What do a balloon, a piece of paper, and a CD have in common? Each is made of repeating units that are so small we cannot see them without a microscope. Scientists call objects made of repeating units polymers. Polymers are usually very flexible and stretchable.
Our unit on polymers included making a human polymer by linking hands to form a chain that stretched around the classroom, creating our own polymer called “ooze“, and producing a video or podcast as our cumulating project.
We viewed the Polymers clip from the video “Daily Planet: Natural Phenomena” found at Science Connection. The quick 6 minute clip gave examples of everyday polymers and experiments that can be performed with the polymers. Then the students were given this scenario:
Scientists have discovered a new island in a remote part of the Pacific Ocean. You have been asked to accompany an expedition to examine the creatures that live there. Everyone is particularly interested in a pond of ooze located near the center of the island. The pond of ooze is very similar to the cornstarch and water polymer you created a few days ago. Keeping your observations of this polymer in mind, make a model of your pond creature out of clay. Then using MovieMaker, PhotoStory, or Audacity, produce a movie or podcast answering the following questions about your creature.
1. What does your creature look like?
2. How do they prevent themselves from getting stuck?
3. What do they eat?
4. Do they have any natural predators?
5. What special challenges do they face because of their environment and what adaptations have they made to survive?
6. Why are scientists interested in studying them?
Students used images from Science Connection in their videos, along with digital pictures taken of their creatures. Shown below are a few of our creatures.