Japan’s Use of Super Absorbing Polymers Timely Real-World Connection In Chemistry and STEM ClassroomsDiana Wehrell-Grabowski on April 4, 2011 in Teacher Training Workshops No Comments »
Japan in one of its effots to contain the radiation leak used a super absorbing polymer mixed with sawdust and shredded newspaper. No word as to how successful the super absorbing polymer mix was, but it’s unlikely that it was able to contain the leak. This real-world application of super absorbers by man is a timely connection for science and STEM teachers to relate to their students. Super absorbing polymers, like the kind found in disposable diapers, feminine hygiene products, and nursery additives have the ability to absorb 200 to 600 times their mass in water. During several of my teacher training workshops “Exploring Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Content and Concepts, Developing Critical Thinking Skills, Kitchen Chemistry, Exploring Nature of Matter, and Teaching Science Through Children’s Literature teachers conduct investigations with super absorbing polymers to explore their characteristics. Teachers conduct experiments with Grow Creatures, Suddenly Snow, Fish Eggs, Sodium Polyacrylate, and Sodium Polyacrylamide also known as Ghost Crystals. Teachers also conduct experiments with Slime and Silly Putty, additional examples of polymers but not a super absorbing polymer. Super absorbing polymers are an inexpensive means to introduce K-12 students to the nature of matter. The following photos are from several teacher training workshops where teachers conducted hands-on-minds-on investigations to explore the characteristics of super absorbing polymers.
Interested teachers and home schooling parents can order super absorbing polymers from numerous sources. The super absorbing items below are available from Amazon via this site at no extra charge to the customer.