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Collection of Reviewed Teaching Resources

A Plastic World

Subject taught
- Chemistry
- Technology

Link
https://www.pslc.ws/macrog/polypro/exp/ny610.htm

Type of Product
- Online lab

Language Skills Developed
- Interaction
- Reading
- Writing

Transferable/Scientific Skills Developed
Transferable skills: - teamwork, - listening, - communication, - time management, - dependability, - technology. Scientific skills: - know and respect the lab safety rules; - reading and carry out an experimental procedure for chemical synthesis; - prepare a lab notebook where students should take notes of anything they do during an experiment and briefly describe the results. - representing data using symbols, diagrams, graphs and tables; - writing a lab report.

Description
• General aims
Get students excited about chemistry and polymer science.
Acquire manual skills.
Make sure that the students reach the scientific skills listed above.
• Linguistic aims
Learn new terms related to: chemicals, laboratory equipment and experimental methods.
Reading and comprehension of the experimental procedure.
Take notes in the lab notebook.
Writing laboratory reports.
Ability to speak in English with other experimenters.
• Subject specific aims
Learn about the physical state of the chemicals used.
Learn how to handle chemicals.
Have concrete evidence of what has been studied in theory.
Realize the volumes of the chemicals used.
Understand that a chemical reaction occurs if well defined reagent quantities are mixed.
Understand that the physical state of the synthetic product may be different from that of the reagents.
Develop the observation skills of young experimenters.
• Target group age 17-19
• Level of competence in English (CEFR) B1
• Time required to use the resource with the students
1 hour
• How to use it
After a brief introduction in which the teacher explains the reaction scheme, showing the chemical formulas of the reagents and the product, the class goes to the laboratory. Here, students are organized in small work groups who are assigned a desk already equipped with all the necessary glassware, tools and reagents. The teacher and the students brainstorm on the safety rules in the laboratory and only after the teacher has ascertained that each experimenter is equipped with a lab coat, gloves and laboratory notebook, does he distribute copies of the experimental procedure. From this moment, each group can start working under the supervision of the teacher.
During the experiment, each team will take notes in the laboratory notebook. This will serve them to prepare their own laboratory report in the next lesson, according to the indications that the teacher will provide.

• Possible difficulties for the students
Students who have partial knowledge of the theoretical prerequisites of organic chemistry (functional groups and nucleophilic addition reaction) and on polymers, may have difficulty understanding the experimental procedure.

Comments
? Strength The experiment is easy to carry out and does not present particular dangers for students if all of them wear protective equipment (goggles, gloves and lab coat). The reaction is immediate, so the duration of the experiment is short. The experiment excites students because they can see the huge amount of nylon that is formed and even take it in hand. ? Weakness The teacher must carefully monitor the students because they handle corrosive and irritating reagents. • Scientific reliability This resource is contained on the website of Polymer Science Learning Center (PSLC), founded in 1999 by Prof. J. M. Lon (University of Southern Mississippi), with the aim to provide a working knowledge of polymers and related concepts to student of all levels. The website has been possible by the grants from American Chemical Society. • Pedagogical value (e.g. collaborative learning, self–directed learning, peer assisted learning, etc) Experimental activity has a very important pedagogical value in the teaching of scientific subjects. Furthermore, conducting the experiments in small groups, according to the collaborative learning methodology, allows students to learn more effectively, developing some transferable skills such as teamwork.

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