the pretzel(s). Students will use their data, graphs and mathematical equations to support their conclusions. The lesson contains a Powerpoint review of the metric system with pictures to help students visualize large and small number lengths. Using a second Powerpoint set of slides in the elaboration, the teacher can relate the activity to the new field of nanotechnology and discuss with students why it is advantageous for newly developed materials to be so small. This often has to do with the large surface area available on nanosized particles and fibers.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Naturally Hydrophobic

Abstract: In nature, hydrophobic systems occur all around us. One such natural phenomenon is the hydrophobicity exhibited in roses and their petals. Another is the hydrophobicity of lotus leaves. The naturally non-wetting surface has micro-scale surface layer properties which create a relative high contact angle when contacted with water. Using contact angle measurements, students will investigate different commercial hydrophobic coatings. Students knowledge of surface chemistry and effective use of skills related to observations, measurement, data analysis and critical thinking will be used to design a multi-tiered experimental design. Students will utilize process to make accurate decisions supporting or disproving manufacture claims of product effectiveness.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Observations and Inferences

Abstract: Students will learn to distinguish observations from inferences. Students observe what they think is a burning candle and list all their observations. In reality they are observing a cylinder of apple or potato with a burning nut on the end. When all the students' observations are listed, a discussion is lead to separate actual observations from inferences students have made. Next students observe the appearance and behavior of two balls which are similar in appearance but very different in composition. Observations and inferences are made relating to the two balls.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Scientific Inquiry


One Plus One Makes New

Abstract: Through the introduction of a historical event, students will learn about the properties of matter and how properties can change when composite materials are produced. Through initial guided experimentation, students will be able to apply the knowledge learned and design and implement their own experiments.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Ooeey Gooey Fun! But Can We Sell This Stuff? Putty Experiment

Abstract: Students create bouncing balls of various shapes and determine the differences in the height that the various balls bounce.

Grades: 10-12

Subject: N/A


Physical Properties of Bouncing Balls

Abstract: Students create bouncing balls of various shapes and determine the differences in the height that the various balls bounce.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Physics on the Playground

Abstract: Students are challenged to ask the question, "What materials will allow me to slide the fastest down the slide?" Allow students to make a prediction and plan a procedure to fairly test the question with polymers.

Grades: K-2

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences


Plastic Surface Competition

Abstract: The students will investigate the effect of various treatments on the adhesion of water to common plastic surfaces. The students will compete to make a plastic piece with one side able to retain the most water as possible and the other side as little water as possible. This lesson can be an introduction or review of the six recycled numbered plastics as well as the study of Polymer Engineering and surface science.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Plastics and Rubber: What's the Difference?

Abstract: In this lesson students use observation skills to classify 10-15 common household items into two groups based upon their physical properties. The items are actually all examples of rubber or plastics.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Plink Plank Plunk

Abstract: Students will design musical instruments from provided materials to understand the following properties of sound: frequency and pitch.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Polymer Pie

Abstract: Students should investigate which starches will create the "best" pie. They will first brainstorm what qualities they would like to have in a custard-type pie, they investigate the properties of different commercially available starches like corn and potato in order to develop a recipe for making a "pie filling" sample that exhibits the desired properties. Students can then further investigate how the human body digests the different components of the starch (amylose and amylopectin).

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Polymer Rockets

Abstract: Students will design, create and test a polymer rocket.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing


The Polymer Schoolhouse

Abstract: Each cooperative group will construct a shoe box diorama of a particular room of their school. This would include rooms such as classrooms, playground, cafeteria, gymnasium, principal's office, art/music rooms, etc.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Polymerization of Nylon

Abstract: In this lesson, students will combine two monomers to make nylon 6,6, which is a polymer.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences


Polymers, Where are You?

Abstract: Teacher will introduce the concept, "what is a polymer?" using video clips from the AGPA website (grades 5-8). Students will make a collection of common objects made of polymeric materials and formulate their own questions as to the make-up of these objects.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences


Properties of Spider Web Adhesion

Abstract: Students explore how spiders create their webs and the properties of the webs to catch food. This includes exploring the viscosity and velocity of the solution to see how they impact the drop size of the "glue" on the silk.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Rethink Those Polymer Six Pack Rings

Abstract: Students will bury organic and man-made materials, some of which are polymers, to see if they decompose. They will observe the materials and record their results. After seeing that the polymer of the six-pack rings does not disintegrate at all after being buried, they will learn that these can photo degrade. They will then design and perform an experiment to photo degrade the six-pack rings and record their results.

Grades: K-2

Subject: Life Sciences, Earth and Space Sciences, Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Simple Machines: Catapults

Abstract: Working in groups, students will be given materials to build and test a catapult. Then, the groups will exchange catapults so the students can improve on another group's design for accuracy and distance.

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology


Sink/Float Discovery Bottle

Abstract: This lesson uses a "Sink/Float Discovery Bottle" to teach students how to conduct a simple investigation, use simple equipment to make observations, use observations to arrive at a reasonable explanation, and to communicate their findings and explanations. This lesson will also teach students about the properties of objects that sink and float.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Smelly Synthesis

Abstract: Students will view the nylon rope demonstration to be introduced to polymer synthesis. They will then perform an inquiry investigation of organic synthesis by mixing various carboxylic acids with alcohols to create esters. Depending on the mixture between the acids and alcohols, different smells will be produced. The class will then come together and discuss the purpose of the lab and the results obtained.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Specific Gravity - The Relative Density of Liquids

Abstract: Students will learn, through the creation of their handmade hydrometer, how a hydrometer functions and what it measures. Using their hydrometer, they will determine the relative differences in specific gravity of liquids and compare these values to those obtained from a commercially manufactured hydrometer. Based on their findings, students will create their own liquid density column.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Sports Helmets and Impact Testing of Polymers

Abstract: In sports, participants may be subjected to collisions with balls or other people or even crashes on bikes and skateboards. How is it possible for athletes to tolerate such blows and still "remain in the game"? This activity allows students to use inquiry to investigate the materials used to make sports helmets, a modern form of body armor. The students will perform impact tests on plastic (polymer) samples by dropping a plumb bob from differing heights onto the samples. The tests, modeled after actual industrial testing methods, will measure the brittleness of a material that has been subjected to an intense blow. Both "hard" plastics that may be used in the outer shell of a helmet and foamed plastics that can be used for the inner lining of the helmet will be tested. The students will use data gained from their tests to determine which plastics they feel are most suitable for usage in a helmet.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Scientific Inquiry


The Stress of Being a Recycled Bag

Abstract: Students will test the tensile strength of a shopping bag and discover that the polyethylene film has a higher tensile strength when pulled parallel with the extrusion lines then when pulled perpendicular to the extrusion lines. The students then apply what they learn to design an experiment to compare the strength a shopping bag made from recycled polyethylene to one that contains no recycled material. This lesson can be done with common inexpensive materials which may be collected from the home. Teacher Notes attached.

Grades: 6-8, 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Stretch your Students' Imaginations

Abstract: Students will explore the properties of polymers using a poly putty made from glue and borax. Physical and chemical changes, conservation of energy, and kinetic friction will be explained. An extension of the lesson allows the students a fun opportunity to enter a national contest: the AGPA's annual Rubber Band Contest for Young Inventors. This contest challenges students to design and create a working invention/artwork that incorporates at least one rubber band. The entire lesson allows teachers to meet science content standards and introduce polymers and science concepts using the Best Teaching Practices HandsOn/Minds-On Learning and Authentic Problem-Based Learning.

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Study the Fizz

Abstract: This inquiry activity uses an everyday item, soda, to help the students learn the concepts of solute and solvent and to review the components of a good experiment. The students will discuss and determine manipulated and responding variables and will write a hypothesis and procedure for part of the lesson. Throughout this lesson, the best teaching practices of inquiry approaches, hands-on/minds-on learning, and applications to the real world will be emphasized.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences


Using Current Data for Graphing Skills

Abstract: Everywhere you look graphs surround your life. All types of businesses, periodicals, and reference materials utilize graphs to visually depict statistical information. Graphing skills are not only helpful within the walls of a science classroom but also in understanding the complexities of everyday life. This lesson is designed to help students identify the difference between an effective and ineffective graph, draw their own graphs, and interpret and relay information in a graph into another form of communication. This elsson requires the use of computers and the Internet by student groups.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Scientific Inquiry


What Happens to the Heat?

Abstract: Students will initially visualize the concepts of conduction and insulation through a discrepant event demonstration where materials are heated at high temperatures to show that certain materials will heat up more quickly than others. Afterwards, students will investigate these same concepts using round washers made of different materials to quantify energy transfer through temperature changes. Students will then participate in an interactive activity to define random motion, absolute zero, heat conduction, heat conductor, thermal equilibrium, closed systems, thermal radiation, and photons as well as develop a strong understanding of thermal energy transfer through conduction and radiation. Finally, students will design and create a device to reduce or increase thermal conduction and measure temperature change between real objects as a culminating activity.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


What is a Polymer?

Abstract: Students will explore polymers in the everyday world. They will use their senses (except taste) to make observations and investigate the properties of polymers.

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


What's in Crude Oil?

Abstract: Students will be divided into research teams. Each team will research how fractional distillation works, as well as describe one of the major products of fractional distillation. Students will then use distillation to separate 2 liquids. The concept of density will be used. (D=M/V).

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Where Did the Water Go?

Abstract: As a result of the teacher-conducted discrepant event demonstration (described below), students will pose a problem. They will formulate their hypotheses, conduct experiments, and report their findings. Since it is unlikely that the students will be able to reproduce the outcome of the teachers' demonstration, it will be pointed out to them that very often scientific investigations do not lead to "answers".

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Scientific Inquiry


Where in the World is Rubber?

Abstract: In this social studies lesson plan, students will learn about the various people and places associated with those areas that produce natural rubber. They will be able to define and identify specific regions using human and physical characteristics.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Other


Where to Live?

Abstract: The use of computerized information is a growing part of everyday life. More and more people around the country and around the globe are plugging into geographic, social, economic, political, and environmental information to answer practical questions in their lives. The answers they find have relevance in their education, affect their business decisions, expand their understanding of the place they call home, and influence personal choices.

In this lesson, students will explore various aspects of their world using a Geographic Information System in order to make decisions.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Will it Stretch?

Abstract: Students will receive unexpected results when a rubber band is heated and cooled. From this activity they will learn about one of the unique physical properties of the polymer, rubber.

In this lesson, students will explore various aspects of their world using a Geographic Information System in order to make decisions.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


You are What You Eat!

Abstract: Through hands-on activities and inquiry, students will construct a simple calorimeter. Through experimentation and simple calculation, students will determine the number of calories in a sample of food. Through the use of the Internet, students will plan a meal and calculate the number of calories the meal contains. From that calorie count, they will devise an exercise program to "burn off" the calories consumed.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Young's Modulus: An Investigation of Stress Versus Strain Using PDMS Polymer

Abstract: This Lesson is based upon Young's Elastic Modulus. Young's Elastic Modulus (E) closely relates itself to the spring constant (K) used in traditional classroom physics when teaching Hooke's Law. This is outlined in detail in the power point for further information. Through this construction, this lesson can bridge the gap between the engineering scope and traditional physics concepts taught in the classroom. By using a silicone base polymer, we will investigate young's elastic modulus by changing the chemical composition. This polymer used comes from the Sylgard company. This comes as a mix and pour kit of silicone polymer with a cross linking agent (Sylgard 184).

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Ziplock Chemistry

Abstract: Three substances are mixed in a sealed plastic bag. A reaction occurs that causes the bag to get warm and expand while the color of the contents of the bag changes.

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry



LESSONS SORTED BY GRADE LEVEL:

K-2
3-5
6-8
9-12



GRADES K-2


Making Bouncing Balls

Abstract: Children have the opportunity to use different materials to make balls. They design and build balls and explore how their balls roll, bounce, and fall. They also take apart old balls to see how they are made and use these ideas in making more balls.

Grades: K-2

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Physics on the Playground

Abstract: Students are challenged to ask the question, "What materials will allow me to slide the fastest down the slide?" Allow students to make a prediction and plan a procedure to fairly test the question with polymers.

Grades: K-2

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences


Rethink Those Polymer Six Pack Rings

Abstract: Students will bury organic and man-made materials, some of which are polymers, to see if they decompose. They will observe the materials and record their results. After seeing that the polymer of the six-pack rings does not disintegrate at all after being buried, they will learn that these can photo degrade. They will then design and perform an experiment to photo degrade the six-pack rings and record their results.

Grades: K-2

Subject: Life Sciences, Earth and Space Sciences, Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing



GRADES 3-5


A Brief History of Rubber

Abstract: In this social studies lesson plan, students will explore the development of rubber and its use in society. They will research the history of rubber and will construct a timeline to display key events and the progression of rubber's use in society.

Grades: 5-8

Subject: Other


Cups Under Pressure

Abstract: Students will observe how a Styrofoam cup shrinks under pressure in a cooker.

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Jungle Gym Drop

Abstract: Through several trials of dropping objects from various levels of a jungle-gym, students will be able to find out more about gravity, forces, and motion.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Magnetic Discovery Bottle

Abstract: This lesson uses a "Magnetic Discovery Bottle" to teach students: how to conduct a simple investigation; to use simple equipment to gather data; to use data to arrive at a reasonable explanation; to communicate the investigations and explanations; to describe the properties of magnets; to explain why some materials are magnetic and some are not.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Making a Model Lung

Abstract: In "The Model Lung" lesson students will construct a simple model of the human lung and use this model to identify the structure and function of the lung. In the lesson extension, students will model and research malfunctions to the respiratory system due to illness or disease.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Scientific Inquiry


Physical Properties of Bouncing Balls

Abstract: Students create bouncing balls of various shapes and determine the differences in the height that the various balls bounce.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Plink Plank Plunk

Abstract: Students will design musical instruments from provided materials to understand the following properties of sound: frequency and pitch.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


The Polymer Schoolhouse

Abstract: Each cooperative group will construct a shoe box diorama of a particular room of their school. This would include rooms such as classrooms, playground, cafeteria, gymnasium, principal's office, art/music rooms, etc.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Simple Machines: Catapults

Abstract: Working in groups, students will be given materials to build and test a catapult. Then, the groups will exchange catapults so the students can improve on another group's design for accuracy and distance.

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology


Sink/Float Discovery Bottle

Abstract: This lesson uses a "Sink/Float Discovery Bottle" to teach students how to conduct a simple investigation, use simple equipment to make observations, use observations to arrive at a reasonable explanation, and to communicate their findings and explanations. This lesson will also teach students about the properties of objects that sink and float.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Stretch your Students' Imaginations

Abstract: Students will explore the properties of polymers using a poly putty made from glue and borax. Physical and chemical changes, conservation of energy, and kinetic friction will be explained. An extension of the lesson allows the students a fun opportunity to enter a national contest: the AGPA's annual Rubber Band Contest for Young Inventors. This contest challenges students to design and create a working invention/artwork that incorporates at least one rubber band. The entire lesson allows teachers to meet science content standards and introduce polymers and science concepts using the Best Teaching Practices HandsOn/Minds-On Learning and Authentic Problem-Based Learning.

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


What is a Polymer?

Abstract: Students will explore polymers in the everyday world. They will use their senses (except taste) to make observations and investigate the properties of polymers.

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Ziplock Chemistry

Abstract: Three substances are mixed in a sealed plastic bag. A reaction occurs that causes the bag to get warm and expand while the color of the contents of the bag changes.

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry



GRADES 6-8


A Brief History of Rubber

Abstract: In this social studies lesson plan, students will explore the development of rubber and its use in society. They will research the history of rubber and will construct a timeline to display key events and the progression of rubber's use in society.

Grades: 5-8

Subject: Other


Adhesives: How Sticky is Your Tape? - Man-made Products

Abstract: In this lesson, students will test the shear strength of different sticky tapes by performing tests in which they will take measurements, record data, and report their findings. They will explain how the usefulness of a manufactured product depends on its function for a particular purpose. Students will learn about how scientists and engineers look to nature to invent products that are useful in our lives.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Adhesives: Measuring Stickiness - Natural Products

Abstract: Students will make a simple device to test the stickiness (adhesion) of household "glues" to determine strength or weakness of the substance to stick two surfaces together. This experience leads to a discussion of adhesion, adhesives (glues), product testing, and applications to daily life. Optional suggestions for Internet research on adhesives are provided.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Balloon Ball Bounce

Abstract: In this activity, students will realize that different sports use balls with different amounts of rebound. Understanding this idea, the students will determine if the number of balloons in a balloon ball affect the rebound height. The students will then use the ball to discuss energy conversions.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


The Bending and Bouncing of Light

Abstract: Students will learn about the transfer of light energy as it interacts with matter. Key terms of refraction and reflection will be explored through hands-on inquiry. The science of the formation of rainbows will also explored.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Build a Better Bouncer

Abstract: Students discover the effect of placing additives in a glue-based putty to alter the physical properties of the putty. They are then challenged to use their knowledge to design the best bouncing ball possible from the simple materials available to them.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Can You See the Light?

