Materials List: Lab Research to Engineer a Phosphorescent Bioplastic

For the intro activity:

  • UV beads, 4 per student; such as from a 2-ounce package of (~250) ultraviolet detecting beads for $7 at Educational Innovations Inc.
  • string, 6-inches per student; OR pipe cleaner, one per student
  • LED UV flashlight, also known as a “black light,” such as 1 nine-LED UV flashlight for $6 each at Art n’ Glow or 5 for $12 at Amazon
  • LED flashlight, such as 4 nine-LED mini aluminum flashlights for $20 at Amazon or 1 for $1 at Wal-Mart
  • extra AA or AAA batteries for flashlights, if not included with purchased flashlights
  • heat lamp, such as a 250-watt incandescent infrared red heat lamp light bulb with brass base for $9 at Wal-Mart
  • (optional) cameras or cell phones, to take photos of beads
  • a small amount of phosphorescent powder; such as from a 1-ounce pouch at Art n’ Glow, for the intro light station demonstration
  • (optional) black film canister, in which to place a small amount of phosphorescent power, such as from a 20-pack for $11 at Amazon
  • Intro Activity Handout, one per person
  • Electromagnetic Spectrum Handout, one per person
  • access to a computer and projector, to show the Intro Activity Presentation, a PowerPoint® file
  • (optional) example fluorescent and phosphorescent items to show students, such as highlighter ink (fluorescent), glow-in-the-dark stickers and toys (phosphorescent) and/or black light posters

For the research, hypothesis and experimental step, each group needs:

  • Problem, Research and Hypothesis Handout, one per person
  • access to a computer with Internet, to conduct reactant research
  • Lab Procedure for Samples Handout, the four sheets of this 16-page file that pertain to the group’s assigned reactant (if four students in team, each student gets one of the four sheets)
  • hot plate
  • 4 petri dishes, such as 20 for $6.25 at Flinn Scientific
  • Sample Size Template; this sheet includes 20 sample templates (little square shapes to cut out) and each group needs four, so print as many of this sheet as needed
  • permanent marker, to label petri dishes
  • aluminum foil, to line some petri dishes
  • 2 silicone spatulas, such as a heat-resistant silicone spreader for $1.88 each at Wal-Mart
  • timer or stopwatch; cell phones work well for this task
  • 1,000-ml beaker
  • 100-ml graduated cylinder
  • 2 x 10-ml graduated cylinder, for vinegar and glycerin
  • 2 x 250-ml beaker, so one can cool between making samples
  • electronic balance
  • weight paper and metal spatulas, for measuring corn starch and phosphorescent powder
  • 2 disposable pipettes, for measuring vinegar and glycerin
  • corn starch, ~500 grams for entire class (total reactant amounts depend on group experiment designs)
  • vinegar, ~200 ml for entire class
  • glycerin, ~200 ml for entire class, such as from a 6 fluid ounce (177 ml) bottle of Humco USP emollient demulcent for $3.88 at Wal-Mart pharmacy
  • water, tap water is fine
  • phosphorescent (daytime white/glow) powder; one 1-ounce pouch of daytime white, white glow powder for $15 at Art n’ Glow

For quantitative analysis, each group needs:

For one teacher-prepared quantitative testing apparatus to share with the class, as described in the Testing Apparatus Construction Step-by-Step Instructions (a PowerPoint® file):

  • ring stand with 2 clamps
  • cardboard box, 29.3 x 20.3 x 12 cm; this box size available at Wal-Mart
  • masking tape
  • box cutter
  • UV light, the same flashlight used for the intro activity
  • light sensor probe, such as the LS-BTA light sensor for $55 at Vernier; see alternative suggestion below
  • LabQuest, a standalone interface used to collect sensor data with built-in graphing and analysis application; such as the LabQuest2 for $329 at Vernier; see alternative suggestion below
  • access to computer to run LabQuest software
  • Student-Created Testing Apparatuses & Procedure Write-Ups/Slides Grading Rubric, one per group

To share with the entire class:

  • an adequate supply of safety glasses, heat gloves and lab aprons

Equipment alternative: If cost or availability of the light probe and LabQuest are problematic, students can perform qualitative analysis (instead of quantitative analysis using the light probe and LabQuest) of the samples’ phosphorescent glow by charging all samples with a large UV light (such as this 18-inch fluorescent lamp, a black light, for $43 at Flinn Scientific) and then ordering/ranking them by their glow (see Figure 2).

For making (optional extension) student-created testing apparatuses for quantitative analysis, each team needs a cardboard box (can be of various sizes such as package boxes, cereal boxes and/or bulk candy boxes (like those that hold multiple candy bars at store check-out lines; have students bring from home during the week before the activity) and the same rest of the materials as listed above for the teacher-prepared testing apparatus.

For the poster/presentation conclusion, each group needs:

For (optional) second activity extension to analyze combined group data and make glowing toys:

  • Class Data Table Handout, one per person
  • silicone molds, such as a set of 7 Star Wars characters silicone ice cube trays for $15 at Amazon
  • (optional) spray lubricant, for the silicone molds before bioplastic added