A COMMODITY MATERIAL AS A MAIN DRIVING FORCE: A PROJECT BASED LEARNING IN POLYMER CHEMISTRY
Universidad del País Vasco (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 15th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2023
Location: Palma, Spain
Abstract:More and more teachers are involved in the development of new active methodologies and their implementation in a wide range of different subjects and areas. In our case, we focus on those implementations carried out in the area of polymer chemistry. Although we try to develop very sophisticated activities, an easier and closer example may be more effective for students. The polymer area teachers see how every year the phobia towards plastics grows among our students, influenced by the social alarm generated by the environmental problems derived from their misuse. Therefore, the main problem we need to address is the poor reputation of these materials. To this end, we have developed a project-based methodology. In this context, instead of looking for a shiny new application for polymers, we focused on a common polymeric material whose use is crucial. Thus, for example, a commonly used object such as band-aids can be the perfect driving force to introduce polymer chemistry. In this activity, students will analyze the materials necessary for the development of a plaster, as well as the importance of plasters in our lives. Once the materials, their characteristics and their synthesis have been analyzed, the students will formulate more sustainable alternatives for those more environmentally questionable components. Throughout this project, students not only get their learning about polymeric materials reinforced, but also lose part of their previous phobias, whereas improving some transversal skills such as critical thinking and teamwork, among others.
Keywords: Polymer Chemistry, Undergraduates, active learning.