Abstract: Students will learn through design and implementation of their own experiments about the transmission of light energy. Vocabulary terms such as transparent, translucent, and opaque are introduced and explored through hands-on exploration.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Check Out Lights and Shields with Beads

Abstract: Students explore Ultraviolet (UV) detecting beads, conduct several investigations with them to find sources of UV radiation, and find materials that block U V radiation. Eventually students will realize that over-exposure to UV radiation is harmful to their eyes and skin.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences


Classifying Solids: Matter

Abstract: Students make observations of solids and classify the items into groups based on their properties. Students are introduced to the three states of matter.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences


Cling On's

Abstract: Through design and implementation of their own experiments, students will learn about static electricity and its relationship with various materials. Additionally, students will learn the conditions in which static electricity is produced and how it can be reduced.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Color Your World

Abstract: In this lesson students solve a problem about painting the walls of a room. Dimensions of the problem include calculating the surface area to be painted, the cost of the paint and labor, and the amount of time expended. After students report their solutions, a new technology is introduced that would both save time and money. Besides this home decor example, other examples of this amazing advance in polymer films can be discussed after viewing a short video clip of Dr. Miko Cakmak, Professor of Polymer Engineering at The University of Akron.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Science and Technology


Condiment Diver: The World's Simplest Cartesian Diver

Abstract: This activity uses a condiment packet to teach students how fish use their swim bladders to rise and descend in the water. The students will also learn about density, buoyancy, and sinking and floating.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Consider Your Options

Abstract: Students will watch another student make a lunch to take to school. The students will make a list of all the plastic items used to make the lunch. Discussion will follow about the items used to make a complete list. Other students will make the same lunch without using plastic items.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Counting Animal Populations

Abstract: Through hands-on investigation, students will learn about the method field scientists use to determine the population of a species for a specified study area. Through collaboration they will design and implement their own strategic method for counting the population of students in their school.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Life Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Creating Shape Memory Polymers

Abstract: Shape memory polymers are an emerging class of polymers that have the capability of changing into a different programmed shape and then back to its original shape. This shape change is usually caused by some outside stimulus like heat, light, magnetism or electricity. Because shape memory polymers can exist in different shapes, they have many potential uses such as self-tying sutures, medical implants and other high tech applications. In this activity, students will transform a homemade rubber band into a shape memory polymer using latex and lauric acid. Students will then be tasked with creating specific shapes with their shape memory polymer as well as creating new shapes of their own.

Grades: 7-12

Subject: Scientific Inquiry


Cross that Bridge!

Abstract: This hands-on inquiry activity sets up a problem for students (design a bridge) and gives them specific constraints (type of materials, amount of materials, length of bridge, etc.) under which to work. The participants will work in groups to brainstorm and test multiple bridge designs. Throughout this lesson, the best teaching practices of inquiry approaches, hands-on/minds-on learning, and applications to the real world, will be emphasized.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Cups Under Pressure

Abstract: Students will observe how a Styrofoam cup shrinks under pressure in a cooker.

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Describing the Motion of a Battery Powered Car

Abstract: Students use the variables of time and distance traveled to observe the characteristics of a distance vs time graphs for the motion of a battery powered car operating with one battery then again with two batteries. This allows students to explore how the number of batteries used to power the car affects the characteristics of distance vs time graphs. Students then use the time and distance data collected for the motion of the cars in the two trials to calculate the average speed of the car in each case. The average speeds will then be compared to the slopes of the respective distance vs. time graphs.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Determining the Density of Water

Abstract: Students will determine the density of one drop of water using experimental laboratory methods and graphing techniques, and then independently find the density of another liquid such as cooking oil. This lesson can be teacher directed or conducted as an open investigation.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Diaper Challenge

Abstract: Students will compare the absorbency of regular disposable diapers with Swimmers in fresh water and salt water.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences


The Dirt on Soil

Abstract: Through hands-on exploration, students will learn about three basic soil types and some of their physical properties. Concepts of porosity and permeability will be developed through experimentation. Students will design and implement a model of a water treatment plant.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Downhill Racer

Abstract: Students investigate the motion of a car traveling on an inclined plane and along a flat surface. Students observe the pattern of drops left by the moving car. The changing distances between the successive drops indicate that the car was not traveling at a constant speed. From the drops, students will be able to collect data and graph both the velocity and acceleration of the car.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Egg Walk Challenge

Abstract: Students will design a pair of shoes using plastics that will enable them to walk on eggs without breaking them.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technoogy, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Electromagnetic Energy and Its Spectrum

Abstract: As a result of hands-on exploration and inquiry, students will learn about electromagnetic radiation and the electromagnetic spectrum. Students will create waves to understand the relationship between energy and wavelength. Students will design and implement an experiment to reduce UV exposure to an object.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Exploring the Physical and Chemical Properties of Polymers

Abstract: This activity involves the students in an inquiry based examination of the physical and chemical properties of polymers.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Fishing Line Tests

Abstract: This lab is to test the stretch and breaking points of various brands and strength of polymer fishing lines and to graph the data collected.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Scientific Inquiry


Float Your Boat

Abstract: Through design and implementation of their own experiments about Archimedes' Principle, students will learn the effects of the force of buoyancy, and the role density plays in the sinking and float of objects.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


The Great Rube Goldberg Polymer Machine

Abstract: Using the Rube Goldberg over-engineered method of design, students will find and utilize only polymers to construct a machine that will move a Polymer object (ball, car, etc) from point A to point B. They must incorporate a Shape-Memory Polymer and at least one example from each category of polymers found in the recycle codes for plastic #1 - #7. The object must change directions at least three times during the trip. This entire lesson allows teachers to meet science content standards and introduce polymers and other science concepts using Best Teaching Practices, Hands-on/Minds-on Learning and Authentic Problem-based Learning.

Grades: 6-8, 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Hold On Tight!

Abstract: In this lesson, students will test the strength of different sticky tapes, such as duct tape, cellophane tape, medical bandage tape, and painters' tape, by performing tests in which they will take measurements, record data, and report their findings. They will explain how the usefulness of a manufactured product depends on its function for a particular purpose. Content information includes a discussion of types of adhesives and the mechanisms by which they work.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


How Creepy!

Abstract: Students will observe, measure, and graph a model of slow downslope movement. This task assesses students' abilities to collect, record, and organize data, set up graph axes, plot data points, draw line graphs, apply mathematics, infer based on observational data, predict based on a model, and apply models to other situations.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


How Shocking!

Abstract: Students will be challenged to build a shock absorbing structure using different polymeric materials or rubber that would best protect a gelatin "head" during an impact.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Hydrate Me!

Abstract: In this lesson students will be learning about hydrogels and their importance in wound healing. Students will be completing a lab activity using a hydrogel to determine how well it can hold water.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Industrial Processes of Polymers: How Toys are Made

Abstract: Students explore the ties between science and technology as they simulate the plastic manufacturing processes of extrusion, injection molding and blow molding. Interest is stimulated, and questions are initiated, as students examine a variety of simple plastic toys. Students try to find traits that would lead them to suggest a process by which a given toy was made. Next, students form "manufacturing companies" and actually extrude a product using a common toy - the Play-Doh Fun Factory®. Students also make an injection molded product using a hot glue gun, and a blow molded product using plastic tubing and a simple mold. Finally, students review their original set of toys and classify them as injected, extruded, or blow molded.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Miracle Fish

Abstract: This lesson plan leads students through the process of designing an experiment. First, students are given a miracle fish and asked to make observations. Then, through a series of steps, they develop procedures to investigate the behavior of the fish and determine the most likely cause of the curling of the fish when it is placed in the palm of the hand. After discussing the components of an experiment, students are led through a second exploration, involving polymer spikes, where they practice and build on what they have learned by forming questions, identifying variables, making observations, collecting data, completing graphs, and drawing conclusions.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Mystery Powders

Abstract: Students will observe physical changes by adding water to eight different polymer powders. They will record physical properties before and after adding the water. Students will analyze their observations to identify the powders. They discover polymers are more than just plastic.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


The Nanofiber Chocolate Factory: An Analogy

Abstract: A nanometer is one billionth (1 x 10-9) of a meter which can be about 3 to 5 atoms in width. Electrospun nanofibers produced from polymer solutions are being used in unique ways by scientists. Nanotechnology allows the manipulation of matter, atom by atom at the "nanoscale." Properties of these materials are amplified due to the fact that many fibers can fit into a very small space. Scientists have found many unique ways to use such fibers from producing new materials capable of blocking moisture, removing of toxins from both water and air, delivering medicines to a specific region in or on the body, and tissue scaffolding. The possibilities are endless as scientists and inventors produce new products formed from these extremely small fibers.

In this investigation students will determine the advantages of going “small” by comparing the amount of chocolate syrup coating on a large diameter pretzel to that of an equal volume of smaller pretzels coated with chocolate. Students will learn what happens to the surface area as the diameter gets smaller and smaller. Students will determine what advantages exist in making the size (diameter) of a pretzel smaller. Students will make the comparison by massing a cup of chocolate syrup before and after dipping the pretzel(s). Students will use their data to support their conclusions. The lesson contains a PowerPoint review of the metric system with pictures to help students visualize large and small number lengths. Using a second PowerPoint set of slides in the elaboration, the teacher can relate the activity to the new field of nanotechnology and discuss with students why it is advantageous for newly developed materials to be so small. This often has to do with the large surface area available on nanosized particles and fibers.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology


Observations and Inferences

Abstract: Students will learn to distinguish observations from inferences. Students observe what they think is a burning candle and list all their observations. In reality they are observing a cylinder of apple or potato with a burning nut on the end. When all the students' observations are listed, a discussion is lead to separate actual observations from inferences students have made. Next students observe the appearance and behavior of two balls which are similar in appearance but very different in composition. Observations and inferences are made relating to the two balls.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Scientific Inquiry


One Plus One Makes New

Abstract: Through the introduction of a historical event, students will learn about the properties of matter and how properties can change when composite materials are produced. Through initial guided experimentation, students will be able to apply the knowledge learned and design and implement their own experiments.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Plastics and Rubber: What's the Difference?

Abstract: In this lesson students use observation skills to classify 10-15 common household items into two groups based upon their physical properties. The items are actually all examples of rubber or plastics.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Polymer Rockets

Abstract: Students will design, create and test a polymer rocket.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Polymers, Where are You?

Abstract: Teacher will introduce the concept, "what is a polymer?" using video clips from the AGPA website (grades 5-8). Students will make a collection of common objects made of polymeric materials and formulate their own questions as to the make-up of these objects.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences


Simple Machines: Catapults

Abstract: Working in groups, students will be given materials to build and test a catapult. Then, the groups will exchange catapults so the students can improve on another group's design for accuracy and distance.

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology


Specific Gravity - The Relative Density of Liquids

Abstract: Students will learn, through the creation of their handmade hydrometer, how a hydrometer functions and what it measures. Using their hydrometer, they will determine the relative differences in specific gravity of liquids and compare these values to those obtained from a commercially manufactured hydrometer. Based on their findings, students will create their own liquid density column.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Sports Helmets and Impact Testing of Polymers

Abstract: In sports, participants may be subjected to collisions with balls or other people or even crashes on bikes and skateboards. How is it possible for athletes to tolerate such blows and still "remain in the game"? This activity allows students to use inquiry to investigate the materials used to make sports helmets, a modern form of body armor. The students will perform impact tests on plastic (polymer) samples by dropping a plumb bob from differing heights onto the samples. The tests, modeled after actual industrial testing methods, will measure the brittleness of a material that has been subjected to an intense blow. Both "hard" plastics that may be used in the outer shell of a helmet and foamed plastics that can be used for the inner lining of the helmet will be tested. The students will use data gained from their tests to determine which plastics they feel are most suitable for usage in a helmet.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Scientific Inquiry


The Stress of Being a Recycled Bag

Abstract: Students will test the tensile strength of a shopping bag and discover that the polyethylene film has a higher tensile strength when pulled parallel with the extrusion lines then when pulled perpendicular to the extrusion lines. The students then apply what they learn to design an experiment to compare the strength a shopping bag made from recycled polyethylene to one that contains no recycled material. This lesson can be done with common inexpensive materials which may be collected from the home. Teacher Notes attached.

Grades: 6-8, 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Stretch your Students' Imaginations

Abstract: Students will explore the properties of polymers using a poly putty made from glue and borax. Physical and chemical changes, conservation of energy, and kinetic friction will be explained. An extension of the lesson allows the students a fun opportunity to enter a national contest: the AGPA's annual Rubber Band Contest for Young Inventors. This contest challenges students to design and create a working invention/artwork that incorporates at least one rubber band. The entire lesson allows teachers to meet science content standards and introduce polymers and science concepts using the Best Teaching Practices HandsOn/Minds-On Learning and Authentic Problem-Based Learning.

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Study the Fizz

Abstract: This inquiry activity uses an everyday item, soda, to help the students learn the concepts of solute and solvent and to review the components of a good experiment. The students will discuss and determine manipulated and responding variables and will write a hypothesis and procedure for part of the lesson. Throughout this lesson, the best teaching practices of inquiry approaches, hands-on/minds-on learning, and applications to the real world will be emphasized.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences


Using Current Data for Graphing Skills

Abstract: Everywhere you look graphs surround your life. All types of businesses, periodicals, and reference materials utilize graphs to visually depict statistical information. Graphing skills are not only helpful within the walls of a science classroom but also in understanding the complexities of everyday life. This lesson is designed to help students identify the difference between an effective and ineffective graph, draw their own graphs, and interpret and relay information in a graph into another form of communication. This elsson requires the use of computers and the Internet by student groups.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Scientific Inquiry


What Happens to the Heat?

Abstract: Students will initially visualize the concepts of conduction and insulation through a discrepant event demonstration where materials are heated at high temperatures to show that certain materials will heat up more quickly than others. Afterwards, students will investigate these same concepts using round washers made of different materials to quantify energy transfer through temperature changes. Students will then participate in an interactive activity to define random motion, absolute zero, heat conduction, heat conductor, thermal equilibrium, closed systems, thermal radiation, and photons as well as develop a strong understanding of thermal energy transfer through conduction and radiation. Finally, students will design and create a device to reduce or increase thermal conduction and measure temperature change between real objects as a culminating activity.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


What is a Polymer?

Abstract: Students will explore polymers in the everyday world. They will use their senses (except taste) to make observations and investigate the properties of polymers.

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


What's in Crude Oil?

Abstract: Students will be divided into research teams. Each team will research how fractional distillation works, as well as describe one of the major products of fractional distillation. Students will then use distillation to separate 2 liquids. The concept of density will be used. (D=M/V).

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Where Did the Water Go?

Abstract: As a result of the teacher-conducted discrepant event demonstration (described below), students will pose a problem. They will formulate their hypotheses, conduct experiments, and report their findings. Since it is unlikely that the students will be able to reproduce the outcome of the teachers' demonstration, it will be pointed out to them that very often scientific investigations do not lead to "answers".

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Scientific Inquiry


Where in the World is Rubber?

Abstract: In this social studies lesson plan, students will learn about the various people and places associated with those areas that produce natural rubber. They will be able to define and identify specific regions using human and physical characteristics.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Other


Where to Live?

Abstract: The use of computerized information is a growing part of everyday life. More and more people around the country and around the globe are plugging into geographic, social, economic, political, and environmental information to answer practical questions in their lives. The answers they find have relevance in their education, affect their business decisions, expand their understanding of the place they call home, and influence personal choices.

In this lesson, students will explore various aspects of their world using a Geographic Information System in order to make decisions.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Will it Stretch?

Abstract: Students will receive unexpected results when a rubber band is heated and cooled. From this activity they will learn about one of the unique physical properties of the polymer, rubber.

In this lesson, students will explore various aspects of their world using a Geographic Information System in order to make decisions.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


You are What You Eat!

Abstract: Through hands-on activities and inquiry, students will construct a simple calorimeter. Through experimentation and simple calculation, students will determine the number of calories in a sample of food. Through the use of the Internet, students will plan a meal and calculate the number of calories the meal contains. From that calorie count, they will devise an exercise program to "burn off" the calories consumed.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Ziplock Chemistry

Abstract: Three substances are mixed in a sealed plastic bag. A reaction occurs that causes the bag to get warm and expand while the color of the contents of the bag changes.

