Author: Sue Knott
What can you do with corn starch, corn oil and little water? Make bioplastic – of course! Our National Agriculture in the Classroom network is working to provide e-learning resources that students can easily complete at home to get a glimpse into the exciting and diverse world of agriculture. I thought that my daughters, 10 and 8, would be perfect people to try out one of these e-learning activities.
Once I presented this idea to my girls, they were excited to round up the supplies. We had everything they needed:
- corn starch
- corn oil (if you don’t have corn oil – vegetable oil, canola oil, olive oil, etc. will work)
- food coloring
- plastic sandwich bags
The bioplastic worksheet provided the recipe and instructions that they easily followed. They were even excited to complete the worksheet that asked them to describe how the soon-to-be plastic felt when they squished it before it was heated in the microwave!
After popping the bag with the starch, water, oil and food coloring in the microwave for 20 seconds, it was HOT! Be sure to let the entire bag cool for at least 10 minutes. The resulting bioplastic was flexible so it could be made into simple shapes and even rolled into a loose ball.
We were amazed how the easy ingredients could be used to create this bioplastic! My daughters were also amazed that corn has so many uses – food for us, feed for animals, starch and oil used to make plastic and lots of other things, and even fuel called ethanol!
Find the Directions & Lesson
We are lucky to have our partners across the nation with the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization working to develop resources that can help us all keep learning while we can’t be at school. Be sure to check out the activities for all K-12 levels on their website here and also explore our Minnesota e-learning page!