What is our history?
The Polymer Ambassador Program has been active since 1992. Our team of twenty active Polymer Ambassadors is visible at area and national NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) conferences, local school in-service meetings for teachers, local area schools for students, national ACS (American Chemical Society) conventions, and summer conferences like BCCE and ChemEd. Our sessions have attendance numbers that range from a few to over a hundred. If one teacher, who implements one idea from our presentations impacts one hundred students in a year, we assume that every year we are helping 200,000 students become more chemically knowledgeable about polymers. Having an impact on over 1.5 million students in the last few years is impressive!
Publications since 1998:
- “A Classroom of Polymer Factories”, Mary Harris and Sandra Van Natta, Science & Children, NSTA, February, 1998.
- “Athletic Shoes: Studies in Compounding Polymers” kit and module, Sandra Van Natta, Mary Harris, and Suzanne Hall, Carolina Biological Supply Company, 1999.
- “Investigating the Cuprammonium Rayon Process in a High School Laboratory”, with Lauren J. Pickard (student) and Mary Harris, Journal of Chemical Education, November, 1999.
- “Meeting the Needs of New Science Teachers”, Sue Hall, Science Scope, NSTA, March, 2000.
- “Lavosier Measures With Polymers”, Wayne Goates, Science Scope, NSTA, September, 2000.
- “Food Packaging: A Learning Cycle of Activities” Mary Harris, Wayne Goates, Lynn Higgins, and Sandra Van Natta, NMLSTA, January, 2001.
- “Elastomers: the polymers with memory”, Mary Harris, Wayne Goates, and Sue Hall, Polymer Ambassador Program, February 2001
- “Slurper Balls”, Mary Harris, Science Scope, NSTA, January, 2002.
- “Shrinking Science”, Wayne Goates, Science Scope, NSTA, February, 2002.
- “Packing Peanut Properties”, Sue Hall and Dori Hall, Science & Children,February 2002.
- “Designer Sneakers”, Mary Harris, Sue Hall and Sandra Van Natta on the Akron Global Polymer Academy Web Site– uploaded fall of 2003
- “How Toys Are Made”, Sue Hall, Becky Knipp, Mary Harris and Sandra Van Natta on the Akron Global Polymer Academy Web Site – uploaded fall of 2003
- “Pondering Packing Peanut Polymers”, Sue Hall and Jill Donahue, of Chemical Education, November 2003. Take this link to the Journal Table of Contents for November 2003.
- “Extended Science Learning”, Sue Hall and Perry Cook, ENC Journal, June, 2005
- “The Fizz Keeper: A Useful Science Tool”, John Williams, Sandra Van Natta, and Rebecca Knipp, of Chemical Education, Oct. 2005
- “Polymer Ambassadors On the WWW”, Mary Harris, of Chemical Education, June 2006.
- “Using a Glucometer in Advanced High School Biology or Chemistry Class”, Marie Sherman, Chem 13 News, October 2005
- “Chemical Bonding Makes a Difference!”, Mary Harris, of Chemical Education, October 2006.This link will take you to the Table of Contents for October 2006. This has an online PowerPoint presentation that subscribers have access to for use in their classrooms.
- “How Does a Glucometer Work?”, Marie Sherman, Chem 13 News, December 2006.
- “Sorting Recycled Trash: An Activity for Earth Day 2007”, Mary and Hal Harris, of Chemical Education, February 2007. This has an online slide show of Smurfit Recycling Plant in St. Louis, MO.
- “Polymers in the Field and Track”, Mary Harris, of Chemical Education, October 2008. Supporting JCE Online materials.
- “Impact of Polymers in Impact Sports”, Sandy VanNatta and John R. Williams, of Chemical Education, October 2008. Supporting JCE Online materials.
- “POLYMER AMBASSADORS: A Novel Program to Promote Pre-college Learning about Polymeric Materials”, Sandra VanNatta and Lynn Higgins, Journal of Macromolecular Science, Part C: Polymer Reviews, October 2008
- “A Novel, Simplified Scheme for Plastics Identification”, Mary Harris and Barbara Walker,
J. of Chemical Education, February 2010, Vol. 87. No. 2. pages 147-149. Supporting JCE
Recognition and Awards of the Polymer Ambassadors:
The Polymer Ambassadors have been honored as leaders in K-12 education, including five winners of Presidential Awards for Science Teaching.
- Five Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching
- One state finalist Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in Illinois
- One Golden Apple Fellow
- One inductee to the High School Athletic Hall of Fame in Ohio
- Four PolyEd awards for outstanding polymer science teaching
- Two Ohaus Awards
- Three Chemical Manufacturers Association Catalyst Awards
- Two State Teacher of the Year Awards
- One Disney Award for teaching (it included a parade at Disney World)
- A single PA and her students won eight regional and seven national awards in ExploraVision using polymers in designs for future technologies
- Two National Board Certifications
- Three Kishor M. Kolkarni Distinguished High School Science Teaching Awards
- Four Board Members of the National Middle Level Science Teachers Assn.
- One High School Science Teacher of the Year in Mississippi
- Three Tandy Technology Awards
- Two Regional ACS High School Teaching Awards
- Six National Material Science Instructors
- Ambassadors published about 25 articles in leading journals.
- Four Ambassadors played a major role in developing the original “Hands on Plastics Kits” and several were involved in a recent revision. “HOP2” Kits are available from the American Chemistry Council.
- One serves on ASM High School Outreach Committee
- One on the ASM Education Foundation Board.
- One presented to the Washington State Legislature.
- One on the Washington State Governor’s education outreach committee.
- One on the Puget Sound Aviation Consortium committee.
- Several participated in program design and were presenters at the Akron Global Polymer Academy.
- Several helped design a major polymer exhibit at Epcot Center.
- One worked with the state Alabama on a STEM project for middle schools based on their polymer presentation on bioplastics.
- One communicated with curriculum directors from Oregon and Alaska about how to use polymer activities with ESL kids.
- One is on a writing team for Ford Motor Company on “The Chemistry of Cars.”