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry



GRADES 9-12


A Comparative Study of Lactase and Lactase Supplements

Abstract: Lactose intolerance is the number one known enzyme deficiency, with over 70% of the worlds (adult) population affected. According to the Encyclopedia of Children's Health (http://www.healthofchildren.com/C/Carbohydrate-Intolerance.html) there are 30 to 50 million Americans who suffer from Lactose Intolerance. In this lesson, students will conduct a comparative study to examine the effectiveness of Lactase supplements versus pure Lactase? The lesson is presented as an inquiry lesson, but the attached worksheet provides guided instructions.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


A Test of Adhesive Strength

Abstract: Students investigate the variables that may impact the peel force of different tapes/adhesives. This includes, factors such as the type of adhesive, peel force, angle, width of sample, and velocity of pull. Although all these may be tested some relationships are trivial for high school students depending on the level. So we will test angle, width, velocity and their relationship to the peel force.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Biomimicry Using Polymers to Mimic Pinecones or Flowers

Abstract: Inspired by natural hygromorphs, students recreate or simulate how pinecones open and close based on their moisture content. Students use rubber pieces that are glued together and made of two different densities. These biomimetic bilayer structures replicate simple models of natural occurrences such as pine cones opening when dry and closing when moist. Because we are using rubber polymers our biomimetic bilayers will open and close using acetone, a solvent that will absorb into rubber much the way water would be absorbed in a pine cone.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: N/A


Building Polymer Cup Speakers

Abstract: Students will establish criteria by which to test their speakers. Students will construct and test their speaker. The students will compare speakers and test variable components of a speaker.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences


Can You Get Enough Protein from Milk Alternatives?

Abstract: This guided inquiry lesson allows students to apply their knowledge of organic compounds (primarily proteins) to their everyday life. Biochemistry lessons on proteins and enzyme insufficiency often make students wonder how someone who is lactose intolerant can obtain essential proteins from milk alternatives. This lesson lets students explore whether or not milk alternatives have the same protein concentration as traditional milk.

Grades: 9-10

Subject: Life Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Classification of Matter

Abstract: This activity involves the students in an inquiry into classifying various materials.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Creating Shape Memory Polymers

Abstract: Shape memory polymers are an emerging class of polymers that have the capability of changing into a different programmed shape and then back to its original shape. This shape change is usually caused by some outside stimulus like heat, light, magnetism or electricity. Because shape memory polymers can exist in different shapes, they have many potential uses such as self-tying sutures, medical implants and other high tech applications. In this activity, students will transform a homemade rubber band into a shape memory polymer using latex and lauric acid. Students will then be tasked with creating specific shapes with their shape memory polymer as well as creating new shapes of their own.

Grades: 7-12

Subject: Scientific Inquiry


Decomposition of Polymers: Removal of Chewing Gum

Abstract: Our lives are fraught daily with things that gum up the works; especially chewing gum. If it happens to attach itself to your clothes, hair, or (heaven forbid) the inside of the family clothes dryer you have a real problem.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: N/A


Determining the Age of Fossils

Abstract: This lesson is designed to help students understand the concepts of radioactive dating to help determine the approximate age of fossils and rocks. After this lesson students will have an understanding of how maerials undergo radioactive decay and that the rate of decay allows scientists to predict the approximate age of the specimen. This lesson is geared to help take the "mystery" out of scientific dating of rocks and fossils.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences


Determining the Coefficient of Friction for Various Tires on a Ramp

Abstract: Students will determine the coefficient of kinetic and static friction for various tires such as tractor, truck, bike, high performance, tourism. They will then have to apply this knowledge to solve a practical problem.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Diaper Dilemma

Abstract: Students will learn what a polymer is and some uses of polymer materials in science. The student will research the polymer sodium polyacrylate. The student will then use inquiry and design a series of tests with given materials to see which brand of diaper will be best for the city hospital to use. Students will have to interpret their results and data to formulate this plan. They will write their results in a letter and will present their results to the class.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Drug Delivery with Polymer Based Nanoparticles

Abstract: Students will critique common drug delivery techniques and analyze ways that newer nanotechnology techniques could be more beneficial for drug delivery. The students will be responsible for investigating the properties needed for nanoparticles to be used in biological systems in order for cellular uptake to occur and for proper release of the entrapped drug to take place. Students will use prior knowledge of cellular transport and cellular structures to guide them in this inquiry. Once students construct parameters needed to potentially design the nanoparticles, and the teacher has steered them towards working with polymers, they will choose a variable they would like to test on model particles and hypothesize its effect on the particles release of the entrapped material. Students will create their model particles in the lab and then investigate the environmental variable on the particles by designing an experiment in the lab. Students can then draw conclusions on the effectiveness of their particles based on one parameter of their initial design.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Energy Cars and Polymers: Reducing Frictional Forces

Abstract: Students will be working in pairs to design and build energy car that meets specific requirements by using knowledge of polymer chemistry, and laws of physics. The goal of the project is to build a car that would go maximum distance when launched by rubber band, therefore, students will have to apply knowledge about motion, friction, and engineering principles to achieve best results. Energy car must be build from wood platform, and wheels from thermoplastic. During this lesson, students will learn about thermoplastics (polymers), friction (sliding, rolling, fluid, static), and motion (speed, acceleration, velocity).

Grades: 9

Subject: N/A


Exploration of Bones as a Natural Composite Material

Abstract: Growing up we were told to drink our milk so that our bones could grow to be strong. Milk and other food products provide us with the calcium our bones need for strength. In fact, about 99% of our body’s calcium is found in bones. However, our bones also need a structural protein called collagen in order to provide added strength and flexibility. Bone can be thought of as a composite material; something made out of two materials with different properties, which when brought together produce a new material with new properties. In this laboratory you will play the role of a polymer scientist and explore the techniques that engineers use to test the strength properties of a composite material.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: N/A


Exploring Osmosis with Polymers

Abstract: In the first part of the lab activity, students will be making their own "gummies" similar to gummy worms and Boba fruit spheres using sodium alginate, a polymer found in green algae. The student will then make a connection to osmosis properties by soaking their polymers in distilled water, tap water and salt water, and collected data on mass change.

Grades: 10

Subject: Scientific Inquiry


Gellin Like a...Hydrophylic Cross-linked Polymer?

Abstract: Students will prepare several recipes of Xanthan Gum-Glycerol polyester polymers and determine through testing and data analysis which one will serve best as wound dressings or other specific applications.

Grades: 9

Subject: N/A


The Great Rube Goldberg Polymer Machine

Abstract: Using the Rube Goldberg over-engineered method of design, students will find and utilize only polymers to construct a machine that will move a Polymer object (ball, car, etc) from point A to point B. They must incorporate a Shape-Memory Polymer and at least one example from each category of polymers found in the recycle codes for plastic #1 - #7. The object must change directions at least three times during the trip. This entire lesson allows teachers to meet science content standards and introduce polymers and other science concepts using Best Teaching Practices, Hands-on/Minds-on Learning and Authentic Problem-based Learning.

Grades: 6-8, 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Heat Loss and Gain

Abstract: Students will measure both qualitatively and quantitatively the heat of physical changes and a chemical reaction.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


How are Polymers Utilized in Everyday Life?

Abstract: Students will choose one of the ten areas of polymer science from the Macrogalleria web site. They will use the Macrogalleria web site to gather information to put into a graphic organizer. From the information on their graphic organizer the students will construct a Power Point presentation to report their findings to the class.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Science and Technology


Hydrogels Make Happy Plants

Abstract: This is a series of activities that allow the students the opportunity to investigate hydrogels. These polymers have the ability to absorb (swell) and release water under certain conditions. First the students will read about hydrogels (Hydrogel: Preparation, characterization, and applications: A review) and develop a working knowledge of the materials. Then, they will go on a Hydrogel Scavenger hunt allowing the teacher the ability to assess their understanding AND demonstrating to the students how prevalent and important these materials are in the world. Then the students will be involved in an investigation where they study different soils with regard to their water retention abilities. This study will include soil that has hydrogel beads mixed in. The addition of the hydrogel beads allows more water to be retained creating a more steady water supply and will then require less watering. Finally, the students will create different formulations of hydrogels using Sodium Alginate. During this part of the investigation, they will first examine bead production in different salts (Lithium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride and they will have already tested Calcium Chloride.) The groups will then select a particular salt and will create the "best" hydrogel beads to be added to their "New and Improved "soil. In this part of the investigation, the students will vary concentrations of the selected salt and determine which bead would have the highest water retention ability and therefore would work most effectively in potting soil.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Impulse: An Investigation of Impulse/Change in Momentum

Abstract: This Lesson is based upon the Impulse/ Change in Momentum Theorem. This inquiry lesson will allow students to explore the Impulse/ Change in Momentum Theorem using a force plate sensor and energy dampening materials to distribute the force of a falling mass over time. An acrylic cylindrical tube will be utilized as a container for each chosen material. A mass that fits the tube well will be dropped from a particular height. The force plate will register the force peak from the drop and the change in time in which this force was imparted. Students will be able to quantify Force and Change in time data as the materials are changed in order to record them in a data table for analysis. Each material will be given a specific cost. This is to ensure that students remember that in engineering ideas are meant to be scaled up and cost effective so they do not go overboard out of the gate. Through this Inquiry, students will learn the necessary content as well as working "like and engineer".

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Introduction to Lasers and Optics

Abstract: In this lesson, students will construct a small scale laser table and reflect a laser beam around an object. Students will be exposed to some of the key components of real life laser systems and learn how to control light propagation (control how the light travels around the laser table).

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Marbles and Momentum

Abstract: Using the game of marbles, students will explore how momentum is transferred from one object to another object in an elastic collision. Students will determine the properties that make a good shooter.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Scientific Ways of Knowing


Mechanical Properties of 3D Printed Parts in Fused Deposition Modeling

Abstract: Today's students are not aware of the many uses of polymers in their daily life. In this experiment, students will examine the mechanical properties of 3D parts to solve a real world problem. Students will determine the optimal mechanical properties of components fabricated with 3D printers. Students will create 3D printed parts with various print specifications such as orientation, temperature, infill, layer thickness, etc. This research, testing and analysis will then be used by the students to create a DIY assistive technology (DIY-AT), "which is any device or system that allows an individual to perform a task that they would otherwise be unable to do, or increases the ease and safety with which the task can be performed" [1]. Once the students have created their 3D printed parts, they will conduct a tensile test. The data collected will be graphed and analyzed with the conclusion of the experiment to be a collaborative discussion of the Students will use data gathered from the tensile testing to determine optimal properties for use in assistive technology.

[1] Cowen,D. & Turner-Smith,A. The role of assistive technology in alternative models of care for older people. In Sutherland,I. (ed.) With Respect To Old Age:The Royal Commission for the Long Term Care of the Elderly (1999), Stationary Office, 325-346

Grades: 9-12

Subject:


Nanofibers: Why Go Small?

Abstract: A nanometer is one billionth (1 x 10-9) of a meter which can be about 3 to 5 atoms in width. Electrospun nanofibers produced from polymer solutions are being used in unique ways by scientists. Nanotechnology allows the manipulation of matter, atom by atom at the "nanoscale." Properties of these materials are amplified due to the fact that many fibers can fit into a very small space. Scientists have found many unique ways to use such fibers from producing new materials capable of blocking moisture, removing of toxins from both water and air, delivering medicines to a specific region in or on the body, and tissue scaffolding. The possibilities are endless as scientists and inventors produce new products formed from these extremely small fibers.

In this investigation students will determine the advantages of going “small” by comparing the amount of chocolate syrup coating on a large diameter pretzel to that of an equal volume of smaller pretzels coated with chocolate. Students will learn what happens to the surface area as the diameter gets smaller and smaller. Students will determine what advantages exist in making the size (diameter) of a pretzel smaller. Students will make the comparison by massing a cup of chocolate syrup before and after dipping the pretzel(s). Students will use their data, graphs and mathematical equations to support their conclusions. The lesson contains a Powerpoint review of the metric system with pictures to help students visualize large and small number lengths. Using a second Powerpoint set of slides in the elaboration, the teacher can relate the activity to the new field of nanotechnology and discuss with students why it is advantageous for newly developed materials to be so small. This often has to do with the large surface area available on nanosized particles and fibers.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Naturally Hydrophobic

Abstract: In nature, hydrophobic systems occur all around us. One such natural phenomenon is the hydrophobicity exhibited in roses and their petals. Another is the hydrophobicity of lotus leaves. The naturally non-wetting surface has micro-scale surface layer properties which create a relative high contact angle when contacted with water. Using contact angle measurements, students will investigate different commercial hydrophobic coatings. Students knowledge of surface chemistry and effective use of skills related to observations, measurement, data analysis and critical thinking will be used to design a multi-tiered experimental design. Students will utilize process to make accurate decisions supporting or disproving manufacture claims of product effectiveness.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Ooeey Gooey Fun! But Can We Sell This Stuff? Putty Experiment

Abstract: Students create bouncing balls of various shapes and determine the differences in the height that the various balls bounce.

Grades: 10-12

Subject: N/A


Plastic Surface Competition

Abstract: The students will investigate the effect of various treatments on the adhesion of water to common plastic surfaces. The students will compete to make a plastic piece with one side able to retain the most water as possible and the other side as little water as possible. This lesson can be an introduction or review of the six recycled numbered plastics as well as the study of Polymer Engineering and surface science.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Polymer Pie

Abstract: Students should investigate which starches will create the "best" pie. They will first brainstorm what qualities they would like to have in a custard-type pie, they investigate the properties of different commercially available starches like corn and potato in order to develop a recipe for making a "pie filling" sample that exhibits the desired properties. Students can then further investigate how the human body digests the different components of the starch (amylose and amylopectin).

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Polymerization of Nylon

Abstract: In this lesson, students will combine two monomers to make nylon 6,6, which is a polymer.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences


Properties of Spider Web Adhesion

Abstract: Students explore how spiders create their webs and the properties of the webs to catch food. This includes exploring the viscosity and velocity of the solution to see how they impact the drop size of the "glue" on the silk.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Smelly Synthesis

Abstract: Students will view the nylon rope demonstration to be introduced to polymer synthesis. They will then perform an inquiry investigation of organic synthesis by mixing various carboxylic acids with alcohols to create esters. Depending on the mixture between the acids and alcohols, different smells will be produced. The class will then come together and discuss the purpose of the lab and the results obtained.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


The Stress of Being a Recycled Bag

Abstract: Students will test the tensile strength of a shopping bag and discover that the polyethylene film has a higher tensile strength when pulled parallel with the extrusion lines then when pulled perpendicular to the extrusion lines. The students then apply what they learn to design an experiment to compare the strength a shopping bag made from recycled polyethylene to one that contains no recycled material. This lesson can be done with common inexpensive materials which may be collected from the home. Teacher Notes attached.

Grades: 6-8, 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Young's Modulus: An Investigation of Stress Versus Strain Using PDMS Polymer

Abstract: This Lesson is based upon Young's Elastic Modulus. Young's Elastic Modulus (E) closely relates itself to the spring constant (K) used in traditional classroom physics when teaching Hooke's Law. This is outlined in detail in the power point for further information. Through this construction, this lesson can bridge the gap between the engineering scope and traditional physics concepts taught in the classroom. By using a silicone base polymer, we will investigate young's elastic modulus by changing the chemical composition. This polymer used comes from the Sylgard company. This comes as a mix and pour kit of silicone polymer with a cross linking agent (Sylgard 184).

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry



LESSONS SORTED BY SUBJECT:

Life Sciences
Earth and Space Sciences
Physical Sciences
Science and Technology
Scientific Ways of Knowing
Scientific Inquiry
Other



LIFE SCIENCES


A Comparative Study of Lactase and Lactase Supplements

Abstract: Lactose intolerance is the number one known enzyme deficiency, with over 70% of the worlds (adult) population affected. According to the Encyclopedia of Children's Health (http://www.healthofchildren.com/C/Carbohydrate-Intolerance.html) there are 30 to 50 million Americans who suffer from Lactose Intolerance. In this lesson, students will conduct a comparative study to examine the effectiveness of Lactase supplements versus pure Lactase? The lesson is presented as an inquiry lesson, but the attached worksheet provides guided instructions.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


A Test of Adhesive Strength

Abstract: Students investigate the variables that may impact the peel force of different tapes/adhesives. This includes, factors such as the type of adhesive, peel force, angle, width of sample, and velocity of pull. Although all these may be tested some relationships are trivial for high school students depending on the level. So we will test angle, width, velocity and their relationship to the peel force.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Can You Get Enough Protein from Milk Alternatives?

