Combine literature, science, and math in one fun lesson! Bring the book Zack’s Alligator to life by having students grow their own polymer gators. In addition to learning about polymer science, students build math skills as they measure and record their gators’ growth. This kit comes with everything you need, including activity materials and step-by-step instructions.
How Does It Work?
The alligator is made using two very different types of polymers:
a hydrophilic (water loving), superabsorbent polymer and a hydrophobic (water avoiding) polymer. The hydrophilic polymer
is a super absorber and is similar to the polymer found in baby diapers. Think of this polymer as chains of billions of microscopic, identical sponges that absorb water – lots of water using hydrogen (H) bonding with the polymer molecules. Superabsorbent polymers start out as very tightly compacted and twisted-together molecules. They soak up tremendous amounts of water because as the water is drawn into and held by the molecules of the polymer, it expands, untwists, and exposes more of its water-holding molecules to the water. These polymers can absorb as much as 500 times their weight in plain water. The hydrophobic polymer does not absorb water at all but it’s very elastic. This polymer holds the shape of the alligator as it absorbs water (stretches) and as it loses water (shrinks) through evaporation. It also acts as a “skin” to keep the alligator from turning into powder as it dries. It’s the framework of the alligator.
- 24 growing polymer alligators
Size: 4½”L each
- 1 reproducible growth chart
Size: 11″ by 17″
- 1 large alligator
Size: 10″L (grows to 30″L)
- Water Gel
Size: 20 gm
- 1 small zip-top clear plastic bag to hold Water Gel
1 measuring scoop
- 1 full-color teaching and activity guide
- 1 zip-top plastic storage bag
- The “Zack’s Alligator” book