Authentic Context in STEM Education: Chemistry

How Bio are Bioplastics?

Bioplastics as PLA (Polylactide) have become very popular in the packaging industry. For example, PLA is often used as a material for yogurt cups and is the most widely used material in the private 3D printing sector.
They are considered to be resource-efficient to produce and compostable. But does that really make them better for the environment?








AC in this Example

Characteristics of AC

How to use AC in STEM Ed

Are bioplastics an alternative to classic plastics? The answer to this question is important both for the students' personal lives and for the economy as a whole.


Authentic Contexts are characterized as follows: 

  • Authentic contexts are curricular topics integrated in tasks about real world problems that are meaningful to students.
  • These tasks should gain the student’s attention, increase their interests and willingness to learn.
  • Several different competences should be needed to solve the task.
  • The relevance of STEM-skills to solve the task should be evident
  • The benefit of collaboration between students should be clear.

Generic tasks should be used, i.e., tasks which product might be an outcome in the real world (of work) or, at least, are similar in such a way that it illustrates how real world (of work) problems are solved. 

Optionally, these tasks include…

  • ... employment of digital resources.
  • … descriptions of STEM - job profiles connected to this task.
  • … Project based learning!

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