Abstract: This guided inquiry lesson allows students to apply their knowledge of organic compounds (primarily proteins) to their everyday life. Biochemistry lessons on proteins and enzyme insufficiency often make students wonder how someone who is lactose intolerant can obtain essential proteins from milk alternatives. This lesson lets students explore whether or not milk alternatives have the same protein concentration as traditional milk.

Grades: 9-10

Subject: Life Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Counting Animal Populations

Abstract: Through hands-on investigation, students will learn about the method field scientists use to determine the population of a species for a specified study area. Through collaboration they will design and implement their own strategic method for counting the population of students in their school.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Life Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Hydrate Me!

Abstract: In this lesson students will be learning about hydrogels and their importance in wound healing. Students will be completing a lab activity using a hydrogel to determine how well it can hold water.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Hydrogels Make Happy Plants

Abstract: This is a series of activities that allow the students the opportunity to investigate hydrogels. These polymers have the ability to absorb (swell) and release water under certain conditions. First the students will read about hydrogels (Hydrogel: Preparation, characterization, and applications: A review) and develop a working knowledge of the materials. Then, they will go on a Hydrogel Scavenger hunt allowing the teacher the ability to assess their understanding AND demonstrating to the students how prevalent and important these materials are in the world. Then the students will be involved in an investigation where they study different soils with regard to their water retention abilities. This study will include soil that has hydrogel beads mixed in. The addition of the hydrogel beads allows more water to be retained creating a more steady water supply and will then require less watering. Finally, the students will create different formulations of hydrogels using Sodium Alginate. During this part of the investigation, they will first examine bead production in different salts (Lithium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride and they will have already tested Calcium Chloride.) The groups will then select a particular salt and will create the "best" hydrogel beads to be added to their "New and Improved "soil. In this part of the investigation, the students will vary concentrations of the selected salt and determine which bead would have the highest water retention ability and therefore would work most effectively in potting soil.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Naturally Hydrophobic

Abstract: In nature, hydrophobic systems occur all around us. One such natural phenomenon is the hydrophobicity exhibited in roses and their petals. Another is the hydrophobicity of lotus leaves. The naturally non-wetting surface has micro-scale surface layer properties which create a relative high contact angle when contacted with water. Using contact angle measurements, students will investigate different commercial hydrophobic coatings. Students knowledge of surface chemistry and effective use of skills related to observations, measurement, data analysis and critical thinking will be used to design a multi-tiered experimental design. Students will utilize process to make accurate decisions supporting or disproving manufacture claims of product effectiveness.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Physics on the Playground

Abstract: Students are challenged to ask the question, "What materials will allow me to slide the fastest down the slide?" Allow students to make a prediction and plan a procedure to fairly test the question with polymers.

Grades: K-2

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences


Properties of Spider Web Adhesion

Abstract: Students explore how spiders create their webs and the properties of the webs to catch food. This includes exploring the viscosity and velocity of the solution to see how they impact the drop size of the "glue" on the silk.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Rethink Those Polymer Six Pack Rings

Abstract: Students will bury organic and man-made materials, some of which are polymers, to see if they decompose. They will observe the materials and record their results. After seeing that the polymer of the six-pack rings does not disintegrate at all after being buried, they will learn that these can photo degrade. They will then design and perform an experiment to photo degrade the six-pack rings and record their results.

Grades: K-2

Subject: Life Sciences, Earth and Space Sciences, Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing



EARTH AND SPACE SCIENCES


The Bending and Bouncing of Light

Abstract: Students will learn about the transfer of light energy as it interacts with matter. Key terms of refraction and reflection will be explored through hands-on inquiry. The science of the formation of rainbows will also explored.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Determining the Age of Fossils

Abstract: This lesson is designed to help students understand the concepts of radioactive dating to help determine the approximate age of fossils and rocks. After this lesson students will have an understanding of how maerials undergo radioactive decay and that the rate of decay allows scientists to predict the approximate age of the specimen. This lesson is geared to help take the "mystery" out of scientific dating of rocks and fossils.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences


Diaper Dilemma

Abstract: Students will learn what a polymer is and some uses of polymer materials in science. The student will research the polymer sodium polyacrylate. The student will then use inquiry and design a series of tests with given materials to see which brand of diaper will be best for the city hospital to use. Students will have to interpret their results and data to formulate this plan. They will write their results in a letter and will present their results to the class.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


The Dirt on Soil

Abstract: Through hands-on exploration, students will learn about three basic soil types and some of their physical properties. Concepts of porosity and permeability will be developed through experimentation. Students will design and implement a model of a water treatment plant.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Electromagnetic Energy and Its Spectrum

Abstract: As a result of hands-on exploration and inquiry, students will learn about electromagnetic radiation and the electromagnetic spectrum. Students will create waves to understand the relationship between energy and wavelength. Students will design and implement an experiment to reduce UV exposure to an object.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


How Creepy!

Abstract: Students will observe, measure, and graph a model of slow downslope movement. This task assesses students' abilities to collect, record, and organize data, set up graph axes, plot data points, draw line graphs, apply mathematics, infer based on observational data, predict based on a model, and apply models to other situations.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Rethink Those Polymer Six Pack Rings

Abstract: Students will bury organic and man-made materials, some of which are polymers, to see if they decompose. They will observe the materials and record their results. After seeing that the polymer of the six-pack rings does not disintegrate at all after being buried, they will learn that these can photo degrade. They will then design and perform an experiment to photo degrade the six-pack rings and record their results.

Grades: K-2

Subject: Life Sciences, Earth and Space Sciences, Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing


What's in Crude Oil?

Abstract: Students will be divided into research teams. Each team will research how fractional distillation works, as well as describe one of the major products of fractional distillation. Students will then use distillation to separate 2 liquids. The concept of density will be used. (D=M/V).

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing



PHYSICAL SCIENCES


Adhesives: How Sticky is Your Tape? - Man-made Products

Abstract: In this lesson, students will test the shear strength of different sticky tapes by performing tests in which they will take measurements, record data, and report their findings. They will explain how the usefulness of a manufactured product depends on its function for a particular purpose. Students will learn about how scientists and engineers look to nature to invent products that are useful in our lives.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Adhesives: Measuring Stickiness - Natural Products

Abstract: Students will make a simple device to test the stickiness (adhesion) of household "glues" to determine strength or weakness of the substance to stick two surfaces together. This experience leads to a discussion of adhesion, adhesives (glues), product testing, and applications to daily life. Optional suggestions for Internet research on adhesives are provided.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Balloon Ball Bounce

Abstract: In this activity, students will realize that different sports use balls with different amounts of rebound. Understanding this idea, the students will determine if the number of balloons in a balloon ball affect the rebound height. The students will then use the ball to discuss energy conversions.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


The Bending and Bouncing of Light

Abstract: Students will learn about the transfer of light energy as it interacts with matter. Key terms of refraction and reflection will be explored through hands-on inquiry. The science of the formation of rainbows will also explored.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Build a Better Bouncer

Abstract: Students discover the effect of placing additives in a glue-based putty to alter the physical properties of the putty. They are then challenged to use their knowledge to design the best bouncing ball possible from the simple materials available to them.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Building Polymer Cup Speakers

Abstract: Students will establish criteria by which to test their speakers. Students will construct and test their speaker. The students will compare speakers and test variable components of a speaker.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences


Can You See the Light?

Abstract: Students will learn through design and implementation of their own experiments about the transmission of light energy. Vocabulary terms such as transparent, translucent, and opaque are introduced and explored through hands-on exploration.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Check Out Lights and Shields with Beads

Abstract: Students explore Ultraviolet (UV) detecting beads, conduct several investigations with them to find sources of UV radiation, and find materials that block U V radiation. Eventually students will realize that over-exposure to UV radiation is harmful to their eyes and skin.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences


Classification of Matter

Abstract: This activity involves the students in an inquiry into classifying various materials.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Classifying Solids: Matter

Abstract: Students make observations of solids and classify the items into groups based on their properties. Students are introduced to the three states of matter.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences


Cling On's

Abstract: Through design and implementation of their own experiments, students will learn about static electricity and its relationship with various materials. Additionally, students will learn the conditions in which static electricity is produced and how it can be reduced.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Condiment Diver: The World's Simplest Cartesian Diver

Abstract: This activity uses a condiment packet to teach students how fish use their swim bladders to rise and descend in the water. The students will also learn about density, buoyancy, and sinking and floating.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Cups Under Pressure

Abstract: Students will observe how a Styrofoam cup shrinks under pressure in a cooker.

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Describing the Motion of a Battery Powered Car

Abstract: Students use the variables of time and distance traveled to observe the characteristics of a distance vs time graphs for the motion of a battery powered car operating with one battery then again with two batteries. This allows students to explore how the number of batteries used to power the car affects the characteristics of distance vs time graphs. Students then use the time and distance data collected for the motion of the cars in the two trials to calculate the average speed of the car in each case. The average speeds will then be compared to the slopes of the respective distance vs. time graphs.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Determining the Coefficient of Friction for Various Tires on a Ramp

Abstract: Students will determine the coefficient of kinetic and static friction for various tires such as tractor, truck, bike, high performance, tourism. They will then have to apply this knowledge to solve a practical problem.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Determining the Density of Water

Abstract: Students will determine the density of one drop of water using experimental laboratory methods and graphing techniques, and then independently find the density of another liquid such as cooking oil. This lesson can be teacher directed or conducted as an open investigation.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Diaper Challenge

Abstract: Students will compare the absorbency of regular disposable diapers with Swimmers in fresh water and salt water.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences


Downhill Racer

Abstract: Students investigate the motion of a car traveling on an inclined plane and along a flat surface. Students observe the pattern of drops left by the moving car. The changing distances between the successive drops indicate that the car was not traveling at a constant speed. From the drops, students will be able to collect data and graph both the velocity and acceleration of the car.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Egg Walk Challenge

Abstract: Students will design a pair of shoes using plastics that will enable them to walk on eggs without breaking them.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technoogy, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Electromagnetic Energy and Its Spectrum

Abstract: As a result of hands-on exploration and inquiry, students will learn about electromagnetic radiation and the electromagnetic spectrum. Students will create waves to understand the relationship between energy and wavelength. Students will design and implement an experiment to reduce UV exposure to an object.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Exploring the Physical and Chemical Properties of Polymers

Abstract: This activity involves the students in an inquiry based examination of the physical and chemical properties of polymers.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Float Your Boat

Abstract: Through design and implementation of their own experiments about Archimedes' Principle, students will learn the effects of the force of buoyancy, and the role density plays in the sinking and float of objects.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


The Great Rube Goldberg Polymer Machine

Abstract: Using the Rube Goldberg over-engineered method of design, students will find and utilize only polymers to construct a machine that will move a Polymer object (ball, car, etc) from point A to point B. They must incorporate a Shape-Memory Polymer and at least one example from each category of polymers found in the recycle codes for plastic #1 - #7. The object must change directions at least three times during the trip. This entire lesson allows teachers to meet science content standards and introduce polymers and other science concepts using Best Teaching Practices, Hands-on/Minds-on Learning and Authentic Problem-based Learning.

Grades: 6-8, 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Heat Loss and Gain

Abstract: Students will measure both qualitatively and quantitatively the heat of physical changes and a chemical reaction.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Hold On Tight!

Abstract: In this lesson, students will test the strength of different sticky tapes, such as duct tape, cellophane tape, medical bandage tape, and painters' tape, by performing tests in which they will take measurements, record data, and report their findings. They will explain how the usefulness of a manufactured product depends on its function for a particular purpose. Content information includes a discussion of types of adhesives and the mechanisms by which they work.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Hydrate Me!

Abstract: In this lesson students will be learning about hydrogels and their importance in wound healing. Students will be completing a lab activity using a hydrogel to determine how well it can hold water.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Hydrogels Make Happy Plants

Abstract: This is a series of activities that allow the students the opportunity to investigate hydrogels. These polymers have the ability to absorb (swell) and release water under certain conditions. First the students will read about hydrogels (Hydrogel: Preparation, characterization, and applications: A review) and develop a working knowledge of the materials. Then, they will go on a Hydrogel Scavenger hunt allowing the teacher the ability to assess their understanding AND demonstrating to the students how prevalent and important these materials are in the world. Then the students will be involved in an investigation where they study different soils with regard to their water retention abilities. This study will include soil that has hydrogel beads mixed in. The addition of the hydrogel beads allows more water to be retained creating a more steady water supply and will then require less watering. Finally, the students will create different formulations of hydrogels using Sodium Alginate. During this part of the investigation, they will first examine bead production in different salts (Lithium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride and they will have already tested Calcium Chloride.) The groups will then select a particular salt and will create the "best" hydrogel beads to be added to their "New and Improved "soil. In this part of the investigation, the students will vary concentrations of the selected salt and determine which bead would have the highest water retention ability and therefore would work most effectively in potting soil.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Impulse: An Investigation of Impulse/Change in Momentum

Abstract: This Lesson is based upon the Impulse/ Change in Momentum Theorem. This inquiry lesson will allow students to explore the Impulse/ Change in Momentum Theorem using a force plate sensor and energy dampening materials to distribute the force of a falling mass over time. An acrylic cylindrical tube will be utilized as a container for each chosen material. A mass that fits the tube well will be dropped from a particular height. The force plate will register the force peak from the drop and the change in time in which this force was imparted. Students will be able to quantify Force and Change in time data as the materials are changed in order to record them in a data table for analysis. Each material will be given a specific cost. This is to ensure that students remember that in engineering ideas are meant to be scaled up and cost effective so they do not go overboard out of the gate. Through this Inquiry, students will learn the necessary content as well as working "like and engineer".

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Industrial Processes of Polymers: How Toys are Made

Abstract: Students explore the ties between science and technology as they simulate the plastic manufacturing processes of extrusion, injection molding and blow molding. Interest is stimulated, and questions are initiated, as students examine a variety of simple plastic toys. Students try to find traits that would lead them to suggest a process by which a given toy was made. Next, students form "manufacturing companies" and actually extrude a product using a common toy - the Play-Doh Fun Factory®. Students also make an injection molded product using a hot glue gun, and a blow molded product using plastic tubing and a simple mold. Finally, students review their original set of toys and classify them as injected, extruded, or blow molded.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Introduction to Lasers and Optics

Abstract: In this lesson, students will construct a small scale laser table and reflect a laser beam around an object. Students will be exposed to some of the key components of real life laser systems and learn how to control light propagation (control how the light travels around the laser table).

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Jungle Gym Drop

Abstract: Through several trials of dropping objects from various levels of a jungle-gym, students will be able to find out more about gravity, forces, and motion.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Making Bouncing Balls

Abstract: Children have the opportunity to use different materials to make balls. They design and build balls and explore how their balls roll, bounce, and fall. They also take apart old balls to see how they are made and use these ideas in making more balls.

Grades: K-2

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Magnetic Discovery Bottle

Abstract: This lesson uses a "Magnetic Discovery Bottle" to teach students: how to conduct a simple investigation; to use simple equipment to gather data; to use data to arrive at a reasonable explanation; to communicate the investigations and explanations; to describe the properties of magnets; to explain why some materials are magnetic and some are not.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Miracle Fish

Abstract: This lesson plan leads students through the process of designing an experiment. First, students are given a miracle fish and asked to make observations. Then, through a series of steps, they develop procedures to investigate the behavior of the fish and determine the most likely cause of the curling of the fish when it is placed in the palm of the hand. After discussing the components of an experiment, students are led through a second exploration, involving polymer spikes, where they practice and build on what they have learned by forming questions, identifying variables, making observations, collecting data, completing graphs, and drawing conclusions.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Mystery Powders

Abstract: Students will observe physical changes by adding water to eight different polymer powders. They will record physical properties before and after adding the water. Students will analyze their observations to identify the powders. They discover polymers are more than just plastic.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


The Nanofiber Chocolate Factory: An Analogy

Abstract: A nanometer is one billionth (1 x 10-9) of a meter which can be about 3 to 5 atoms in width. Electrospun nanofibers produced from polymer solutions are being used in unique ways by scientists. Nanotechnology allows the manipulation of matter, atom by atom at the "nanoscale." Properties of these materials are amplified due to the fact that many fibers can fit into a very small space. Scientists have found many unique ways to use such fibers from producing new materials capable of blocking moisture, removing of toxins from both water and air, delivering medicines to a specific region in or on the body, and tissue scaffolding. The possibilities are endless as scientists and inventors produce new products formed from these extremely small fibers.

