Flashback Friday: The Plastics Fair at the Franklin Institute

The Franklin Institute had its 13th annual Plastics Chemistry Fair this past Saturday on January 29th from 11AM - 4PM. As brothers of Alpha Chi Sigma, the professional coed chemistry fraternity on campus, we volunteer at this event every year and have a blast!

Every year, The Philadelphia Section of the Society of Plastics Engineers presents the Plastics Fair. Dr. T, pictured above, is the man in charge of organizing the Plastics Fair. At this event, Dr. T puts on two of his very own shows and this year, his shows were called “That’s Fake-Plastics in the Movies” and “Plastics People.” Unfortunately, I was not able to see these shows, but I did have the chance to help run a table.

 

Each table had about 2-3 volunteers running it and I was running the “Interesting Ball” table with some of my fraternity brothers. We taught kids how to make silly putty out of glue, cornstarch, and Borax. Once they made it, they took it home with them! I’ll admit, it was tiring and very messy– there was cornstarch and silly putty everywhere. At the end of the day though, it was definitely worth it because it was so rewarding to see each child’s face light up when they saw the cornstarch stick together and become silly putty. And it wasn’t just the kids who learned something– the parents did too. A few parents were adamantly listening so they would be able to recreate the experiment at home.

Aside from the “Interesting Ball” table, there was also a table that showed how to make glitter slime and fake snow, while another table taught kids about putty while they played with it (pictured above).

At the end of the fair, four lucky kids were awarded $500 scholarships if they participated. Overall, it’s a great experience for the kids because they get to learn all about the amazing things that plastic can do. They can take what they have learned and make all sorts of fun science experiments at home. I would highly recommend The Plastics Fair to parents and I can’t wait for it to come around next year!