National Plastics Center Activities
Course: 26.215 - Plastics Process Lab I
Instructor: Carol Barry
Partner:National Plastics Center
Partnership Description: During fall 2005, the National Plastics Center asked the sophomores to develop hands-on activities for explaining the concepts of 1) petroleum to plastics pellets and 2) alternate sources of plastics. At the beginning of the project, the National Plastics Center’s Marjorie Weiner came to UML to explain her audience - which is primarily K-12 students serviced by the Center’s Plastics Vans – and to demonstrate the “wow” projects that are hits with her audience. The students spent considerable time researching possible projects and finding the ingredients for their projects. In December, 2005, Marjorie Weiner returned to UML to review the projects – which were presented as PowerPoint presentation backgrounds followed by the “hands-on demonstration. Ms. Weiner was impressed by the demonstrations, some of which had the “wow” factor and most of which could be used in K-12 classrooms.
Project Description: The Plastics Process Engineering Laboratories are designed to familiarize the students with the basic plastics manufacturing and testing techniques. In the first sophomore-level laboratory (26.215), the students examine test methods for plastics materials and evaluate the test results. The laboratories incorporate three elements: 1) group experiments, 2) analysis and reporting of experimental results, and 3) Plastics Safety Lecture. In a two-week-long service-learning component, the sophomores also apply their current knowledge of plastics materials to a practical problem. The “final exam” is a presentation of the service-learning projects.