A Science Teacher’s Polymer Education Guide


Everything around us is made up of elements. Those elements string together to form molecules of specific things. For example, a molecule made of 2 hydrogen elements and 1 oxygen element makes water. Polymers are groups of molecules that are connected to create something tangible (something you can touch.) They may be solid, squishy, sticky, bendable, or anything else you can think of. Polymers can be natural, like those that make up the trunk of a tree or a chunk of rock, or they can be man-made. Man-made polymers are created with a goal in mind, such as to create a better tire, but the technology that led to being able to make specific polymers usually came with discoveries that allowed scientists to use specific molecules in different ways. This can be seen with the discovery of the vulcanization process for rubber, or of Nylon by the Dupont company.

Because everything that we see and use every day is made up of natural or synthetic (man-made) polymers, it’s important to know how they are created, how they can be used, and how they affect our lives. By understanding polymers, you may even think of a new way of making one, a new type of one, or a new way of using one already created to better the lives of those you know and care about. The resources provided here will give you a better understanding of polymers, as well as material resources for parents and educators.

Polymer Education

Polymer Educator Materials