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A Century of Plastics

Lesson Focus 
Lesson focuses on how plastics of all sorts have been engineered in to everyday products over the past century, with emphasis on materials selection and engineering.

Age Levels:

8 - 18
Objectives 
  • Learn about plastics.
  • Learn about how plastics have been engineered into so many common products.
  • Learn about teamwork and the engineering problem solving/design process.
Anticipated Learner Outcomes 

As a result of this activity, students should develop an understanding of:

  • plastics
  • materials and plastics engineering
  • impact of engineering and technology on society
  • engineering problem solving
  • teamwork
Lesson Activities 

Students learn about how the development of plastics and the engineering of plastics into everyday products have impacted our world. Topics examined include problem solving, teamwork, and the engineering design process. Students work in teams to identify products which they think could not exist without plastics and redesign to use fewer plastic components to make it easier to recycle, then present to class.

Resources/Materials 
  • Teacher Resource Documents (attached)
  • Student Resource Sheet (attached)
  • Student Worksheets (attached)

Alignment to Curriculum Frameworks

Curriculum alignment sheet is included in PDF.


Alignment to Curriculum Frameworks
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