Author: Sandra Van Natta
Source: Hall, Sue; Harris, Mary; Knipp, Rebecca; and Van Natta, Sandra; Industrial Processes of Polymers: How Are Toys Made? A Workshop for Elementary and Middle Level Teachers, The Polymer Ambassadors, 2003
Students explore the ties between science and technology as they simulate the plastic manufacturing processes of extrusion, injection molding and blow molding. Interest is stimulated, and questions are initiated, as students examine a variety of simple plastic toys. Students try to find traits that would lead them to suggest a process by which a given toy was made. Next, students form "manufacturing companies" and actually extrude a product using a common toy - the Play-Doh Fun Factory®. Students also make an injection molded product using a hot glue gun, and a blow molded product using plastic tubing and a simple mold. Finally, students review their original set of toys and classify them as injected, extruded, or blow molded.