The innovation engine for new materials

Tiffany Cunningham


Santa Maria High School

Grade Level: 

High School

Teaching Position: 



Chris Bates




Jacob Blankenship

Research Project Year: 


Research Project Title: 

Biodegradable Thermoplastic Elastomers & Supramolecular Dynamic Networks: A Short Study into Polymers

Research Project Description: 

This summer we studied an area of polymers science that holds potential to advance the performance of thermoplastics and also their potential biodegradibility.  In one project, we were able to determine the mechanical stress/strain capabilities of a new polymer.  In a related project we used synthesis techniques and molecular components to fabricate and investigate a new polymer, Nb-P4MCL-UPY-PLA. This was an iterative, collaborative project that can result in a class of polymers that could be equivalent to petroleum-derived plastics.

Curriculum Project Year: 


Curriculum Project Title: 

Chemistry: Climate Change and Ocean Acidification

Curriculum Project Description: 

This unit was specifically designed for high school science students currently studying chemistry and each lesson is designed for a 50-minute class period. The focus is on two units of NGSS: Unit 5: Chemistry of Climate Change, and Unit 6: The Dynamics of Chemical Reactions & Ocean Acidification. These units are part of Chemistry of Earth Systems, which is one of the courses in the NGSS three-course integrated model. As such, this work is a combination of both physical science and earth science. Special emphasis was put upon the cycling of carbon through various spheres, in different reactions, and through organisms. Additionally, students will close this unit with their own presentations to address impacts of climate change on a specific organism, predictions of future impacts, and a solution to address specific causes of these impacts. 

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