Common plastic is made from petroleum, a fossil fuel and non-renewable resource. Increasingly, plastic products are being made from biomass which is made from renewable resources, often by-products of agricultural processes.
Divide students into groups and give them the supplies for making their bioplastic. For younger grades, demonstrate the process to the students, asking them to hypothesize at the various stages what will happen and imagine what can be made from bioplastic. Older students can follow the directions and answer the questions on the attached worksheet.
To make the bioplastic, place the following ingredients in a plastic bag: 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, two drops of corn oil, one tablespoon of water and 2 drops of food coloring.
Seal the bag and gently mix the cornstarch mixture by rubbing the outside of the bag with your fingers until combined.
Place the bag in a microwave oven on high for 20-25 seconds. Open the bag slightly, making sure it can vent.
For full instructions, please download our PDF.
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Agriculture in the Classroom is a nationwide educational program designed to help students develop an awareness and understanding that agriculture is the source of our food, clothing, shelter and other essentials. In Oregon, the program is a non-profit, 501 (c)(3) foundation. The College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University (OSU) provides office space on the OSU campus.