PlastiVan's playful outreach benefits dual-enrollment students

Published 03.06.2020

Polymer Engineering
Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies News

SPE PlastiVan educator Elizabeth Egan shows a model of a polymer – a molecule with many parts bonded together.Students from Upper Dauphin Area High School use their fingers to mix glue and borax, creating a fun putty. The fingers were essential to provide heat for the endothermic chemical reaction.High schoolers add oil to water to test a plastic material used to absorb real oil spills in lakes and oceans.Taking advantage of their chemical knowledge, students stick a skewer through a balloon – with the help of lotion to make the skewer slip between the molecules in the latex without popping the balloon.SEKISUI SPI, a Bloomsburg-based thermoplastics company, sponsored three days of opportunity for young learners to experiment with polymers via a visit from the Society of Plastics Engineers’ PlastiVan. PlastiVan educator Elizabeth Egan talked with Penn College NOW students from seven high schools who visited over two days. Penn College NOW is the college’s nationally accredited dual-enrollment program, which provides Penn College classes to high school students in their schools, where they receive both high school and college credit for the courses. While on campus, Egan taught the high school students about the history, chemistry and uses of plastic through fun experiments. The students also toured the college’s plastics education facilities, where they interacted with faculty and students, and the campus. The PlastiVan also spent a day at the annual Science Festival on campus Wednesday.