Inspired by the Photo-Origami project at CU’s College of Engineering and Applied Science, this module uses unique design opportunities to help learners develop understandings of electromagnetic energy, energy transformations, change in physical systems and the relationships between scientific and engineering inquiry practices. Using science practices, teams will explore the nature of thermal and photoactive polymers and conduct a series of experiments to discover how and why they work. Using new knowledge gained from experimenting with these polymers, and their visual/spatial skills, learners will design, build, test and refine models of heat-activated, self-assembling structures.

Key Concepts: Electromagnetic Energy, Energy Transformations, Absorption, Physical Change, Design, Engineering and Science Inquiry Processes and Polymers

Our Partners and Sponsors:
The CU Boulder Photo-Origami Research Project

The CU Boulder College of Engineering and Applied Science 
The CU Boulder Materials Science and Engineering Program
National Science Foundation Website for the Photo-Origami Project

Related News and Press Resources

Teaching Resources 

Materials needed:

Photo-Origami Simple Lesson Plan and Module Overview

Photo-Origami: Bending and Folding Polymers with Light (The scientific paper behind our photo-origami experiments and activities.)

3D Printing Resources and Pre-Printed Polymer Sheet Files

Shrinky Dink Chemistry Activity

Teacher Introduction and a Basic Polymer/Shrinky Dink Activity

Conservation of Mass Using Shrinky Dink Activity
Science News about Shrinky Dinks and Polymers

Shape Memory Polymers in Medicine

Shape Memory Polymers-Current research and Future Applications