We use plastic objects every day. But what is plastic? If we zoomed in for a closer look, we'd see that it’s made of lots of long molecule chains called polymers. Most of today's plastics are made in a lab and not environmentally friendly, but nature can make useful polymers too! For example, natural rubber and paper are both created from natural polymers that are biodegradable. In this activity you will use polymers made by algae and a bit of chemistry to create your own custom string!
Create your own colorful string creations using ingredients that come from algae. Then craft fun things with your string!
Biodesign, Chemistry, Materials Science
Make algae gel: 20 min
Let gel rest: 1 hr- overnight
Make calcium bath: 5 min
Make string: 30 min
Polymers, chemical reactions, biomaterials, fiber arts
This activity was made possible by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA), Grant Number R25 GM129220, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Learn more with our videos
Learn more with our PDF guides
Algae String Activity Guide
Follow this guide to turn powdered algae into a string using chemistry!
Algae String Essential Questions
Get answers to some of the sticky questions frequently asked by adults.
Algae String Tool Chest
The inside scoop on how different tools might affect your gel or string.
Algae String Mizuhiki Knots
Try these simple instructions to tie your own decorative Japanese knots.