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while you're waiting for the food to come
Great for Science Fair projects!

While You're Waiting for the Food to Come
by Eric Muller, Illustrated by Eldon Doty


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click on the book cover above or on either cover version.
Go to the Do Science Store


Turn a piece of plastic into a work of art and science.

- A Number 6 Recyclable plastic container.
(Cut fruit, nuts and bakery items come in these types of containers. Many restaurants use these types of containers to hold "to go" orders. Even the white lids of paper/styrofoam coffee cups are often made of Number 6 plastic.)

- Scissors

- Oven

- Oven mitt

- Aluminum foil

- Colored permanent markers

The Recipe:
1) Get an adult to help you with this activity, especially the oven and sissors parts.

2) Check your container carefully and make sure it says that it is made out of "number 6" recyclable plastic. Other plastics will not work in this activity and may present a hazard if used.

3) Cut a flat piece from your plastic container.

4) Using colored permanent marker pens, draw something on your piece of plastic. You can make a cool design or simply write your name. If you use lots of different colors, your final piece will be more colorfull..

5) Pre-heat your oven 350 - 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

6) Place the plastic on top of a piece of aluminum foil. Make sure that foil underlies all of the plastic. Then, using an oven mit, carefully place the whole thing in the oven for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Watch.

7) You will see the plastic curl and shrink. When it flattens out again, it is done. With an oven mitt, carefully remove the foil and plastic from the oven. Let them cool for a few minutes before handling them.

8) Now marvel at your plastic design genius!

You may want to compare the size of your piece of plastic before and after heating. Hold it next to a ruler before and after placing it in the oven.

If you want to attach your shrunken plastic project on a string (it makes a great necklace or bracelet…), you should punch a hole in the plastic before you heat it.

Food for Thought:
Did your plastic shrink? More then likely, it shrank by about 75% of its original size. The material did not vanish; it just got more compact.
Heating this type of plastic (No. 6 recyclable) allowed the plastic molecules to slide around and reorient themselves into a more compact shape. When it cooled, the molecules became rigid again.

shrinky dinks

Copyright Do Science 2000. (originally done with F.G.M -1998)

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