PlastiVan® educators are skilled in tailoring the presentation to meet the needs and grade-level expectations of each classroom and teacher. The program is easily integrated into school curricula. A PlastiVan visit typically consists of 5 classes/day for up to 40 students/class or is individually designed for STEM and science fairs.

To request the PlastiVan Program or more information, contact Julie Proctor at jproctor@4spe.org

Companies that sponsor PlastiVan nurture the development of their future workforce by opening the minds of students to careers in science, engineering, technology, and mathematics (STEM), subjects that are utilized daily in the plastics industry.

Plastic plays a vital role in transportation, health care, agriculture, and electronics—and almost all other industries. In the United States the industry is experiencing a serious shortage of skilled workers. As the plastics industry continues to thrive, it needs creative, bright, and passionate new minds to steer its course. PlastiVan works to bring those concepts to life for students.

Curriculum Sheets

Grade School

Middle School

High School

Program length is dependent on time available in your class, typically 45-70 minutes.

All necessary supplies are included.

Supplemental materials are available for you to use before or after the visit.

Elementary

  • 2-PS1-1 Matter and Its Interactions
  • 5-ESS3-1 Earth and Human Activity
  • 5-PS1-1 Matter and Its Interactions
  • 5-PS1-3 Matter and Its Interactions
  • 5-PS1-4 Matter and Its Interactions

Middle School

  • MS-ESS3.A: Natural Resources
  • MS-ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
  • MS-ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions
  • MS-ETS1.C: Optimizing the Design Solution
  • MS-PS1-3 Matter and its Interactions
  • MS-PS1-3 Matter and its Interactions
  • MS-PS1-4 Matter and its Interactions
  • MS-PS1-5 Matter and its Interactions
  • MS-PS1. A Structure and Properties of Matter
  • MS-PS1.B Chemical Reactions Matter
  • MS-PS2-2 Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
  • MS-PS3-1 Energy
  • MS-PS3-5 Energy
  • MS.LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

High School

  • HS-ESS3-3 Earth and Human Activity
  • HS-ESS3-4 Earth and Human Activity
  • HS-LS2-7 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
  • HS-PS1-1 Matter and its Interactions
  • HS-PS1-2 Matter and its Interactions
  • HS-PS1-4 Matter and its Interactions
  • HS-PS1-5 Matter and Its Interventions
We hope to get back in classroom soon. At this time, we are offering a new program called PlastiVideo™.
30-day access to PlastiVideo is sponsored by grants and scholarships. All schools and teachers are welcome to apply for access to PlastiVideo. Check out our sponsors.
Anne Cowell holds a BA in Chemistry and an MA in Teaching. Previously she taught middle school science and most recently worked in synthetic carbohydrate chemistry at Indiana University. Through PlastiVan Anne enjoys showing students that science is a part of their everyday lives. She likes to put students in the role of a scientist where their thoughtful questions and creative ideas inspire her.
John Paul Dingens brings the PlastiVan program mostly to Texas. Working with sponsors he is proud to help strengthen connections between local students and industry in their communities. Having studied environmental science and policy, he is motivated by the belief that a more comprehensive understanding of polymer science to drive innovations is a viable route to meaningful progress in plastics and beyond.
Elizabeth Egan is a Packaging Engineering with an MBA. She worked for Dow Chemical in the Specialty Plastics, Consumer Products, and Automotive business units as an Engineer and Business Analyst. She serves on her local Board of Education and teaches piano and enjoys bringing PlastiVan into the classroom allowing her to share the exciting and diverse career opportunities in the plastics industry.
John Fellenstein runs STEM outreach for the College of Polymer Science and Engineering at the University of Akron. Previously he taught high school science. “The PlastiVan Program gives me many opportunities to interact with students, which is so much fun! I like sharing the science concepts along with career opportunities that are available in the plastics and polymer industries.”
Lynda Gomi has been an educator for 30 years and a recycler for over 50. Lynda has worked with students of all ages in both the US and Japan. She holds two master’s degrees but considers raising a daughter who became a polymer engineer as her crowning accomplishment. Lynda is excited to work with students of any age as they explore science and career options in the sciences with PlastiVan.
Mendy Mossbrook has over 24 years of experience in the Plastics Industry with numerous patents in the packaging sector. She holds a BS in Chemical Engineering and an MBA. She works in the non-profit sector as an advocate and coach for educators and students and enjoys the opportunity to connect what children learn in school to exciting careers in STEM fields through the PlastiVan.
Briana Young is an alum of Ecotek Lab and a graduate of Central Michigan University. She has over 12 years of experience in research and innovation involving material science, environmental science and agricultural engineering. She has traveled internationally working on projects related to climate change and environmental conservation. Ms. Young has worked as a research fellow on material science and agricultural projects at Iowa State University and the University of Delaware.
Evan Morton is an alum of Ecotek Lab and a senior at Michigan State University majoring in environmental sustainability. He has over 8 years of research and innovation in material and environmental science and pollution avoidance. Mr. Morton is a researcher in plastics consumption at MSU’s Geocognition Laboratory and has traveled nationally and internationally meeting with stakeholders and community organizers on land and water conservation.
Mark Wolverton is a materials engineer with more than 40 years’ involvement in the plastics industry. PlastiVan allows him to foster enthusiasm for the development of plastic parts with the next generation. He has experience in product and materials development for the consumer electronics, automotive & transportation, defense & aerospace, personal care and medical industries. Mark is an Honored Service Member of SPE and a member of the Plastics Pioneers.
Eve Vitale, SPE Foundation Executive, was recruited in 2016 to expand the PlastiVan program. She holds a BS in mechanical engineering and an MS in manufacturing engineering. She spent 8 months on the road delivering the program to thousands of students to find ways to increase its impact. She and her husband own an engineering consulting business specializing in plastics manufacturing and sustainability.
To extend the learning experience beyond the PlastiVideo Program, we have provided curated videos and relevant activities. Find them here. Use in the classroom to prepare your students for the PlastiVideo Program or afterward to extend the learning. In addition, check out the HOP Kit lesson plans.

“It’s a simple and powerful program; interactive with hands on experiments for students; allows the students to be curious and understand that science is fun; the program gets the message out there about how plastics enhance the quality of our lives and enhance the image and value of plastics globally.”

- Schulyer-Colfax MS teacher




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