In December of 2021, a group of researchers lead by CSP Investigator Jane Wissinger published a new curricula for middle and high school classrooms titled: Thirst for a Solution: Alginate Biopolymer Experiments for the Middle and High School Classroom. This comprehensive curricula was built around the synthesis of biodegradable calcium alginate capsules prepared from food-safe chemicals and modeled after real commercial products seeking to replace single-use plastic packaging. The materials are readily available from the supermarket or Amazon and the synthesis of the capsules can be performed in the kitchen (great for remote learning), classroom, or outreach setting.
Assistant Professor Louis Pitet of Materials Chemistry at Hasselt University in Belgium – a former graduate student in the Hillmyer Lab – reached out to Investigator Wissinger to highlight a milestone of the work. Hasselt University performed the experiments and activities with over 150 high school age students in 2022! Professor Pitet noted: “It was a ton of fun. It worked really well with the instructions provided. I just wanted to say thank you! Really inspiring.”