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Polymer, giant molecules with properties: An entertaining activity introducing polymers to young students
KTH, School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology and Health (CBH), Fibre- and Polymer Technology.
KTH, School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology and Health (CBH), Fibre- and Polymer Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7790-8987
Stockholm Vetenskapens Hus, Stockholm, SE-106 91, Sweden.
2019 (English)In: Journal of Chemical Education, ISSN 0021-9584, E-ISSN 1938-1328, Vol. 96, no 8, p. 1691-1695Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this activity, polymer materials are introduced to 13–16 year old students. The activity is aimed at students with no or little knowledge of polymers. An engaging lecture covering the basics of polymer technology and sustainable development in the plastics field is presented. Important polymers such as polyethylene (PE), cellulose, and polylactide (PLA) are presented, and examples of their everyday use are shown. Quiz questions are employed in the introductory lecture to engage the students, to start discussions, and to evaluate the learning progress. The students are then engaged in two entertaining activities involving a natural polymer alginate and superabsorbent polymers. Alginate spaghetti is produced using different salt solutions enabling the students to create and destroy materials just by playing around with the chemistry, which helps them understand the polymeric material. The second activity has an application-based approach where the ability of superabsorbent polymers in diapers to retain water is investigated. The overall quiz results and discussions after the activities show an improved understanding of polymers and their applications and properties, making this activity useful for teaching polymers to young students.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Chemical Society (ACS), 2019. Vol. 96, no 8, p. 1691-1695
Keywords [en]
polymer chemistry, outreach, hydrogel. polymer, high school students
National Category
Polymer Chemistry
Research subject
Chemistry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-259684DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.8b00918Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85067025783OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-259684DiVA, id: diva2:1352992
Note

QC 20191015

Available from: 2019-09-20 Created: 2019-09-20 Last updated: 2019-10-15Bibliographically approved

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Benyahia Erdal, NejlaHakkarainen, Minna

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