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Akron Global Polymer Academy Lesson Plans

Hydrate Me!

Grades: 10-12
Author: Jeannette Jernigan
Source: This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. EEC-1161732.


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.


What should students know as a result of this lesson?

What should the students be able to do as a result of this lesson?


Below is the amount of materials needed per group of 4 students:



Introduce the lesson by showing the students various hydrogels (contact lenses, pills, Band-Aids, breast implants). You can have a picture of these or physically have some of these on hand. Ask them what all of these have in common [looking for: used in or on the body]. Ask then, "What might be some important factors that the manufacturers/scientists had to think about in order for these products to be used in/on the human body?" [looking for: compatible with body, pH, not being rejected, reactions etc.] Guide them toward discussing the bandages and wound dressings. Ask what would be needed for a body to heal? [looking for: compatible with body, pH, rashes, healing properties, moisture, oxygen etc.] Explain that the wound dressing that you brought or have shown them are made of a hydrogel and that scientists are working on hydrogels that you can put into the body and have everything you need in them to aid your body in the healing process to even the extent of fixing large wounds such as burns or even repairing nerve cells. Explain that one large factor that needs to be studied is the moisture content of the hydrogel in order to aid in the healing process and to allow oxygen to flow to the body cells so it can heal faster. Tell the students that they are going to research moisture content of various hydrogels to find out which would be the best type to use for wound healing.


Students will perform the lab activity labeled, "Hydrate Me!" The teacher will observe and aid any students that need help while completing the lab activity.


Teacher will answer any questions that the students have after completing the activity. Students will write a lab report when they are done with the lab activity, they will need to research some topics in order to answer some of the questions for their lab reports.


On the lab report, students will be answering questions as to how important hydrogels are in medical science and how they would design a bandage for wound dressings. There is a sample lab report and lab report rubric that can be used for this activity.


Students should be familiar with digital scales and how to use them properly.

Best Teaching Practices

Alignment with Standards

NGSS Standards:

Common Core Standards:

Ohio Standards:

Content Knowledge

Structure and Function

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions


Students will need to follow all general safety guidelines to include wearing goggles. If students get any of the chemicals on their skin, they will need to wash it off immediately with soap and water.


This activity can be applied to the medical field in wound dressings.


Students will be completing a lab report using the sample lab report and rubric for grading the report.

Other Considerations

Grouping Suggestions: Group students based on your classroom and the supplies. Group of 4 students per group will work well with this activity.

Pacing/Suggested Time: This activity should take one class period for the lab activity and another day for the research. Have students complete the lab report typing on their own time.

Printable PDF Worksheets

Hydrate Me! Lab Worksheet

Hydrate Me! Lab Report Rubric

Hydrate Me! Lab Report Sample