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The Macrogalleria
Department of Polymer Science - University of Southern Mississippi
Department of Polymer Science - University of Southern Mississippi
Web Site/Portal
Basic, Medium, Advanced
Problem solving, Self-learning
Life Chemistry, Materials Science, Industrial Chemistry
Primary School, Lower Secondary School, Upper Secondary School
The Macrogalleria is a “cyberwonderland of polymer fun”. It is also available on CD ROM to be purchased upon request. The opening page presents links to a teacher and student guide, a searching tool and a collection of online quizzes. Links to other polymer related sites are presented: Visit Polydelphia, Polymer Learning Center and Meet Paul Lemur; as well as, a link to the “Chime” plugin which is needed to visualize molecular models within the presented resource.
The site consists of six levels divided by topic but interconnected by links redirecting the user to other levels:
(1) Polymers are everywhere – it is presented as a virtual shop containing polymer stuff of several origins. Shops like “Clothing Inc”, “Paint and Decor”, “Food Court” could be found. The text includes pictures of the products and description of its composition in terms of polymeric materials. Within the text, several links directing the reader to level two, where a more detailed description of the used polymer is made, are included.
(2) Polymers up close and personal – this level contain details about the polymer structure, chemistry and applications. It describes 35 polymers and the text presents links to other related polymers, e.g., a polymer like nylon that is used to make fibers could be linked to other polymers used in similar applications.
(3) How they work – in this level general classification and concepts used in polymer science are presented. Among them, the concept of molecular weight, crosslinking, crystalinity, transition temperatures are presented. A short summary dealing with polymer mechanical properties is also presented. There are several pictures to illustrate polymer structure and properties.
(4) Makin’ Polymers – this is a module devoted to polymer synthesis. Some links directing to illustrative movies are presented.
(5) Getting polymers to talk – this module deals with experimental characterization. The use of methods such as Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), Size exclusion Chromatography (SEC), and Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), are presented.
(6) Polymer Processing – this modules gives an introduction to polymer processing putting in evidence how polymer objects can be made. Comparatively to the other levels this one is less developed.
An additional level entitled “How polymers work” is also provided whose objective is to see questions and answers about polymers everyday life.
A link to Kids’ Macrogalleria, a version dedicated to kids, is also presented and could be used with younger publics.
Although the site presents other language versions, some of them are not working and the available translations correspond to a previous one.
Some features are not working properly, namely tridimensional molecular models based on Chime (discontinued plugin) and the collection of online quizzes.
As a chemical engineer with interests in polymer science I could not fail to include this site. It could be a valuable tool to teachers who want to follow an everyday life chemistry approach, as well as to teach technological aspects, which are key issues in actual chemistry curricula. It presents two versions (The Macrogalleria and Kids’ Macrogalleria) making it easily adaptable for students of all levels and general society.
The site is well organized following a structure of interconnected levels (topics) where each user can design/follow its own network. Nevertheless the enumerated weak points, I still consider it a valuable teaching tool. An upgrade of the present version aiming at restore some of the lost capabilities is recommended.
Instituto Politécnico de Bragança

Comments about this Publication

Your comments are welcome

Date: 2014.12.09

Posted by Mariusz Jarocki (Poland)

Message: Is the teaching resource described useful for you? Why?
The resource is a web site of knowledge focused on polymers. It is a simple demonstration that a limitation of issues considered by a teaching resource has a positive effect on quality and consistency of material. It is reliable and useful despite rather conservative and non-spectacular audio-visual methods used to present it.

Do you think it can increase students’ interest toward chemistry? Why?
I think so, with little reservations. Nowadays students require from the IT presentations more than the site offers. The fundamental problem is lack of interactive solutions. With strongly limited range of issues and - what is more important - issues required solid foundations of general knowledge of chemistry, it is hard to hope for many new stakeholders.

Do you think it can help students to understand better and faster? Why?
The site has certainly pedagogical value. It is good as complementary tool in teaching chemistry.

Do you think it proposes an innovative didactic approach? Why?
The approach used in the material is rather traditional and based on the academic-style of lectures. To make lessons based on the material innovative, we have to do some additional work.

Date: 2013.02.03

Posted by José Ángel Ruiz García (Spain)

Message: If you are looking for visual material of the different polymers, this is an ideal website, especially to work the tridimensional structure and overall features of polymers in the classroom. This is remarkably useful as it is normally complicated for students to understand their structure. There are many polymers which are usually used when teaching Biology. Thanks to these materials, pupils can see molecules instead of just reading them. Advantages: intuitive website offering clear and easy-to-find information. Moreover, you can choose among several languages. Drawbacks: a rudimentary presentation. On first sight, it seems a low-quaility website despite the high quality of materials.

Date: 2012.10.03

Posted by Elena Ghibaudi (Italy)

Message: The Macrogalleria is a website portal that describes the world of natural and synthetic polymers, under different viewpoints. It is exploitable at distinct teaching levels (from primary school to the upper secondary school) and it is available in different languages. Although the level of interactivity is limited, the website design is very captivating and the site can be easily surfed by any cyber-visitor.
The website is conceived as a “cyberwonderland of polymer fun” structured on 6 distinct “floors”. Each stage takes into account one aspect of polymers, which is extensively described inside the several “windows” found at each floor. The information contents are accurate and their level of complexity increases from the first towards the fifth floor. The following topics are discussed:
Level One: Polymers Are Everywhere (polymer-made objects )
Level Two: Polymers Up close and personal (description of the different kind of polymers and their structures)
Level Three: How they work (polymers’ properties)
Level Four: Making Polymers (polymers’ synthesis)
Level Five: Getting Polymers to Talk (the techniques employed for characterising them)
Level Six: Polymer Processing (polymers’ industrial processing)
In addition, a special section for kids is included.
The information content is presented as an hypertext,
The resource is useful as a teaching support for several reasons:
it adapts to different teaching levels
it is a rich and accurate source of information
it highlights the close relationships between polymers and everyday life and is likely to promote the students’ interest towards chemistry
it provides clear explanations, that may help students to understand the chemistry of polymers. It may be used also for self-learning
This site can be exploited by science teachers as a teaching support, in spite of the low interactive character and although it does not propose any innovative didactical approach.

National Reports on successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry The national reports on chemistry successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry are now available on the related section of the project portal. The reports presents examples of successful experiences in the partner countries and the results of testing of ICT resources with science teachers.