Through the following key select activities, students make, test, and evaluate biodegradable films and gels. They use their knowledge to design devices that release a dye in a controlled manner as they degrade.
MWM will give students an opportunity to understand the world around them in a way they have never experienced before. The modules promote an awareness of the roles science and technology play in society and guide students to take increased control of their work.
Activity 3: Processing Biodegradable Materials and Comparing Their Mechanical Properties
Students process gelatin, a biodegradable material, into a gel and into two films that vary in density. They discover how these materials vary in strength and compressibility.
Activity 4: Measuring the Degradation Rates of Biodegradable Materials
Environmental conditions can affect the rate at which a biodegradable material breaks down. Students test the effect of pH and temperature on the degradation rates of the gel, films, and other materials they worked with in the previous Activity.
Design Project 1: Designing a Medicine-Delivery Device
Students use what they learned about the processing and degradation of biodegradable materials to develop a model of a medicine-delivery device, which they enter in a contest. Students use gelatin to make the device, and a dye is used in place of medicine. During the contest, students' devices will be tested in a warm acid solution, which simulates conditions in the human stomach.
Connecting to Your Curriculum
Materials World Modules are designed to be easily incorporated into any middle school science or high school science lab or lecture course. The chart below lists the subjects covered in the Activity and Design Project sections of this module.
Physics & Physical Science
Geology & Earth Science
Biology and Life Science
Sharon McCoy talks about the Biodegradable Materials Module