05 Demonstration Show

2023 Topic: Polymerization


This event is limited to the first 18 entries


Polymers, from the Greek “many parts,” are a class of large natural or synthetic molecules made up of repeating patterns of smaller carbon-based molecules known as monomers.  Plastics are formed during a polymerization reaction.  Every year 300 million tons of plastic are produced throughout the world. Plastics are used as containers, pipes, cushions, cars and even medical devices. 


Perform a live 3-minute demonstration for a general high school audience that safely demonstrates the concepts of polymerization. The presentation may include a single, dramatic demonstration or a pair of related demonstrations. Emphasis must be on the understanding of the chemistry involved in the reaction. The demonstration should also include the chemical reaction(s) and a model or picture of the polymer on the molecular level. (No Kits Allowed)

All demonstrations will be performed based on a pre-approved step-by-step procedure that must be submitted as a written report by Monday, April 17, 2023.  We recommend your general ideas EARLY in case of concerns from our Safety Coordinator.  You must detail what chemicals and other materials you are bringing to campus as well as personal protective equipment (PPE) you will bring and wear.  Minimum PPE would be safety goggles and gloves for all demonstrators.

Event Specific Requirements:

  • The event must be completed by a team of 2-3 students. 

  • Prepare a written report that describes the demonstration procedure including all chemicals and materials to be brought to NJIT. See Written Guidelines below. 

  • Each team will be allowed at most exactly 3 minutes to complete the presentation. Points will be deducted for going overtime. 

  • The demonstration will be carried out in a lecture hall that seats up to 125 students.  The demonstration will follow the procedure approved by the NJCO Director and NJIT Safety Coordinator.

  • Be sure to fully understand the basic chemical principles that are involved with the demonstration to prepare for challenging questions from the judges on Event Day. 

  • The demonstration area will be within a fume hood with a demonstration table equipped with a sink and electricity with a webcam connected to the lecture hall projector.  A fire extinguisher is available.

  • All necessary materials must be brought with you to NJIT. No equipment or chemicals will be provided. It is very important to ONLY bring chemicals and materials that were approved and in the concentrations and/or quantities listed in your procedure.  Any changes after submittal MUST be approved in writing by the NJCO Director and NJIT Safety Coordinator.

  • Students must observe the ACS Guidelines for Safe Demonstrations

Written Guidelines:

  • The written report (including diagrams, charts, etc.) may not exceed five pages - 12 pt., double-spaced.  Include a cover page with the School Name, Team A or B (if appropriate), include Student Names.

Written Report Must Include: 

  1. List of educational objectives that describe the goals of the presentation.  Include a brief statement on how your team developed the demo.

  2. Complete instructions and procedures for the safe method of doing the demonstration. Include at least THREE safety advisory and at least THREE environmental consideration statements as part of your written procedure, however they are not required as part of the live demonstration.

  3. List of chemicals, their hazard statements if any, supplies and other materials to be brought to campus.  Include appropriate chemical and material details (i.e., 50 mL of 1 M NaOH or 5 g of NaOH pellets, not just “NaOH”).

  4. Pertinent diagrams for set-ups, including citations if appropriate.

  5. Chemical reactions.

  6. Proper disposal of products.  All waste from the demonstration must be returned to the students’ high school for proper disposal. 

  7. List of relevant references.

  • Clearly identify the school, team (A or B), coach and names of students on top of the first page. 

  • All sources of information must be identified clearly. (Written sources and a list of people who provided assistance.)

  • A pdf copy of the complete report must be received by the NJCO Director by the deadline indicated in the Requirement Overview, Monday, April 17, 2023. 

  • Bring a printed copy of your report the day of the event.  You may bring a laptop or tablet to reference during the live demonstration, but you cannot bring electronic devices into the fume hood.

Judging Criteria

  • Safety,  10% 

  • Learning Objective/Paper,  10% 

  • Effectiveness of the demonstration in addressing the learning objective, 20% 

  • Knowledge of Subject,  30% 

  • Presentation & Style,  30% 

            Event Designed by Carrie Jacobus, River Dell High School, Oradell, NJ