MASON COUNTY — While elementary school children seem to learn more through hands-on activities, high school students still aren’t too to still get their hands dirty and learn with similar programs.
Students at Point Pleasant and Hannan High Schools took part in the PlastiVan Learning Program through the Polymer Alliance Zone and the National Society of Plastics Industries this week and learned hands-on about the technology, chemistry and processing of plastic products.
Hannan Principal Dr. Karen Oldham, along with Science Teacher Bridget Judy and eleventh grade students Autumn Ross and Laykin Stover, spoke to the Point Pleasant Register on their experience with this program. According to Judy, the purpose behind the program is to inform students that the plastic industry is the second biggest in West Virginia, the biggest being coal, and to discuss with students the various opportunities available in pursuing a career in this industry.
The program was set up in Judy’s classroom and students were able to participate in experiments including putting a skewer through a balloon and making slime, which Ross and Stover said were their favorite experiments. Oldham discussed the interactive activities, saying they were especially interesting because they included and were relevant to everyday items.
Oldham also said some of the students didn’t believe the experiments could be done, particularly the skewer and the balloon, but once the students saw they were possible, they were amazed. Oldham explained the skewer experiment, saying it is possible because the skewer is simply moving the polymers which make up the balloon and not breaking them, which would make it pop.
“It was really neat to see total interactive learning throughout the day,” Oldham said. She added that the teachers and students were still talking about the experiments the next day.
“The mission of the PlastiVan Program is to provide educational opportunities which spark scientific curiosity in students while increasing their knowledge of the contribution plastics make to modern life,” said Karen Facemyer, president of the Polymer Alliance Zone. “This is the third year we’ve brought the program to West Virginia and we hope it enhances student understanding of the processes involved in our local plastics industries.”
The program will also visit schools in Jackson and Wood Counties. For information on the PlastiVan Program visits or the Polymer Alliance Zone, contact Facemyer at 304-428-1622 or visit www.pazwv.org.