In this investigation students will determine the advantages of going “small” by comparing the amount of chocolate syrup coating on a large diameter pretzel to that of an equal volume of smaller pretzels coated with chocolate. Students will learn what happens to the surface area as the diameter gets smaller and smaller. Students will determine what advantages exist in making the size (diameter) of a pretzel smaller. Students will make the comparison by massing a cup of chocolate syrup before and after dipping the pretzel(s). Students will use their data to support their conclusions. The lesson contains a PowerPoint review of the metric system with pictures to help students visualize large and small number lengths. Using a second PowerPoint set of slides in the elaboration, the teacher can relate the activity to the new field of nanotechnology and discuss with students why it is advantageous for newly developed materials to be so small. This often has to do with the large surface area available on nanosized particles and fibers.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology


Nanofibers: Why Go Small?

Abstract: A nanometer is one billionth (1 x 10-9) of a meter which can be about 3 to 5 atoms in width. Electrospun nanofibers produced from polymer solutions are being used in unique ways by scientists. Nanotechnology allows the manipulation of matter, atom by atom at the "nanoscale." Properties of these materials are amplified due to the fact that many fibers can fit into a very small space. Scientists have found many unique ways to use such fibers from producing new materials capable of blocking moisture, removing of toxins from both water and air, delivering medicines to a specific region in or on the body, and tissue scaffolding. The possibilities are endless as scientists and inventors produce new products formed from these extremely small fibers.

In this investigation students will determine the advantages of going “small” by comparing the amount of chocolate syrup coating on a large diameter pretzel to that of an equal volume of smaller pretzels coated with chocolate. Students will learn what happens to the surface area as the diameter gets smaller and smaller. Students will determine what advantages exist in making the size (diameter) of a pretzel smaller. Students will make the comparison by massing a cup of chocolate syrup before and after dipping the pretzel(s). Students will use their data, graphs and mathematical equations to support their conclusions. The lesson contains a Powerpoint review of the metric system with pictures to help students visualize large and small number lengths. Using a second Powerpoint set of slides in the elaboration, the teacher can relate the activity to the new field of nanotechnology and discuss with students why it is advantageous for newly developed materials to be so small. This often has to do with the large surface area available on nanosized particles and fibers.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Naturally Hydrophobic

Abstract: In nature, hydrophobic systems occur all around us. One such natural phenomenon is the hydrophobicity exhibited in roses and their petals. Another is the hydrophobicity of lotus leaves. The naturally non-wetting surface has micro-scale surface layer properties which create a relative high contact angle when contacted with water. Using contact angle measurements, students will investigate different commercial hydrophobic coatings. Students knowledge of surface chemistry and effective use of skills related to observations, measurement, data analysis and critical thinking will be used to design a multi-tiered experimental design. Students will utilize process to make accurate decisions supporting or disproving manufacture claims of product effectiveness.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


One Plus One Makes New

Abstract: Through the introduction of a historical event, students will learn about the properties of matter and how properties can change when composite materials are produced. Through initial guided experimentation, students will be able to apply the knowledge learned and design and implement their own experiments.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Physical Properties of Bouncing Balls

Abstract: Students create bouncing balls of various shapes and determine the differences in the height that the various balls bounce.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Physics on the Playground

Abstract: Students are challenged to ask the question, "What materials will allow me to slide the fastest down the slide?" Allow students to make a prediction and plan a procedure to fairly test the question with polymers.

Grades: K-2

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences


Plastic Surface Competition

Abstract: The students will investigate the effect of various treatments on the adhesion of water to common plastic surfaces. The students will compete to make a plastic piece with one side able to retain the most water as possible and the other side as little water as possible. This lesson can be an introduction or review of the six recycled numbered plastics as well as the study of Polymer Engineering and surface science.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Plink Plank Plunk

Abstract: Students will design musical instruments from provided materials to understand the following properties of sound: frequency and pitch.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Polymer Pie

Abstract: Students should investigate which starches will create the "best" pie. They will first brainstorm what qualities they would like to have in a custard-type pie, they investigate the properties of different commercially available starches like corn and potato in order to develop a recipe for making a "pie filling" sample that exhibits the desired properties. Students can then further investigate how the human body digests the different components of the starch (amylose and amylopectin).

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Polymer Rockets

Abstract: Students will design, create and test a polymer rocket.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing


The Polymer Schoolhouse

Abstract: Each cooperative group will construct a shoe box diorama of a particular room of their school. This would include rooms such as classrooms, playground, cafeteria, gymnasium, principal's office, art/music rooms, etc.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Polymerization of Nylon

Abstract: In this lesson, students will combine two monomers to make nylon 6,6, which is a polymer.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences


Polymers, Where are You?

Abstract: Teacher will introduce the concept, "what is a polymer?" using video clips from the AGPA website (grades 5-8). Students will make a collection of common objects made of polymeric materials and formulate their own questions as to the make-up of these objects.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences


Properties of Spider Web Adhesion

Abstract: Students explore how spiders create their webs and the properties of the webs to catch food. This includes exploring the viscosity and velocity of the solution to see how they impact the drop size of the "glue" on the silk.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Rethink Those Polymer Six Pack Rings

Abstract: Students will bury organic and man-made materials, some of which are polymers, to see if they decompose. They will observe the materials and record their results. After seeing that the polymer of the six-pack rings does not disintegrate at all after being buried, they will learn that these can photo degrade. They will then design and perform an experiment to photo degrade the six-pack rings and record their results.

Grades: K-2

Subject: Life Sciences, Earth and Space Sciences, Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Simple Machines: Catapults

Abstract: Working in groups, students will be given materials to build and test a catapult. Then, the groups will exchange catapults so the students can improve on another group's design for accuracy and distance.

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology


Sink/Float Discovery Bottle

Abstract: This lesson uses a "Sink/Float Discovery Bottle" to teach students how to conduct a simple investigation, use simple equipment to make observations, use observations to arrive at a reasonable explanation, and to communicate their findings and explanations. This lesson will also teach students about the properties of objects that sink and float.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Smelly Synthesis

Abstract: Students will view the nylon rope demonstration to be introduced to polymer synthesis. They will then perform an inquiry investigation of organic synthesis by mixing various carboxylic acids with alcohols to create esters. Depending on the mixture between the acids and alcohols, different smells will be produced. The class will then come together and discuss the purpose of the lab and the results obtained.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


The Stress of Being a Recycled Bag

Abstract: Students will test the tensile strength of a shopping bag and discover that the polyethylene film has a higher tensile strength when pulled parallel with the extrusion lines then when pulled perpendicular to the extrusion lines. The students then apply what they learn to design an experiment to compare the strength a shopping bag made from recycled polyethylene to one that contains no recycled material. This lesson can be done with common inexpensive materials which may be collected from the home. Teacher Notes attached.

Grades: 6-8, 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Stretch your Students' Imaginations

Abstract: Students will explore the properties of polymers using a poly putty made from glue and borax. Physical and chemical changes, conservation of energy, and kinetic friction will be explained. An extension of the lesson allows the students a fun opportunity to enter a national contest: the AGPA's annual Rubber Band Contest for Young Inventors. This contest challenges students to design and create a working invention/artwork that incorporates at least one rubber band. The entire lesson allows teachers to meet science content standards and introduce polymers and science concepts using the Best Teaching Practices HandsOn/Minds-On Learning and Authentic Problem-Based Learning.

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Study the Fizz

Abstract: This inquiry activity uses an everyday item, soda, to help the students learn the concepts of solute and solvent and to review the components of a good experiment. The students will discuss and determine manipulated and responding variables and will write a hypothesis and procedure for part of the lesson. Throughout this lesson, the best teaching practices of inquiry approaches, hands-on/minds-on learning, and applications to the real world will be emphasized.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences


What Happens to the Heat?

Abstract: Students will initially visualize the concepts of conduction and insulation through a discrepant event demonstration where materials are heated at high temperatures to show that certain materials will heat up more quickly than others. Afterwards, students will investigate these same concepts using round washers made of different materials to quantify energy transfer through temperature changes. Students will then participate in an interactive activity to define random motion, absolute zero, heat conduction, heat conductor, thermal equilibrium, closed systems, thermal radiation, and photons as well as develop a strong understanding of thermal energy transfer through conduction and radiation. Finally, students will design and create a device to reduce or increase thermal conduction and measure temperature change between real objects as a culminating activity.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


What is a Polymer?

Abstract: Students will explore polymers in the everyday world. They will use their senses (except taste) to make observations and investigate the properties of polymers.

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Will it Stretch?

Abstract: Students will receive unexpected results when a rubber band is heated and cooled. From this activity they will learn about one of the unique physical properties of the polymer, rubber.

In this lesson, students will explore various aspects of their world using a Geographic Information System in order to make decisions.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


You are What You Eat!

Abstract: Through hands-on activities and inquiry, students will construct a simple calorimeter. Through experimentation and simple calculation, students will determine the number of calories in a sample of food. Through the use of the Internet, students will plan a meal and calculate the number of calories the meal contains. From that calorie count, they will devise an exercise program to "burn off" the calories consumed.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Young's Modulus: An Investigation of Stress Versus Strain Using PDMS Polymer

Abstract: This Lesson is based upon Young's Elastic Modulus. Young's Elastic Modulus (E) closely relates itself to the spring constant (K) used in traditional classroom physics when teaching Hooke's Law. This is outlined in detail in the power point for further information. Through this construction, this lesson can bridge the gap between the engineering scope and traditional physics concepts taught in the classroom. By using a silicone base polymer, we will investigate young's elastic modulus by changing the chemical composition. This polymer used comes from the Sylgard company. This comes as a mix and pour kit of silicone polymer with a cross linking agent (Sylgard 184).

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Ziplock Chemistry

Abstract: Three substances are mixed in a sealed plastic bag. A reaction occurs that causes the bag to get warm and expand while the color of the contents of the bag changes.

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry



SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY


Adhesives: How Sticky is Your Tape? - Man-made Products

Abstract: In this lesson, students will test the shear strength of different sticky tapes by performing tests in which they will take measurements, record data, and report their findings. They will explain how the usefulness of a manufactured product depends on its function for a particular purpose. Students will learn about how scientists and engineers look to nature to invent products that are useful in our lives.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Adhesives: Measuring Stickiness - Natural Products

Abstract: Students will make a simple device to test the stickiness (adhesion) of household "glues" to determine strength or weakness of the substance to stick two surfaces together. This experience leads to a discussion of adhesion, adhesives (glues), product testing, and applications to daily life. Optional suggestions for Internet research on adhesives are provided.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Build a Better Bouncer

Abstract: Students discover the effect of placing additives in a glue-based putty to alter the physical properties of the putty. They are then challenged to use their knowledge to design the best bouncing ball possible from the simple materials available to them.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Color Your World

Abstract: In this lesson students solve a problem about painting the walls of a room. Dimensions of the problem include calculating the surface area to be painted, the cost of the paint and labor, and the amount of time expended. After students report their solutions, a new technology is introduced that would both save time and money. Besides this home decor example, other examples of this amazing advance in polymer films can be discussed after viewing a short video clip of Dr. Miko Cakmak, Professor of Polymer Engineering at The University of Akron.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Science and Technology


Consider Your Options

Abstract: Students will watch another student make a lunch to take to school. The students will make a list of all the plastic items used to make the lunch. Discussion will follow about the items used to make a complete list. Other students will make the same lunch without using plastic items.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Cross that Bridge!

Abstract: This hands-on inquiry activity sets up a problem for students (design a bridge) and gives them specific constraints (type of materials, amount of materials, length of bridge, etc.) under which to work. The participants will work in groups to brainstorm and test multiple bridge designs. Throughout this lesson, the best teaching practices of inquiry approaches, hands-on/minds-on learning, and applications to the real world, will be emphasized.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Determining the Coefficient of Friction for Various Tires on a Ramp

Abstract: Students will determine the coefficient of kinetic and static friction for various tires such as tractor, truck, bike, high performance, tourism. They will then have to apply this knowledge to solve a practical problem.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Diaper Dilemma

Abstract: Students will learn what a polymer is and some uses of polymer materials in science. The student will research the polymer sodium polyacrylate. The student will then use inquiry and design a series of tests with given materials to see which brand of diaper will be best for the city hospital to use. Students will have to interpret their results and data to formulate this plan. They will write their results in a letter and will present their results to the class.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


The Dirt on Soil

Abstract: Through hands-on exploration, students will learn about three basic soil types and some of their physical properties. Concepts of porosity and permeability will be developed through experimentation. Students will design and implement a model of a water treatment plant.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Egg Walk Challenge

Abstract: Students will design a pair of shoes using plastics that will enable them to walk on eggs without breaking them.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technoogy, Scientific Ways of Knowing


The Great Rube Goldberg Polymer Machine

Abstract: Using the Rube Goldberg over-engineered method of design, students will find and utilize only polymers to construct a machine that will move a Polymer object (ball, car, etc) from point A to point B. They must incorporate a Shape-Memory Polymer and at least one example from each category of polymers found in the recycle codes for plastic #1 - #7. The object must change directions at least three times during the trip. This entire lesson allows teachers to meet science content standards and introduce polymers and other science concepts using Best Teaching Practices, Hands-on/Minds-on Learning and Authentic Problem-based Learning.

Grades: 6-8, 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Hold On Tight!

Abstract: In this lesson, students will test the strength of different sticky tapes, such as duct tape, cellophane tape, medical bandage tape, and painters' tape, by performing tests in which they will take measurements, record data, and report their findings. They will explain how the usefulness of a manufactured product depends on its function for a particular purpose. Content information includes a discussion of types of adhesives and the mechanisms by which they work.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


How are Polymers Utilized in Everyday Life?

Abstract: Students will choose one of the ten areas of polymer science from the Macrogalleria web site. They will use the Macrogalleria web site to gather information to put into a graphic organizer. From the information on their graphic organizer the students will construct a Power Point presentation to report their findings to the class.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Science and Technology


How Shocking!

Abstract: Students will be challenged to build a shock absorbing structure using different polymeric materials or rubber that would best protect a gelatin "head" during an impact.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Hydrate Me!

Abstract: In this lesson students will be learning about hydrogels and their importance in wound healing. Students will be completing a lab activity using a hydrogel to determine how well it can hold water.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Hydrogels Make Happy Plants

Abstract: This is a series of activities that allow the students the opportunity to investigate hydrogels. These polymers have the ability to absorb (swell) and release water under certain conditions. First the students will read about hydrogels (Hydrogel: Preparation, characterization, and applications: A review) and develop a working knowledge of the materials. Then, they will go on a Hydrogel Scavenger hunt allowing the teacher the ability to assess their understanding AND demonstrating to the students how prevalent and important these materials are in the world. Then the students will be involved in an investigation where they study different soils with regard to their water retention abilities. This study will include soil that has hydrogel beads mixed in. The addition of the hydrogel beads allows more water to be retained creating a more steady water supply and will then require less watering. Finally, the students will create different formulations of hydrogels using Sodium Alginate. During this part of the investigation, they will first examine bead production in different salts (Lithium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride and they will have already tested Calcium Chloride.) The groups will then select a particular salt and will create the "best" hydrogel beads to be added to their "New and Improved "soil. In this part of the investigation, the students will vary concentrations of the selected salt and determine which bead would have the highest water retention ability and therefore would work most effectively in potting soil.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Impulse: An Investigation of Impulse/Change in Momentum

Abstract: This Lesson is based upon the Impulse/ Change in Momentum Theorem. This inquiry lesson will allow students to explore the Impulse/ Change in Momentum Theorem using a force plate sensor and energy dampening materials to distribute the force of a falling mass over time. An acrylic cylindrical tube will be utilized as a container for each chosen material. A mass that fits the tube well will be dropped from a particular height. The force plate will register the force peak from the drop and the change in time in which this force was imparted. Students will be able to quantify Force and Change in time data as the materials are changed in order to record them in a data table for analysis. Each material will be given a specific cost. This is to ensure that students remember that in engineering ideas are meant to be scaled up and cost effective so they do not go overboard out of the gate. Through this Inquiry, students will learn the necessary content as well as working "like and engineer".

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Industrial Processes of Polymers: How Toys are Made

Abstract: Students explore the ties between science and technology as they simulate the plastic manufacturing processes of extrusion, injection molding and blow molding. Interest is stimulated, and questions are initiated, as students examine a variety of simple plastic toys. Students try to find traits that would lead them to suggest a process by which a given toy was made. Next, students form "manufacturing companies" and actually extrude a product using a common toy - the Play-Doh Fun Factory®. Students also make an injection molded product using a hot glue gun, and a blow molded product using plastic tubing and a simple mold. Finally, students review their original set of toys and classify them as injected, extruded, or blow molded.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


The Nanofiber Chocolate Factory: An Analogy

Abstract: A nanometer is one billionth (1 x 10-9) of a meter which can be about 3 to 5 atoms in width. Electrospun nanofibers produced from polymer solutions are being used in unique ways by scientists. Nanotechnology allows the manipulation of matter, atom by atom at the "nanoscale." Properties of these materials are amplified due to the fact that many fibers can fit into a very small space. Scientists have found many unique ways to use such fibers from producing new materials capable of blocking moisture, removing of toxins from both water and air, delivering medicines to a specific region in or on the body, and tissue scaffolding. The possibilities are endless as scientists and inventors produce new products formed from these extremely small fibers.

