Short descriptions of demonstrations and props that Dean Campbell has used while teaching his collegiate Environmental Chemistry course. Many of these examples are also suitable for use in high school and collegiate General Chemistry courses.
The theme to the 2022 National Chemistry Week, observed October 16-22, is “Fabulous Fibers: The Chemistry of Fabrics”. A visit to Natural Fiber Welding, Inc. in Peoria, IL, revealed how that company is using ionic liquids to solvent weld cellulose fibers together to produce more durable yarn which can then be made into more durable fabric. The production method and “greenness” of the product is discussed, from the cellulose itself to the recycling of the solution used in the welding process. Macroscopic demonstrations of the fiber solvent welding process are also described.
Learn a bit about the chemical reactions that occur during a lightning strike, and how you can demonstrate these reactions in your classroom.
Flash rocks, typically pieces of quartz that produce light when struck together, are an example of the complex phenomenon of triboluminescence. The green chemistry aspects for the flash rock demonstration are considered, and LEGO models illustrating quartz crystals, piezoelectric materials, and nonpiezoelectric materials are presented.
Continuation of the practical application of chemistry to seemingly something unrelated- global maritime trade. In this classroom activity students predict the buoyancy (and hence stability) of a merchant cargo ship based on interpretation of seawater surface salinity values. Like in the first three posts, the question types are conceptual.
This is the third post in a series dealing with seawater chemistry and global maritime trade. This classroom activity introduces the concept of salinity and tasks students to predict the range of salinities in certain regions of the ocean (coastal and open water, all four hemispheres, high and lower latitudes). Enjoy...
Maritime shipping is the backbone of global commerce and trade. How is the chemistry of seawater involved in the complex, intertwined network of international trade? Let's find out.
The classic classroom or lab activity using coin flips to illustrate the first order kinetics of radioactive decay is connected to the tragedy of radiation exposure of workers at facilities using radium-containing luminescent paint. Some of the chemistry related to the contamination of these “radium girls” is explored, with connections being made to the Principles of Green Chemistry and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Check out this citizen science inspired review of anthocyanin extractions that can be attempted at home
The Wisconsin initiative for Science Literacy has published Science Climate Concepts Fit Your Classroom - A Workbook for Teachers. This is a free online Workbook, readily available for secondary teachers and college faculty. This workbook includes many hands on activities that incorporate traditional science classroom concepts within the context of climate science.