Environmental Chemistry

Free Climate Science Workbook for Teachers

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.

Microplastics, Liquid Nitrogen, and Iodine: Polystyrene vs. Starch Foam Packing Peanuts

The differing electrostatic and solubility properties of starch and polystyrene foam packing peanuts are used in various demonstrations to describe aspects of microplastics and their interactions with the environment. Their differing responses to exposure to liquid nitrogen and iodine solutions are also described.

Surveying Litter as a Citizen Science Chemistry Activity

During the last few semesters, a small survey has been deployed at Bradley University where students were to describe and classify items of litter that they found. The purposes of the surveys were to get students thinking about some of the chemical implications of solid waste and give the students some experience with a citizen science project. The most recent iteration of the survey, and some of its results, are described.

Organic Chemistry and Tree Fruit: The Control of Ethylene-Induced Ripening of Fruit in Cold Storage Warehouses

Ethylene, C2H4, a volatile plant hormone stimulates fruit ripening and is also released during ripening. This post explains the role of ethylene in ripening and presents how the chemical identity of the ethylene scavenger used to suppress premature ripening during storage was determined.

Color Changing Coke and Mentos

What's a better way to start the new school year than with some new experiments? Learn how to use a variety of color changing experiments to teach students about the Diet Coke and Mentos experiment, acids, bases, chemical and physical changes, and climate change.

Ice Cores, Stable Isotopes, Climate Change, and Chemistry: Part 2

Two important types of information obtained from ice cores comes from the bubbles in the glacial ice and the stable oxygen and hydrogen isotopes within the frozen water molecules themselves. This post describes how the bubbles (air pocket 'fossils') and stable isotopes are used to determine the concentration of gases in the ancient atmosphere, particularly in relation to past temperatures.