In this investigation students will determine the advantages of going “small” by comparing the amount of chocolate syrup coating on a large diameter pretzel to that of an equal volume of smaller pretzels coated with chocolate. Students will learn what happens to the surface area as the diameter gets smaller and smaller. Students will determine what advantages exist in making the size (diameter) of a pretzel smaller. Students will make the comparison by massing a cup of chocolate syrup before and after dipping the pretzel(s). Students will use their data to support their conclusions. The lesson contains a PowerPoint review of the metric system with pictures to help students visualize large and small number lengths. Using a second PowerPoint set of slides in the elaboration, the teacher can relate the activity to the new field of nanotechnology and discuss with students why it is advantageous for newly developed materials to be so small. This often has to do with the large surface area available on nanosized particles and fibers.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology


Naturally Hydrophobic

Abstract: In nature, hydrophobic systems occur all around us. One such natural phenomenon is the hydrophobicity exhibited in roses and their petals. Another is the hydrophobicity of lotus leaves. The naturally non-wetting surface has micro-scale surface layer properties which create a relative high contact angle when contacted with water. Using contact angle measurements, students will investigate different commercial hydrophobic coatings. Students knowledge of surface chemistry and effective use of skills related to observations, measurement, data analysis and critical thinking will be used to design a multi-tiered experimental design. Students will utilize process to make accurate decisions supporting or disproving manufacture claims of product effectiveness.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Plastic Surface Competition

Abstract: The students will investigate the effect of various treatments on the adhesion of water to common plastic surfaces. The students will compete to make a plastic piece with one side able to retain the most water as possible and the other side as little water as possible. This lesson can be an introduction or review of the six recycled numbered plastics as well as the study of Polymer Engineering and surface science.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Plastics and Rubber: What's the Difference?

Abstract: In this lesson students use observation skills to classify 10-15 common household items into two groups based upon their physical properties. The items are actually all examples of rubber or plastics.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Simple Machines: Catapults

Abstract: Working in groups, students will be given materials to build and test a catapult. Then, the groups will exchange catapults so the students can improve on another group's design for accuracy and distance.

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology


Smelly Synthesis

Abstract: Students will view the nylon rope demonstration to be introduced to polymer synthesis. They will then perform an inquiry investigation of organic synthesis by mixing various carboxylic acids with alcohols to create esters. Depending on the mixture between the acids and alcohols, different smells will be produced. The class will then come together and discuss the purpose of the lab and the results obtained.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


The Stress of Being a Recycled Bag

Abstract: Students will test the tensile strength of a shopping bag and discover that the polyethylene film has a higher tensile strength when pulled parallel with the extrusion lines then when pulled perpendicular to the extrusion lines. The students then apply what they learn to design an experiment to compare the strength a shopping bag made from recycled polyethylene to one that contains no recycled material. This lesson can be done with common inexpensive materials which may be collected from the home. Teacher Notes attached.

Grades: 6-8, 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Stretch your Students' Imaginations

Abstract: Students will explore the properties of polymers using a poly putty made from glue and borax. Physical and chemical changes, conservation of energy, and kinetic friction will be explained. An extension of the lesson allows the students a fun opportunity to enter a national contest: the AGPA's annual Rubber Band Contest for Young Inventors. This contest challenges students to design and create a working invention/artwork that incorporates at least one rubber band. The entire lesson allows teachers to meet science content standards and introduce polymers and science concepts using the Best Teaching Practices HandsOn/Minds-On Learning and Authentic Problem-Based Learning.

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


What Happens to the Heat?

Abstract: Students will initially visualize the concepts of conduction and insulation through a discrepant event demonstration where materials are heated at high temperatures to show that certain materials will heat up more quickly than others. Afterwards, students will investigate these same concepts using round washers made of different materials to quantify energy transfer through temperature changes. Students will then participate in an interactive activity to define random motion, absolute zero, heat conduction, heat conductor, thermal equilibrium, closed systems, thermal radiation, and photons as well as develop a strong understanding of thermal energy transfer through conduction and radiation. Finally, students will design and create a device to reduce or increase thermal conduction and measure temperature change between real objects as a culminating activity.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


What's in Crude Oil?

Abstract: Students will be divided into research teams. Each team will research how fractional distillation works, as well as describe one of the major products of fractional distillation. Students will then use distillation to separate 2 liquids. The concept of density will be used. (D=M/V).

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Where to Live?

Abstract: The use of computerized information is a growing part of everyday life. More and more people around the country and around the globe are plugging into geographic, social, economic, political, and environmental information to answer practical questions in their lives. The answers they find have relevance in their education, affect their business decisions, expand their understanding of the place they call home, and influence personal choices.

In this lesson, students will explore various aspects of their world using a Geographic Information System in order to make decisions.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Young's Modulus: An Investigation of Stress Versus Strain Using PDMS Polymer

Abstract: This Lesson is based upon Young's Elastic Modulus. Young's Elastic Modulus (E) closely relates itself to the spring constant (K) used in traditional classroom physics when teaching Hooke's Law. This is outlined in detail in the power point for further information. Through this construction, this lesson can bridge the gap between the engineering scope and traditional physics concepts taught in the classroom. By using a silicone base polymer, we will investigate young's elastic modulus by changing the chemical composition. This polymer used comes from the Sylgard company. This comes as a mix and pour kit of silicone polymer with a cross linking agent (Sylgard 184).

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry



SCIENTIFIC WAYS OF KNOWING


A Comparative Study of Lactase and Lactase Supplements

Abstract: Lactose intolerance is the number one known enzyme deficiency, with over 70% of the worlds (adult) population affected. According to the Encyclopedia of Children's Health (http://www.healthofchildren.com/C/Carbohydrate-Intolerance.html) there are 30 to 50 million Americans who suffer from Lactose Intolerance. In this lesson, students will conduct a comparative study to examine the effectiveness of Lactase supplements versus pure Lactase? The lesson is presented as an inquiry lesson, but the attached worksheet provides guided instructions.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


A Test of Adhesive Strength

Abstract: Students investigate the variables that may impact the peel force of different tapes/adhesives. This includes, factors such as the type of adhesive, peel force, angle, width of sample, and velocity of pull. Although all these may be tested some relationships are trivial for high school students depending on the level. So we will test angle, width, velocity and their relationship to the peel force.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Adhesives: How Sticky is Your Tape? - Man-made Products

Abstract: In this lesson, students will test the shear strength of different sticky tapes by performing tests in which they will take measurements, record data, and report their findings. They will explain how the usefulness of a manufactured product depends on its function for a particular purpose. Students will learn about how scientists and engineers look to nature to invent products that are useful in our lives.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Adhesives: Measuring Stickiness - Natural Products

Abstract: Students will make a simple device to test the stickiness (adhesion) of household "glues" to determine strength or weakness of the substance to stick two surfaces together. This experience leads to a discussion of adhesion, adhesives (glues), product testing, and applications to daily life. Optional suggestions for Internet research on adhesives are provided.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Build a Better Bouncer

Abstract: Students discover the effect of placing additives in a glue-based putty to alter the physical properties of the putty. They are then challenged to use their knowledge to design the best bouncing ball possible from the simple materials available to them.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Can You Get Enough Protein from Milk Alternatives?

Abstract: This guided inquiry lesson allows students to apply their knowledge of organic compounds (primarily proteins) to their everyday life. Biochemistry lessons on proteins and enzyme insufficiency often make students wonder how someone who is lactose intolerant can obtain essential proteins from milk alternatives. This lesson lets students explore whether or not milk alternatives have the same protein concentration as traditional milk.

Grades: 9-10

Subject: Life Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Consider Your Options

Abstract: Students will watch another student make a lunch to take to school. The students will make a list of all the plastic items used to make the lunch. Discussion will follow about the items used to make a complete list. Other students will make the same lunch without using plastic items.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Determining the Coefficient of Friction for Various Tires on a Ramp

Abstract: Students will determine the coefficient of kinetic and static friction for various tires such as tractor, truck, bike, high performance, tourism. They will then have to apply this knowledge to solve a practical problem.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Diaper Dilemma

Abstract: Students will learn what a polymer is and some uses of polymer materials in science. The student will research the polymer sodium polyacrylate. The student will then use inquiry and design a series of tests with given materials to see which brand of diaper will be best for the city hospital to use. Students will have to interpret their results and data to formulate this plan. They will write their results in a letter and will present their results to the class.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Drug Delivery with Polymer Based Nanoparticles

Abstract: Students will critique common drug delivery techniques and analyze ways that newer nanotechnology techniques could be more beneficial for drug delivery. The students will be responsible for investigating the properties needed for nanoparticles to be used in biological systems in order for cellular uptake to occur and for proper release of the entrapped drug to take place. Students will use prior knowledge of cellular transport and cellular structures to guide them in this inquiry. Once students construct parameters needed to potentially design the nanoparticles, and the teacher has steered them towards working with polymers, they will choose a variable they would like to test on model particles and hypothesize its effect on the particles release of the entrapped material. Students will create their model particles in the lab and then investigate the environmental variable on the particles by designing an experiment in the lab. Students can then draw conclusions on the effectiveness of their particles based on one parameter of their initial design.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Egg Walk Challenge

Abstract: Students will design a pair of shoes using plastics that will enable them to walk on eggs without breaking them.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technoogy, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Electromagnetic Energy and Its Spectrum

Abstract: As a result of hands-on exploration and inquiry, students will learn about electromagnetic radiation and the electromagnetic spectrum. Students will create waves to understand the relationship between energy and wavelength. Students will design and implement an experiment to reduce UV exposure to an object.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Exploring the Physical and Chemical Properties of Polymers

Abstract: This activity involves the students in an inquiry based examination of the physical and chemical properties of polymers.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Heat Loss and Gain

Abstract: Students will measure both qualitatively and quantitatively the heat of physical changes and a chemical reaction.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Hold On Tight!

Abstract: In this lesson, students will test the strength of different sticky tapes, such as duct tape, cellophane tape, medical bandage tape, and painters' tape, by performing tests in which they will take measurements, record data, and report their findings. They will explain how the usefulness of a manufactured product depends on its function for a particular purpose. Content information includes a discussion of types of adhesives and the mechanisms by which they work.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


How Creepy!

Abstract: Students will observe, measure, and graph a model of slow downslope movement. This task assesses students' abilities to collect, record, and organize data, set up graph axes, plot data points, draw line graphs, apply mathematics, infer based on observational data, predict based on a model, and apply models to other situations.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


How Shocking!

Abstract: Students will be challenged to build a shock absorbing structure using different polymeric materials or rubber that would best protect a gelatin "head" during an impact.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Hydrate Me!

Abstract: In this lesson students will be learning about hydrogels and their importance in wound healing. Students will be completing a lab activity using a hydrogel to determine how well it can hold water.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Hydrogels Make Happy Plants

Abstract: This is a series of activities that allow the students the opportunity to investigate hydrogels. These polymers have the ability to absorb (swell) and release water under certain conditions. First the students will read about hydrogels (Hydrogel: Preparation, characterization, and applications: A review) and develop a working knowledge of the materials. Then, they will go on a Hydrogel Scavenger hunt allowing the teacher the ability to assess their understanding AND demonstrating to the students how prevalent and important these materials are in the world. Then the students will be involved in an investigation where they study different soils with regard to their water retention abilities. This study will include soil that has hydrogel beads mixed in. The addition of the hydrogel beads allows more water to be retained creating a more steady water supply and will then require less watering. Finally, the students will create different formulations of hydrogels using Sodium Alginate. During this part of the investigation, they will first examine bead production in different salts (Lithium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride and they will have already tested Calcium Chloride.) The groups will then select a particular salt and will create the "best" hydrogel beads to be added to their "New and Improved "soil. In this part of the investigation, the students will vary concentrations of the selected salt and determine which bead would have the highest water retention ability and therefore would work most effectively in potting soil.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Impulse: An Investigation of Impulse/Change in Momentum

Abstract: This Lesson is based upon the Impulse/ Change in Momentum Theorem. This inquiry lesson will allow students to explore the Impulse/ Change in Momentum Theorem using a force plate sensor and energy dampening materials to distribute the force of a falling mass over time. An acrylic cylindrical tube will be utilized as a container for each chosen material. A mass that fits the tube well will be dropped from a particular height. The force plate will register the force peak from the drop and the change in time in which this force was imparted. Students will be able to quantify Force and Change in time data as the materials are changed in order to record them in a data table for analysis. Each material will be given a specific cost. This is to ensure that students remember that in engineering ideas are meant to be scaled up and cost effective so they do not go overboard out of the gate. Through this Inquiry, students will learn the necessary content as well as working "like and engineer".

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Industrial Processes of Polymers: How Toys are Made

Abstract: Students explore the ties between science and technology as they simulate the plastic manufacturing processes of extrusion, injection molding and blow molding. Interest is stimulated, and questions are initiated, as students examine a variety of simple plastic toys. Students try to find traits that would lead them to suggest a process by which a given toy was made. Next, students form "manufacturing companies" and actually extrude a product using a common toy - the Play-Doh Fun Factory®. Students also make an injection molded product using a hot glue gun, and a blow molded product using plastic tubing and a simple mold. Finally, students review their original set of toys and classify them as injected, extruded, or blow molded.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Jungle Gym Drop

Abstract: Through several trials of dropping objects from various levels of a jungle-gym, students will be able to find out more about gravity, forces, and motion.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Making Bouncing Balls

Abstract: Children have the opportunity to use different materials to make balls. They design and build balls and explore how their balls roll, bounce, and fall. They also take apart old balls to see how they are made and use these ideas in making more balls.

Grades: K-2

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Marbles and Momentum

Abstract: Using the game of marbles, students will explore how momentum is transferred from one object to another object in an elastic collision. Students will determine the properties that make a good shooter.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Scientific Ways of Knowing


Miracle Fish

Abstract: This lesson plan leads students through the process of designing an experiment. First, students are given a miracle fish and asked to make observations. Then, through a series of steps, they develop procedures to investigate the behavior of the fish and determine the most likely cause of the curling of the fish when it is placed in the palm of the hand. After discussing the components of an experiment, students are led through a second exploration, involving polymer spikes, where they practice and build on what they have learned by forming questions, identifying variables, making observations, collecting data, completing graphs, and drawing conclusions.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Mystery Powders

Abstract: Students will observe physical changes by adding water to eight different polymer powders. They will record physical properties before and after adding the water. Students will analyze their observations to identify the powders. They discover polymers are more than just plastic.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Nanofibers: Why Go Small?

Abstract: A nanometer is one billionth (1 x 10-9) of a meter which can be about 3 to 5 atoms in width. Electrospun nanofibers produced from polymer solutions are being used in unique ways by scientists. Nanotechnology allows the manipulation of matter, atom by atom at the "nanoscale." Properties of these materials are amplified due to the fact that many fibers can fit into a very small space. Scientists have found many unique ways to use such fibers from producing new materials capable of blocking moisture, removing of toxins from both water and air, delivering medicines to a specific region in or on the body, and tissue scaffolding. The possibilities are endless as scientists and inventors produce new products formed from these extremely small fibers.

