Polymer fun

The slime-stretching photo on the cover captures the result of students making their own products in our organic chemistry unit. For years my students have earned the right to make fun products after a unit of memorizing nomenclature and reactions. This unit falls right when students have a predictably large amount of exams and pressure. For my students, the organic lab time provides a welcome stress release — slime, shrinky dinks and bouncy balls all become a fun way to apply organic chemistry. 

Students select from a variety of organic labs. I create a Google Form for each one, and students must complete the form to prove their understanding prior to proceeding to the experiment stage. For example, to complete the Google Form on slime, students must know about a multiplicity of topics, including polymers, cross-linking, viscosity, non-Newtonian fluids, lab procedure, safety and waste disposal. They know to check in with me before they start the lab so that I can ensure all safety precautions will be followed.

The cover shows two students who have passed the Google Form on slime. As part of the procedure, they are doing a stretch test on the slime they have made. It is rewarding to see this kind of lab engagement on the last days of classes.