On Friday last, Year 5 ventured across Bartlett Park to the Poplar Union community space, to meet with scientists from the University of Kent – how exciting! The workshop was called ‘Plastic Unwrapped’.

Together with Discover Planet, the students explored the question: what is plastic made from? The answer lies with polymers.

Polymers are made up of small connected molecules known as monomers – when a bunch of monomers connect together in a chain, they form a polymer (‘poly‘ comes from a Greek word meaning ‘many‘).

So, we created paper chains of monomers connecting together to form a polymer, and then we connected sodium (blue paper) and calcium (red paper) to these polymers, to show a reaction taking place.

After that, we conducted an experiment using sodium chloride and calcium where we mixed them together using syringes and special safety goggles.

We noticed that the sodium reacted with the calcium and formed a slightly tougher substance.

“It feels sticky and gooey!” – Samim

Everyone had a lot of fun, and we can’t wait for the second workshop next week! #plasticunwrapped