In this investigation students will determine the advantages of going “small” by comparing the amount of chocolate syrup coating on a large diameter pretzel to that of an equal volume of smaller pretzels coated with chocolate. Students will learn what happens to the surface area as the diameter gets smaller and smaller. Students will determine what advantages exist in making the size (diameter) of a pretzel smaller. Students will make the comparison by massing a cup of chocolate syrup before and after dipping the pretzel(s). Students will use their data, graphs and mathematical equations to support their conclusions. The lesson contains a Powerpoint review of the metric system with pictures to help students visualize large and small number lengths. Using a second Powerpoint set of slides in the elaboration, the teacher can relate the activity to the new field of nanotechnology and discuss with students why it is advantageous for newly developed materials to be so small. This often has to do with the large surface area available on nanosized particles and fibers.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Naturally Hydrophobic

Abstract: In nature, hydrophobic systems occur all around us. One such natural phenomenon is the hydrophobicity exhibited in roses and their petals. Another is the hydrophobicity of lotus leaves. The naturally non-wetting surface has micro-scale surface layer properties which create a relative high contact angle when contacted with water. Using contact angle measurements, students will investigate different commercial hydrophobic coatings. Students knowledge of surface chemistry and effective use of skills related to observations, measurement, data analysis and critical thinking will be used to design a multi-tiered experimental design. Students will utilize process to make accurate decisions supporting or disproving manufacture claims of product effectiveness.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Plastic Surface Competition

Abstract: The students will investigate the effect of various treatments on the adhesion of water to common plastic surfaces. The students will compete to make a plastic piece with one side able to retain the most water as possible and the other side as little water as possible. This lesson can be an introduction or review of the six recycled numbered plastics as well as the study of Polymer Engineering and surface science.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Polymer Pie

Abstract: Students should investigate which starches will create the "best" pie. They will first brainstorm what qualities they would like to have in a custard-type pie, they investigate the properties of different commercially available starches like corn and potato in order to develop a recipe for making a "pie filling" sample that exhibits the desired properties. Students can then further investigate how the human body digests the different components of the starch (amylose and amylopectin).

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Polymer Rockets

Abstract: Students will design, create and test a polymer rocket.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing


The Polymer Schoolhouse

Abstract: Each cooperative group will construct a shoe box diorama of a particular room of their school. This would include rooms such as classrooms, playground, cafeteria, gymnasium, principal's office, art/music rooms, etc.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Properties of Spider Web Adhesion

Abstract: Students explore how spiders create their webs and the properties of the webs to catch food. This includes exploring the viscosity and velocity of the solution to see how they impact the drop size of the "glue" on the silk.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Rethink Those Polymer Six Pack Rings

Abstract: Students will bury organic and man-made materials, some of which are polymers, to see if they decompose. They will observe the materials and record their results. After seeing that the polymer of the six-pack rings does not disintegrate at all after being buried, they will learn that these can photo degrade. They will then design and perform an experiment to photo degrade the six-pack rings and record their results.

Grades: K-2

Subject: Life Sciences, Earth and Space Sciences, Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Smelly Synthesis

Abstract: Students will view the nylon rope demonstration to be introduced to polymer synthesis. They will then perform an inquiry investigation of organic synthesis by mixing various carboxylic acids with alcohols to create esters. Depending on the mixture between the acids and alcohols, different smells will be produced. The class will then come together and discuss the purpose of the lab and the results obtained.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Specific Gravity - The Relative Density of Liquids

Abstract: Students will learn, through the creation of their handmade hydrometer, how a hydrometer functions and what it measures. Using their hydrometer, they will determine the relative differences in specific gravity of liquids and compare these values to those obtained from a commercially manufactured hydrometer. Based on their findings, students will create their own liquid density column.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


The Stress of Being a Recycled Bag

Abstract: Students will test the tensile strength of a shopping bag and discover that the polyethylene film has a higher tensile strength when pulled parallel with the extrusion lines then when pulled perpendicular to the extrusion lines. The students then apply what they learn to design an experiment to compare the strength a shopping bag made from recycled polyethylene to one that contains no recycled material. This lesson can be done with common inexpensive materials which may be collected from the home. Teacher Notes attached.

Grades: 6-8, 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


What Happens to the Heat?

Abstract: Students will initially visualize the concepts of conduction and insulation through a discrepant event demonstration where materials are heated at high temperatures to show that certain materials will heat up more quickly than others. Afterwards, students will investigate these same concepts using round washers made of different materials to quantify energy transfer through temperature changes. Students will then participate in an interactive activity to define random motion, absolute zero, heat conduction, heat conductor, thermal equilibrium, closed systems, thermal radiation, and photons as well as develop a strong understanding of thermal energy transfer through conduction and radiation. Finally, students will design and create a device to reduce or increase thermal conduction and measure temperature change between real objects as a culminating activity.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


What's in Crude Oil?

Abstract: Students will be divided into research teams. Each team will research how fractional distillation works, as well as describe one of the major products of fractional distillation. Students will then use distillation to separate 2 liquids. The concept of density will be used. (D=M/V).

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing


Will it Stretch?

Abstract: Students will receive unexpected results when a rubber band is heated and cooled. From this activity they will learn about one of the unique physical properties of the polymer, rubber.

In this lesson, students will explore various aspects of their world using a Geographic Information System in order to make decisions.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


You are What You Eat!

Abstract: Through hands-on activities and inquiry, students will construct a simple calorimeter. Through experimentation and simple calculation, students will determine the number of calories in a sample of food. Through the use of the Internet, students will plan a meal and calculate the number of calories the meal contains. From that calorie count, they will devise an exercise program to "burn off" the calories consumed.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Young's Modulus: An Investigation of Stress Versus Strain Using PDMS Polymer

Abstract: This Lesson is based upon Young's Elastic Modulus. Young's Elastic Modulus (E) closely relates itself to the spring constant (K) used in traditional classroom physics when teaching Hooke's Law. This is outlined in detail in the power point for further information. Through this construction, this lesson can bridge the gap between the engineering scope and traditional physics concepts taught in the classroom. By using a silicone base polymer, we will investigate young's elastic modulus by changing the chemical composition. This polymer used comes from the Sylgard company. This comes as a mix and pour kit of silicone polymer with a cross linking agent (Sylgard 184).

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry



SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY


A Comparative Study of Lactase and Lactase Supplements

Abstract: Lactose intolerance is the number one known enzyme deficiency, with over 70% of the worlds (adult) population affected. According to the Encyclopedia of Children's Health (http://www.healthofchildren.com/C/Carbohydrate-Intolerance.html) there are 30 to 50 million Americans who suffer from Lactose Intolerance. In this lesson, students will conduct a comparative study to examine the effectiveness of Lactase supplements versus pure Lactase? The lesson is presented as an inquiry lesson, but the attached worksheet provides guided instructions.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


A Test of Adhesive Strength

Abstract: Students investigate the variables that may impact the peel force of different tapes/adhesives. This includes, factors such as the type of adhesive, peel force, angle, width of sample, and velocity of pull. Although all these may be tested some relationships are trivial for high school students depending on the level. So we will test angle, width, velocity and their relationship to the peel force.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Adhesives: How Sticky is Your Tape? - Man-made Products

Abstract: In this lesson, students will test the shear strength of different sticky tapes by performing tests in which they will take measurements, record data, and report their findings. They will explain how the usefulness of a manufactured product depends on its function for a particular purpose. Students will learn about how scientists and engineers look to nature to invent products that are useful in our lives.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Adhesives: Measuring Stickiness - Natural Products

Abstract: Students will make a simple device to test the stickiness (adhesion) of household "glues" to determine strength or weakness of the substance to stick two surfaces together. This experience leads to a discussion of adhesion, adhesives (glues), product testing, and applications to daily life. Optional suggestions for Internet research on adhesives are provided.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Balloon Ball Bounce

Abstract: In this activity, students will realize that different sports use balls with different amounts of rebound. Understanding this idea, the students will determine if the number of balloons in a balloon ball affect the rebound height. The students will then use the ball to discuss energy conversions.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


The Bending and Bouncing of Light

Abstract: Students will learn about the transfer of light energy as it interacts with matter. Key terms of refraction and reflection will be explored through hands-on inquiry. The science of the formation of rainbows will also explored.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Build a Better Bouncer

Abstract: Students discover the effect of placing additives in a glue-based putty to alter the physical properties of the putty. They are then challenged to use their knowledge to design the best bouncing ball possible from the simple materials available to them.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Can You Get Enough Protein from Milk Alternatives?

Abstract: This guided inquiry lesson allows students to apply their knowledge of organic compounds (primarily proteins) to their everyday life. Biochemistry lessons on proteins and enzyme insufficiency often make students wonder how someone who is lactose intolerant can obtain essential proteins from milk alternatives. This lesson lets students explore whether or not milk alternatives have the same protein concentration as traditional milk.

Grades: 9-10

Subject: Life Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Can You See the Light?

Abstract: Students will learn through design and implementation of their own experiments about the transmission of light energy. Vocabulary terms such as transparent, translucent, and opaque are introduced and explored through hands-on exploration.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Classification of Matter

Abstract: This activity involves the students in an inquiry into classifying various materials.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Cling On's

Abstract: Through design and implementation of their own experiments, students will learn about static electricity and its relationship with various materials. Additionally, students will learn the conditions in which static electricity is produced and how it can be reduced.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Condiment Diver: The World's Simplest Cartesian Diver

Abstract: This activity uses a condiment packet to teach students how fish use their swim bladders to rise and descend in the water. The students will also learn about density, buoyancy, and sinking and floating.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Counting Animal Populations

Abstract: Through hands-on investigation, students will learn about the method field scientists use to determine the population of a species for a specified study area. Through collaboration they will design and implement their own strategic method for counting the population of students in their school.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Life Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Creating Shape Memory Polymers

Abstract: Shape memory polymers are an emerging class of polymers that have the capability of changing into a different programmed shape and then back to its original shape. This shape change is usually caused by some outside stimulus like heat, light, magnetism or electricity. Because shape memory polymers can exist in different shapes, they have many potential uses such as self-tying sutures, medical implants and other high tech applications. In this activity, students will transform a homemade rubber band into a shape memory polymer using latex and lauric acid. Students will then be tasked with creating specific shapes with their shape memory polymer as well as creating new shapes of their own.

Grades: 7-12

Subject: Scientific Inquiry


Cross that Bridge!

Abstract: This hands-on inquiry activity sets up a problem for students (design a bridge) and gives them specific constraints (type of materials, amount of materials, length of bridge, etc.) under which to work. The participants will work in groups to brainstorm and test multiple bridge designs. Throughout this lesson, the best teaching practices of inquiry approaches, hands-on/minds-on learning, and applications to the real world, will be emphasized.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Cups Under Pressure

Abstract: Students will observe how a Styrofoam cup shrinks under pressure in a cooker.

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Describing the Motion of a Battery Powered Car

Abstract: Students use the variables of time and distance traveled to observe the characteristics of a distance vs time graphs for the motion of a battery powered car operating with one battery then again with two batteries. This allows students to explore how the number of batteries used to power the car affects the characteristics of distance vs time graphs. Students then use the time and distance data collected for the motion of the cars in the two trials to calculate the average speed of the car in each case. The average speeds will then be compared to the slopes of the respective distance vs. time graphs.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Determining the Coefficient of Friction for Various Tires on a Ramp

Abstract: Students will determine the coefficient of kinetic and static friction for various tires such as tractor, truck, bike, high performance, tourism. They will then have to apply this knowledge to solve a practical problem.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Determining the Density of Water

Abstract: Students will determine the density of one drop of water using experimental laboratory methods and graphing techniques, and then independently find the density of another liquid such as cooking oil. This lesson can be teacher directed or conducted as an open investigation.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Diaper Dilemma

Abstract: Students will learn what a polymer is and some uses of polymer materials in science. The student will research the polymer sodium polyacrylate. The student will then use inquiry and design a series of tests with given materials to see which brand of diaper will be best for the city hospital to use. Students will have to interpret their results and data to formulate this plan. They will write their results in a letter and will present their results to the class.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


The Dirt on Soil

Abstract: Through hands-on exploration, students will learn about three basic soil types and some of their physical properties. Concepts of porosity and permeability will be developed through experimentation. Students will design and implement a model of a water treatment plant.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Downhill Racer

Abstract: Students investigate the motion of a car traveling on an inclined plane and along a flat surface. Students observe the pattern of drops left by the moving car. The changing distances between the successive drops indicate that the car was not traveling at a constant speed. From the drops, students will be able to collect data and graph both the velocity and acceleration of the car.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Drug Delivery with Polymer Based Nanoparticles

Abstract: Students will critique common drug delivery techniques and analyze ways that newer nanotechnology techniques could be more beneficial for drug delivery. The students will be responsible for investigating the properties needed for nanoparticles to be used in biological systems in order for cellular uptake to occur and for proper release of the entrapped drug to take place. Students will use prior knowledge of cellular transport and cellular structures to guide them in this inquiry. Once students construct parameters needed to potentially design the nanoparticles, and the teacher has steered them towards working with polymers, they will choose a variable they would like to test on model particles and hypothesize its effect on the particles release of the entrapped material. Students will create their model particles in the lab and then investigate the environmental variable on the particles by designing an experiment in the lab. Students can then draw conclusions on the effectiveness of their particles based on one parameter of their initial design.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Electromagnetic Energy and Its Spectrum

Abstract: As a result of hands-on exploration and inquiry, students will learn about electromagnetic radiation and the electromagnetic spectrum. Students will create waves to understand the relationship between energy and wavelength. Students will design and implement an experiment to reduce UV exposure to an object.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Exploring Osmosis with Polymers

Abstract: In the first part of the lab activity, students will be making their own "gummies" similar to gummy worms and Boba fruit spheres using sodium alginate, a polymer found in green algae. The student will then make a connection to osmosis properties by soaking their polymers in distilled water, tap water and salt water, and collected data on mass change.

Grades: 10

Subject: Scientific Inquiry


Exploring the Physical and Chemical Properties of Polymers

Abstract: This activity involves the students in an inquiry based examination of the physical and chemical properties of polymers.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Fishing Line Tests

Abstract: This lab is to test the stretch and breaking points of various brands and strength of polymer fishing lines and to graph the data collected.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Scientific Inquiry


Float Your Boat

Abstract: Through design and implementation of their own experiments about Archimedes' Principle, students will learn the effects of the force of buoyancy, and the role density plays in the sinking and float of objects.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


The Great Rube Goldberg Polymer Machine

Abstract: Using the Rube Goldberg over-engineered method of design, students will find and utilize only polymers to construct a machine that will move a Polymer object (ball, car, etc) from point A to point B. They must incorporate a Shape-Memory Polymer and at least one example from each category of polymers found in the recycle codes for plastic #1 - #7. The object must change directions at least three times during the trip. This entire lesson allows teachers to meet science content standards and introduce polymers and other science concepts using Best Teaching Practices, Hands-on/Minds-on Learning and Authentic Problem-based Learning.

Grades: 6-8, 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Heat Loss and Gain

Abstract: Students will measure both qualitatively and quantitatively the heat of physical changes and a chemical reaction.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Hold On Tight!

Abstract: In this lesson, students will test the strength of different sticky tapes, such as duct tape, cellophane tape, medical bandage tape, and painters' tape, by performing tests in which they will take measurements, record data, and report their findings. They will explain how the usefulness of a manufactured product depends on its function for a particular purpose. Content information includes a discussion of types of adhesives and the mechanisms by which they work.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


How Creepy!

Abstract: Students will observe, measure, and graph a model of slow downslope movement. This task assesses students' abilities to collect, record, and organize data, set up graph axes, plot data points, draw line graphs, apply mathematics, infer based on observational data, predict based on a model, and apply models to other situations.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Earth and Space Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


How Shocking!

Abstract: Students will be challenged to build a shock absorbing structure using different polymeric materials or rubber that would best protect a gelatin "head" during an impact.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Hydrate Me!

Abstract: In this lesson students will be learning about hydrogels and their importance in wound healing. Students will be completing a lab activity using a hydrogel to determine how well it can hold water.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Hydrogels Make Happy Plants

Abstract: This is a series of activities that allow the students the opportunity to investigate hydrogels. These polymers have the ability to absorb (swell) and release water under certain conditions. First the students will read about hydrogels (Hydrogel: Preparation, characterization, and applications: A review) and develop a working knowledge of the materials. Then, they will go on a Hydrogel Scavenger hunt allowing the teacher the ability to assess their understanding AND demonstrating to the students how prevalent and important these materials are in the world. Then the students will be involved in an investigation where they study different soils with regard to their water retention abilities. This study will include soil that has hydrogel beads mixed in. The addition of the hydrogel beads allows more water to be retained creating a more steady water supply and will then require less watering. Finally, the students will create different formulations of hydrogels using Sodium Alginate. During this part of the investigation, they will first examine bead production in different salts (Lithium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride and they will have already tested Calcium Chloride.) The groups will then select a particular salt and will create the "best" hydrogel beads to be added to their "New and Improved "soil. In this part of the investigation, the students will vary concentrations of the selected salt and determine which bead would have the highest water retention ability and therefore would work most effectively in potting soil.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Impulse: An Investigation of Impulse/Change in Momentum

Abstract: This Lesson is based upon the Impulse/ Change in Momentum Theorem. This inquiry lesson will allow students to explore the Impulse/ Change in Momentum Theorem using a force plate sensor and energy dampening materials to distribute the force of a falling mass over time. An acrylic cylindrical tube will be utilized as a container for each chosen material. A mass that fits the tube well will be dropped from a particular height. The force plate will register the force peak from the drop and the change in time in which this force was imparted. Students will be able to quantify Force and Change in time data as the materials are changed in order to record them in a data table for analysis. Each material will be given a specific cost. This is to ensure that students remember that in engineering ideas are meant to be scaled up and cost effective so they do not go overboard out of the gate. Through this Inquiry, students will learn the necessary content as well as working "like and engineer".

