If you want a year of smooth sailing in the classroom, you’re gonna need some rules. Without them, your grand visions of collaboration can quickly go downhill. In this STEAM lesson plan, we not only introduce students to the world of polymers, but we also introduce them to the six essentials that are needed for group work to be successful. This lesson will take approximately 45 minutes to complete and is ideal for grades 5-12.
Materials Needed Per Group:
- Six sharp pencils (have a pencil sharpener available)
- Ziplock Baggie
- Handout, Team Spear-It (one copy per student, click here for a printable version)
- Brainstorm and discuss: What are some important rules for group work and why?
- Distribute handout and allow students to fill out the six essentials of group work as you go over them in class:
- Get along with each other
- Respect Others
- On Task All The Time
- Use Soft Voices
- Participate Actively
- Stay with Your Group
- Inform students they will be putting the rules to the test today and will see that, when you take one of the rules away, things could get messy.
- Divide students into groups and hand out supplies. (Note: Baggies should be filled approximately half full.)
- Students say one of the group rules for each pencil they as they poke it through the bag.
- Once all six pencils are in place, students show their bag to the teacher.
- Groups go to sink and remove one pencil at a time.
- Answer discussion questions in their group and then together as a class.
Why didn’t the bag leak?
Baggies are made of a material known as a polymer. Polymers have long chains of flexible molecules. When you poke a sharp pencil through the baggie, the pencil slides in between the chain of molecules that make up the polymer. The molecule chains will make a seal around the pencil that won’t let the water out.