Unleakable Bag

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In this activity, learners explore the flexibility of polymer chains by pushing sharpened pencils through a Ziploc bag. The polyethylene polymers in the Ziploc bag mold to the shape of the pencil and seal the puncture in the bag before any water can escape. Activity includes a step-by-step instructions, suggested extensions, an explanation of the science behind the activity, and a section about how polymer chains are relevant to our lives. An activity video demonstration is also available from PBS.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Sandwich Ziploc bag
  • Water
  • 10 sharpened pencils
  • Large bowl or sink
  • Towels for clean up


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Technology
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Bonding


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Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • @Home Science


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