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Polymers Matter!

Grades: 9-12
Author: Elif Polat
Source: This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. EEC- 1542358.


Students will be able to learn more about properties of matter, and, they will use Polymers to observe properties of matter.


What should students know as a result of this lesson?

  • Will learn Properties of Matter (color, solubility, odor, hardness, density, conductivity, melting point, boiling point, viscosity and malleability)

What should the students be able to do as a result of this lesson?

  • Will be able to observe the Properties of Matter when they play with the polymer


  • Polydoh Moldable Plastic
  • beaker
  • Water
  • Hot plate
  • Gloves
  • Spoon
  • Styrofoam cups



Before the lesson on Polymers Matter!, students will be given a pretest on their knowledge of matter:

  1. What is matter?
  2. What are some examples of matter?
  3. What are some examples of physical properties?
  4. What is a polymer?

Assessment: Through discussing the questions with the students, determine that they have a basic understanding of matter, polymer, and physical properties of matter.


Give 10 grams of Polydoh moldable plastic to each student and ask them to make a chart to list the properties of polymer before the experiment.

Create a simple table with columns for the students to record their observations about the physical properties of their polymer "before" and "after" conducting the experiment.


Give 5 minutes to students to fill in the "before" section of their chart/table. Then have a discussion about their findings.

Then start to pass out the rest of the materials.

A styrofoam cup

A spoon

(Teacher should have the control of the hot plate and water)


Have the students put the Polydoh in hot water that they have in the styrofoam cups.

Ask the students to record their observations.

After the Polydoh becomes clear, ask students to take them out using the spoon. And start to shape it.

Ask students to fill in the "after" section of their chart/tables.

Give them 5 minutes for that.

And have a discussion of their findings.

At the end, have students take the Post-Quiz.


Students will need to know lab safety.

Best Teaching Practices

  • 5E Learning Cycle
  • Inquiry Activities
  • Conceptual Understanding
  • Problem Solving
  • Real Life Applications

Alignment with Standards

NGSS Standards:

  • HS-PS1-3. Plan and conduct an investigation to gather evidence to compare the structure of substances at the bulk scale to infer the strength of electrical forces between particles.
    • PS1.A: Structure of Properties of Matter
      • The structure and interactions of matter at the bulk scale are determined by electrical forces within and between atoms.

[Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on understanding the strengths of forces between particles, not on naming specific intermolecular forces (such as dipoledipole). Examples of particles could include ions, atoms, molecules, and networked materials (such as graphite). Examples of bulk properties of substances could include the melting point and boiling point, vapor pressure, and surface tension.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include Raoult’s law calculations of vapor pressure.]

Ohio Standards:

  • Matter was introduced in the elementary grades and the learning progression continued through middle school to include differences in the physical properties of solids, liquids and gases, elements, compounds, mixtures, molecules, kinetic and potential energy and the particulate nature of matter. Content in the chemistry syllabus (e.g., electron configuration, molecular shapes, and bond angles) will be developed from concepts in this course.
  • Matter can be classified in broad categories such as homogeneous and heterogeneous or classified according to its composition or by its chemical (reactivity) and physical properties (e.g., color, solubility, odor, hardness, density, conductivity, melting point and boiling point, viscosity, and malleability.

Content Knowledge

Develop a model based on evidence to illustrate the relationships between systems or between components of a system. (HS-PS1-8)

Use a model to predict the relationships between systems or between components of a system. (HSPS1- 1)


  • Do Not touch the hot-plate!
  • Be careful with hot water!


Arts and crafts, You can do anything you want to do with it.


Students will be assessed using a Pre-quiz and Post-quiz.

Other Considerations

Grouping Suggestions:

  • Students can work with their lab partner or by themselves-that's an easy experiment.

Pacing/Suggested Time:

  • 2 class periods (90 minutes)

Printable PDF Worksheets

Safety Disclaimer