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Industrial Processes of Polymers: How Toys are Made

Abstract: Students explore the ties between science and technology as they simulate the plastic manufacturing processes of extrusion, injection molding and blow molding. Interest is stimulated, and questions are initiated, as students examine a variety of simple plastic toys. Students try to find traits that would lead them to suggest a process by which a given toy was made. Next, students form "manufacturing companies" and actually extrude a product using a common toy - the Play-Doh Fun Factory®. Students also make an injection molded product using a hot glue gun, and a blow molded product using plastic tubing and a simple mold. Finally, students review their original set of toys and classify them as injected, extruded, or blow molded.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Introduction to Lasers and Optics

Abstract: In this lesson, students will construct a small scale laser table and reflect a laser beam around an object. Students will be exposed to some of the key components of real life laser systems and learn how to control light propagation (control how the light travels around the laser table).

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Magnetic Discovery Bottle

Abstract: This lesson uses a "Magnetic Discovery Bottle" to teach students: how to conduct a simple investigation; to use simple equipment to gather data; to use data to arrive at a reasonable explanation; to communicate the investigations and explanations; to describe the properties of magnets; to explain why some materials are magnetic and some are not.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Making a Model Lung

Abstract: In "The Model Lung" lesson students will construct a simple model of the human lung and use this model to identify the structure and function of the lung. In the lesson extension, students will model and research malfunctions to the respiratory system due to illness or disease.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Scientific Inquiry


Miracle Fish

Abstract: This lesson plan leads students through the process of designing an experiment. First, students are given a miracle fish and asked to make observations. Then, through a series of steps, they develop procedures to investigate the behavior of the fish and determine the most likely cause of the curling of the fish when it is placed in the palm of the hand. After discussing the components of an experiment, students are led through a second exploration, involving polymer spikes, where they practice and build on what they have learned by forming questions, identifying variables, making observations, collecting data, completing graphs, and drawing conclusions.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Mystery Powders

Abstract: Students will observe physical changes by adding water to eight different polymer powders. They will record physical properties before and after adding the water. Students will analyze their observations to identify the powders. They discover polymers are more than just plastic.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Nanofibers: Why Go Small?

Abstract: A nanometer is one billionth (1 x 10-9) of a meter which can be about 3 to 5 atoms in width. Electrospun nanofibers produced from polymer solutions are being used in unique ways by scientists. Nanotechnology allows the manipulation of matter, atom by atom at the "nanoscale." Properties of these materials are amplified due to the fact that many fibers can fit into a very small space. Scientists have found many unique ways to use such fibers from producing new materials capable of blocking moisture, removing of toxins from both water and air, delivering medicines to a specific region in or on the body, and tissue scaffolding. The possibilities are endless as scientists and inventors produce new products formed from these extremely small fibers.

In this investigation students will determine the advantages of going “small” by comparing the amount of chocolate syrup coating on a large diameter pretzel to that of an equal volume of smaller pretzels coated with chocolate. Students will learn what happens to the surface area as the diameter gets smaller and smaller. Students will determine what advantages exist in making the size (diameter) of a pretzel smaller. Students will make the comparison by massing a cup of chocolate syrup before and after dipping the pretzel(s). Students will use their data, graphs and mathematical equations to support their conclusions. The lesson contains a Powerpoint review of the metric system with pictures to help students visualize large and small number lengths. Using a second Powerpoint set of slides in the elaboration, the teacher can relate the activity to the new field of nanotechnology and discuss with students why it is advantageous for newly developed materials to be so small. This often has to do with the large surface area available on nanosized particles and fibers.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Naturally Hydrophobic

Abstract: In nature, hydrophobic systems occur all around us. One such natural phenomenon is the hydrophobicity exhibited in roses and their petals. Another is the hydrophobicity of lotus leaves. The naturally non-wetting surface has micro-scale surface layer properties which create a relative high contact angle when contacted with water. Using contact angle measurements, students will investigate different commercial hydrophobic coatings. Students knowledge of surface chemistry and effective use of skills related to observations, measurement, data analysis and critical thinking will be used to design a multi-tiered experimental design. Students will utilize process to make accurate decisions supporting or disproving manufacture claims of product effectiveness.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Observations and Inferences

Abstract: Students will learn to distinguish observations from inferences. Students observe what they think is a burning candle and list all their observations. In reality they are observing a cylinder of apple or potato with a burning nut on the end. When all the students' observations are listed, a discussion is lead to separate actual observations from inferences students have made. Next students observe the appearance and behavior of two balls which are similar in appearance but very different in composition. Observations and inferences are made relating to the two balls.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Scientific Inquiry


One Plus One Makes New

Abstract: Through the introduction of a historical event, students will learn about the properties of matter and how properties can change when composite materials are produced. Through initial guided experimentation, students will be able to apply the knowledge learned and design and implement their own experiments.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Physical Properties of Bouncing Balls

Abstract: Students create bouncing balls of various shapes and determine the differences in the height that the various balls bounce.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Plastic Surface Competition

Abstract: The students will investigate the effect of various treatments on the adhesion of water to common plastic surfaces. The students will compete to make a plastic piece with one side able to retain the most water as possible and the other side as little water as possible. This lesson can be an introduction or review of the six recycled numbered plastics as well as the study of Polymer Engineering and surface science.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Plastics and Rubber: What's the Difference?

Abstract: In this lesson students use observation skills to classify 10-15 common household items into two groups based upon their physical properties. The items are actually all examples of rubber or plastics.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Plink Plank Plunk

Abstract: Students will design musical instruments from provided materials to understand the following properties of sound: frequency and pitch.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Polymer Pie

Abstract: Students should investigate which starches will create the "best" pie. They will first brainstorm what qualities they would like to have in a custard-type pie, they investigate the properties of different commercially available starches like corn and potato in order to develop a recipe for making a "pie filling" sample that exhibits the desired properties. Students can then further investigate how the human body digests the different components of the starch (amylose and amylopectin).

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Properties of Spider Web Adhesion

Abstract: Students explore how spiders create their webs and the properties of the webs to catch food. This includes exploring the viscosity and velocity of the solution to see how they impact the drop size of the "glue" on the silk.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Sink/Float Discovery Bottle

Abstract: This lesson uses a "Sink/Float Discovery Bottle" to teach students how to conduct a simple investigation, use simple equipment to make observations, use observations to arrive at a reasonable explanation, and to communicate their findings and explanations. This lesson will also teach students about the properties of objects that sink and float.

Grades: 3-5

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Smelly Synthesis

Abstract: Students will view the nylon rope demonstration to be introduced to polymer synthesis. They will then perform an inquiry investigation of organic synthesis by mixing various carboxylic acids with alcohols to create esters. Depending on the mixture between the acids and alcohols, different smells will be produced. The class will then come together and discuss the purpose of the lab and the results obtained.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Specific Gravity - The Relative Density of Liquids

Abstract: Students will learn, through the creation of their handmade hydrometer, how a hydrometer functions and what it measures. Using their hydrometer, they will determine the relative differences in specific gravity of liquids and compare these values to those obtained from a commercially manufactured hydrometer. Based on their findings, students will create their own liquid density column.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Sports Helmets and Impact Testing of Polymers

Abstract: In sports, participants may be subjected to collisions with balls or other people or even crashes on bikes and skateboards. How is it possible for athletes to tolerate such blows and still "remain in the game"? This activity allows students to use inquiry to investigate the materials used to make sports helmets, a modern form of body armor. The students will perform impact tests on plastic (polymer) samples by dropping a plumb bob from differing heights onto the samples. The tests, modeled after actual industrial testing methods, will measure the brittleness of a material that has been subjected to an intense blow. Both "hard" plastics that may be used in the outer shell of a helmet and foamed plastics that can be used for the inner lining of the helmet will be tested. The students will use data gained from their tests to determine which plastics they feel are most suitable for usage in a helmet.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Scientific Inquiry


The Stress of Being a Recycled Bag

Abstract: Students will test the tensile strength of a shopping bag and discover that the polyethylene film has a higher tensile strength when pulled parallel with the extrusion lines then when pulled perpendicular to the extrusion lines. The students then apply what they learn to design an experiment to compare the strength a shopping bag made from recycled polyethylene to one that contains no recycled material. This lesson can be done with common inexpensive materials which may be collected from the home. Teacher Notes attached.

Grades: 6-8, 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Stretch your Students' Imaginations

Abstract: Students will explore the properties of polymers using a poly putty made from glue and borax. Physical and chemical changes, conservation of energy, and kinetic friction will be explained. An extension of the lesson allows the students a fun opportunity to enter a national contest: the AGPA's annual Rubber Band Contest for Young Inventors. This contest challenges students to design and create a working invention/artwork that incorporates at least one rubber band. The entire lesson allows teachers to meet science content standards and introduce polymers and science concepts using the Best Teaching Practices HandsOn/Minds-On Learning and Authentic Problem-Based Learning.

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Using Current Data for Graphing Skills

Abstract: Everywhere you look graphs surround your life. All types of businesses, periodicals, and reference materials utilize graphs to visually depict statistical information. Graphing skills are not only helpful within the walls of a science classroom but also in understanding the complexities of everyday life. This lesson is designed to help students identify the difference between an effective and ineffective graph, draw their own graphs, and interpret and relay information in a graph into another form of communication. This elsson requires the use of computers and the Internet by student groups.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Scientific Inquiry


What Happens to the Heat?

Abstract: Students will initially visualize the concepts of conduction and insulation through a discrepant event demonstration where materials are heated at high temperatures to show that certain materials will heat up more quickly than others. Afterwards, students will investigate these same concepts using round washers made of different materials to quantify energy transfer through temperature changes. Students will then participate in an interactive activity to define random motion, absolute zero, heat conduction, heat conductor, thermal equilibrium, closed systems, thermal radiation, and photons as well as develop a strong understanding of thermal energy transfer through conduction and radiation. Finally, students will design and create a device to reduce or increase thermal conduction and measure temperature change between real objects as a culminating activity.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


What is a Polymer?

Abstract: Students will explore polymers in the everyday world. They will use their senses (except taste) to make observations and investigate the properties of polymers.

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry


Where Did the Water Go?

Abstract: As a result of the teacher-conducted discrepant event demonstration (described below), students will pose a problem. They will formulate their hypotheses, conduct experiments, and report their findings. Since it is unlikely that the students will be able to reproduce the outcome of the teachers' demonstration, it will be pointed out to them that very often scientific investigations do not lead to "answers".

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Scientific Inquiry


Where to Live?

Abstract: The use of computerized information is a growing part of everyday life. More and more people around the country and around the globe are plugging into geographic, social, economic, political, and environmental information to answer practical questions in their lives. The answers they find have relevance in their education, affect their business decisions, expand their understanding of the place they call home, and influence personal choices.

In this lesson, students will explore various aspects of their world using a Geographic Information System in order to make decisions.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Science and Technology, Scientific Inquiry


Will it Stretch?

Abstract: Students will receive unexpected results when a rubber band is heated and cooled. From this activity they will learn about one of the unique physical properties of the polymer, rubber.

In this lesson, students will explore various aspects of their world using a Geographic Information System in order to make decisions.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


You are What You Eat!

Abstract: Through hands-on activities and inquiry, students will construct a simple calorimeter. Through experimentation and simple calculation, students will determine the number of calories in a sample of food. Through the use of the Internet, students will plan a meal and calculate the number of calories the meal contains. From that calorie count, they will devise an exercise program to "burn off" the calories consumed.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Young's Modulus: An Investigation of Stress Versus Strain Using PDMS Polymer

Abstract: This Lesson is based upon Young's Elastic Modulus. Young's Elastic Modulus (E) closely relates itself to the spring constant (K) used in traditional classroom physics when teaching Hooke's Law. This is outlined in detail in the power point for further information. Through this construction, this lesson can bridge the gap between the engineering scope and traditional physics concepts taught in the classroom. By using a silicone base polymer, we will investigate young's elastic modulus by changing the chemical composition. This polymer used comes from the Sylgard company. This comes as a mix and pour kit of silicone polymer with a cross linking agent (Sylgard 184).

Grades: 9-12

Subject: Physical Sciences, Science and Technology, Scientific Ways of Knowing, Scientific Inquiry


Ziplock Chemistry

Abstract: Three substances are mixed in a sealed plastic bag. A reaction occurs that causes the bag to get warm and expand while the color of the contents of the bag changes.

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Subject: Physical Sciences, Scientific Inquiry



OTHER


A Brief History of Rubber

Abstract: In this social studies lesson plan, students will explore the development of rubber and its use in society. They will research the history of rubber and will construct a timeline to display key events and the progression of rubber's use in society.

Grades: 5-8

Subject: Other


Biomimicry Using Polymers to Mimic Pinecones or Flowers

Abstract: Inspired by natural hygromorphs, students recreate or simulate how pinecones open and close based on their moisture content. Students use rubber pieces that are glued together and made of two different densities. These biomimetic bilayer structures replicate simple models of natural occurrences such as pine cones opening when dry and closing when moist. Because we are using rubber polymers our biomimetic bilayers will open and close using acetone, a solvent that will absorb into rubber much the way water would be absorbed in a pine cone.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: N/A


Decomposition of Polymers: Removal of Chewing Gum

Abstract: Our lives are fraught daily with things that gum up the works; especially chewing gum. If it happens to attach itself to your clothes, hair, or (heaven forbid) the inside of the family clothes dryer you have a real problem.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: N/A


Energy Cars and Polymers: Reducing Frictional Forces

Abstract: Students will be working in pairs to design and build energy car that meets specific requirements by using knowledge of polymer chemistry, and laws of physics. The goal of the project is to build a car that would go maximum distance when launched by rubber band, therefore, students will have to apply knowledge about motion, friction, and engineering principles to achieve best results. Energy car must be build from wood platform, and wheels from thermoplastic. During this lesson, students will learn about thermoplastics (polymers), friction (sliding, rolling, fluid, static), and motion (speed, acceleration, velocity).

Grades: 9

Subject: N/A


Exploration of Bones as a Natural Composite Material

Abstract: Growing up we were told to drink our milk so that our bones could grow to be strong. Milk and other food products provide us with the calcium our bones need for strength. In fact, about 99% of our body’s calcium is found in bones. However, our bones also need a structural protein called collagen in order to provide added strength and flexibility. Bone can be thought of as a composite material; something made out of two materials with different properties, which when brought together produce a new material with new properties. In this laboratory you will play the role of a polymer scientist and explore the techniques that engineers use to test the strength properties of a composite material.

Grades: 9-12

Subject: N/A


Gellin Like a...Hydrophylic Cross-linked Polymer?

Abstract: Students will prepare several recipes of Xanthan Gum-Glycerol polyester polymers and determine through testing and data analysis which one will serve best as wound dressings or other specific applications.

Grades: 9

Subject: N/A


Mechanical Properties of 3D Printed Parts in Fused Deposition Modeling

Abstract: Today's students are not aware of the many uses of polymers in their daily life. In this experiment, students will examine the mechanical properties of 3D parts to solve a real world problem. Students will determine the optimal mechanical properties of components fabricated with 3D printers. Students will create 3D printed parts with various print specifications such as orientation, temperature, infill, layer thickness, etc. This research, testing and analysis will then be used by the students to create a DIY assistive technology (DIY-AT), "which is any device or system that allows an individual to perform a task that they would otherwise be unable to do, or increases the ease and safety with which the task can be performed" [1]. Once the students have created their 3D printed parts, they will conduct a tensile test. The data collected will be graphed and analyzed with the conclusion of the experiment to be a collaborative discussion of the Students will use data gathered from the tensile testing to determine optimal properties for use in assistive technology.

[1] Cowen,D. & Turner-Smith,A. The role of assistive technology in alternative models of care for older people. In Sutherland,I. (ed.) With Respect To Old Age:The Royal Commission for the Long Term Care of the Elderly (1999), Stationary Office, 325-346

Grades: 9-12

Subject:


Ooeey Gooey Fun! But Can We Sell This Stuff? Putty Experiment

Abstract: Students create bouncing balls of various shapes and determine the differences in the height that the various balls bounce.

Grades: 10-12

Subject: N/A


Where in the World is Rubber?

Abstract: In this social studies lesson plan, students will learn about the various people and places associated with those areas that produce natural rubber. They will be able to define and identify specific regions using human and physical characteristics.

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Other