Water crystal polymers

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Water crystal polymers
Age Range 3-5 (PreK-K), 5-8 (grades 1-2), 8-11 (grades 3-5)
Group Size small (1-5), medium (6-20), large (21+)
Setting indoors
Setup Time short (0-5 min)
Duration short (5-10 min)
Subjects water, polymers
Key terms polymers, molecules, hydrophobic, hydrophilic
Materials water crystals, water, bowl
Presentation Style demonstration

Brief Description

Students will watch water crystals absorb many times their volume in water. 1 pound of water crystals can absorb 50 gallons of water!

Scientific Background

Polymers are made up of many many molecules all strung together to form really long chains.

Most common synthetic polymers are said to be hydrophobic (water-fearing), which means that they do not absorb water. Examples of these polymers might include products such as plastic cups, bags, and plastic toys. There are also hydrophilic, or water-loving polymers. Many natural polymers such as cotton fibers are hydrophilic.

These type of polymers are most commonly used in baby diapers, but they are also used when gardening to help keep moisture need plants.

1 pound of water crystals can hold 50 gallons of water!

This Is How You Play

  1. Put about a tablespoon of water crystals in a bowl of water.
  2. Wait about 5 hours then observe.
  3. Let students feel the water crystals before and after they absorb water.

See Also


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