SPE & Girl Scout Councils - Wonders of Polymer Science Patch
SPE & Girl Scout Councils - Wonders of Polymer Science Patch

Plastics Are Everywhere

SPE & Girl Scout Councils

Plastics are Everywhere

Goal: Scouts will understand that plastics are everywhere—in most facets of life, that plastics are moldable, and the difference between natural and synthetic polymers and plastics. 

Supplies: paper, pencil 

Activity:  

  • Watch Plastics Are Everywhere video. 
  • Find 10 different plastic things in your home, school, or troop meeting location. 
  • Identify Natural and Synthetic Polymers: The troop leader calls out the name of an object (see examples below) and the girls yell out if it is a synthetic or natural polymer. Or an alternative approach: troop leader yells synthetic or natural and the girls yell out a name of an object or item they see. See background information for ideas.

Background Information:
Natural polymers are bio-degradable, meaning they naturally decompose over time. Most synthetic polymers do not decompose so recycling is important. Recycling uses mechanical processes to separate plastic types, grind the plastic, and eventually remelt and remold it into a new shape. For hard to recycle plastics, modern technology can also use chemical processes to break the polymer bonds, creating high value monomers which can then be reused.

Natural and Synthetic Polymers examples:

Synthetic polymer examples: eye glass frames, back packs, shoe soles, polyester clothes, pens, phone cases, water bottle, plastic cups, straws, food packaging.

Natural polymer examples: hair, fingernails, DNA, silk, latex.

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