Playing with Polymers: How YCIS Beijing Secondary Students Created Plastic in a Single Lab Period
In their first lab experiment of 2016, Year 9 students from YCIS Beijing created their own polymer compounds in the Science class on January 7. Through this hands-on experiment, they learnt about the properties of different kinds of plastic and had a ton of fun in the process!
Mike Warner, Secondary School Science Teacher, explained that students made two different examples of polymers, one rigid and one flexible. With directions, the process is actually quite straightforward!
After mixing three ingredients together, careful monitoring and adjustment is required to ensure a correct pH level is achieved. Year 9 student Lucrezia Quagliariello especially enjoyed the theatricality and hands-on nature of this step, including heating the mixture over a Bunsen burner and watching the mixture bubble and pop. Once properly heated and mixed, all that’s left is to pour the mixture into a petri dish, spread evenly, and let it cool. The entire process was completed in a single class session. While there were a couple of botched batches that needed to be redone, in the end all students were able to transform a number of lab ingredients into the same plastic used in so many of our household products today.
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