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Super Shrinkers

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    American Chemical Society

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Super Shrinkers

In this activity on page 14 of the PDF (Rethinking the 3 R’s: It’s Easy to be Green), learners turn plain pieces of recycled plastic into shrunken works of art. Explore the unique properties of plastic, including what happens when certain plastic is melted in a conventional or toaster oven.
Safety notes: Adult supervision required. Follow Milli's safety tips on page 13.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per student)

  • Conventional or toaster oven
  • One or two clear or white polystyrene containers (Resin ID code 6)
  • Blunt-end scissors
  • Oven mitts
  • Colored permanent markers
  • Metric ruler
  • Cookie sheet or metal tray
  • Aluminum foil
  • Colored pencils (optional)
  • Fine sandpaper (optional)
  • Hole punch (optional)
  • String (optional)


  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Bonding
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Department of Volunteer Support, American Chemical Society


  • All Rights Reserved, American Chemical Society, ©2012