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Activity Number
Overview and Learning Objectives
Central Concepts
Benchmarks and Standards
Activity Credits

Polymerization (7 pp activity for advanced students)

Interactive, scaffolded model

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Overview and Learning Objectives

Students explore both polymers and copolymers. They use 2D and 3D models and chemical animations to do this. They investigate both addition polymerization and condensation polymerization, and then compare linear, branched, and cross-linked polymers. They connect the density of polymers with differences in their structure. Finally they connect polymer structures with their ease of destruction, and consider the importance for recycling.

Students will be able to:

  • compare linear, branched, and cross-linked polymers;
  • connect the density of polymers with differences in their structure;
  • connect polymer structures with their reversibility, and consider the importance for recycling.

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Central Concepts

Key Concept:

Both organic and inorganic polymers are made of monomers in certain patterns -- linear, branched, cross-linked -- that determine their characteristics.

Additional Related Concepts

Molecular Biology

  • Monomer
  • Polymer
  • Protein
  • Protein structure


  • Polymerization

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Benchmarks and Standards


  • THE PHYSICAL SETTING: THE STRUCTURE OF MATTER - The configuration of atoms in a molecule determines the molecule's properties (Full Text of Standard)

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Activity Credits

Created by CC: Molecular Literacy using Molecular Workbench

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Last Update: 12/07/2015 Maintainer: CC Web Team (webmaster@concord.org)
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All rights reserved.

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These materials are based upon work supported
by the National Science Foundation under grant numbers
9980620, ESI-0242701 and EIA-0219345

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this
material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect
the views of the National Science Foundation.