Verdell Marie Henderson John Calhoun Elementary
2822 W. Adams
Chicago, IL 60612


Identifying plastics and it's chemical, physical and reactional changes. (Grade
levels 3-6)


colorants variables
polymers precaution
agents exothermic
cross-linked properties
slime plastic
synthetic reaction
chemical compound sensitive


Determine the amount needed according to class size teams of two.
Sodium Borax 4%
Polyvinyl alcohol 4%
tooth picks
10 baby food jars
styrofoam cups
food coloring
pipette or eye droppers


1. Depending on the grade level, make an imaginary trip out of the class room.
Pretend you're at Chem-West in the plastic lab.

2. Remember to stress THE RULES OF SAFETY.

3. Put students in teams of two in the imaginary lab.

4. Inform students that while they were at the company's Orientation Room, the
chemist allowed you to make a plastic solution. But you've forgotten. WHAT
DID I DO? Solicit their assistance.

5. Distribute to each group polyvinyl alcohol (4%) and sodium borax (4%)

6. With each group ready to proceed, instruct them to count out their drops and
for each solution; realizing that their objective is to produce the same
product you've produced.

7. Discuss ratios for charting purposes.

Note: Make sure teams write down what they've observed first.


1. Allow each team to chart how many drops of polyvinyl alcohol (4%) and sodium
borax they used to get their end product.

2. What properties in the reaction changed? Did any?

3. How did the end product feel?

4. Did the end product have an odor? What did it smell like?

5. What were some things you could do with your end product?

6. What safety precautions did you follow?

7. How many new vocabulary words were synonyms?

8. What should you do to end with a plastic product?

Note: Complete overview: Write a descriptive as well as a narrative paragraph of
what happened today at the Chem-West labs.

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