Earth, Fire, and Air:
Can Fast, Gas-Forming Reactions Save Lives?
The development of air-bag systems for automobiles is
used as a case study for introducing a variety of gas-forming
reactions and their stoichiometry. Students learn how
to determine mass/mole relationships, balance equations,
and carry out gas law calculations.
Chemistry: Driving the Reactions of Integrated Circuit
The fabrication of integrated circuits on silicon-based
semiconductors is used to introduce students to the
rapidly growing industry of semiconductor processing.
Enthalpy, entropy and Gibbs free energy will be introduced
sequentially as the various fabrication steps are considered.
Should We Do About Global Warming?
Groups of students will analyze the historical
data set of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide,
and chlorofluorocarbons and attempt to account for the
increasing concentrations of these 'greenhouse gases'
by finding their source and sink reactions. Students
will then design an international global warming policy
based on scientific data, but also taking into consideration
environmental, social, political, and economic realities.
Why does the Ozone
This module is driven by the question, "Why
does the ozone hole form in the Antarctic Spring?"
Students will use the world wide web to learn about
the structure of the atmosphere and the ozone layer,
when the ozone hole is formed, and its current status.
The oxygen chemistry which "naturally" makes
and destroys ozone will be covered, along with the 2-step
Cl-catalyzed cycle proposed in 1974 by Rowland and Molina.
The unique Antarctic meteorology and heterogeneous chemistry
will complete the story. Emphasis is placed on using
chemical kinetics in a real context by using rate concepts
and calculations to answer relevant questions about
ozone. The skill of learning to support or refute a
scientific hypothesis with evidence is strongly emphasized
throughout, as well as the interplay of experimental
data and theoretical models.
a Better CD Player: How Can You Get Blue Light from
This module challenges students to think
about a materials design question, how to get light
out of a solid, during two to three weeks of their chemistry
course. Light-emitting solids are essential for many
high technology materials and products, including compact
disk (CD) players. Students make use of the periodic
table to propose color-specific emitting solids based
on knowledge of periodic properties, bonding, electronic
transitions, solid structures and the properties of
Would You Like Fries
With That? The Fuss About Fats in Our Diet
Fat is an important nutrient in our diets.
Recently, however, dietary fat has been linked to an
increased risk of chronic disease such as coronary heart
disease and some types of cancer. In this module we
will learn about the chemistry behind the news. We will
investigate the properties of fats and oils and relate
these properties back to their triglyceride structure.
We will gain experience with chemical notation, polarity,
thermochemistry, and intermolecular forces. There will
be a chance to explore bond strength, cis/trans isomerism,
and basic organic nomenclature. We will also develop
skills in the chemistry laboratory. Finally, looking
at some of the fat substitutes on the market, we will
both justify their properties from a chemical perspective
and debate their effectiveness as a part of the American
How do we get from
bonds to Bags, Bottles, and Backpacks?
This module is designed to help students
learn about chemical bonding, polarity, intermolecular
forces and the impact of chemical structure on the properties
of materials by focusing on polymers. As we learn about
the chemistry of polymers, we will also learn how it
overlaps with other disciplines and areas of life including
material science and recycling.
Should We Build a
Copper - from where does it come and what
does it cost? Does it matter how we produce it? What
are the environmental consequences? In this second term
general chemistry module students will explore the science
behind these questions and develop informed answers.
Case teaching. collaborative laboratory work, and classroom
group problems will be used to teach redox reactions,
acid/base reactions, solubility, and electrochemical
equilibria. Teams of students will be given a chance
to perform their own analysis and hydrometallurgical
processing of an ore sample.
Water Treatment: How can we make our
water safe to drink?
This 3-4 week module on Water Treatment is driven by
the question, "How can we make our water safe to
drink?" Students begin by learning about the hydrologic
cycle and the various pathways by which dissolved substances
get into a water supply. The process of dissolution
is then examined in some detail, with a focus on learning
about the nature of ionic and covalent substances and
the factors that control their solubility in water.
What Happens to Acid Rain?
What happens to the oxides of sulfur and
nitrogen produced during combustion? Where do they go
and how do they affect the environment? This module
is intended for use in an analytical chemistry course
and asks students to consider the consequences when
soil equilibria are stressed. What chemical species
are important in the soil system charge balance? How
are changes in pH, solubility, and ion-exchange interlinked
with ion distributions and concentrations? How does
the chemical system shift and the ecosystem respond?
Instead of many simple problems where individual equilibria
are studied separately, students are asked to question
and investigate facets of a more complex problem through
laboratory measurements of model and natural systems,
supplemented by case studies.
Origin of Life on
Major events in the origin and evolution of life will
be examined from a chemical perspective, including the
formation of the solar system, the first reproducing
molecules, the evolution of metabolism, and the search
for extra-terrestrial life.
Can We Reduce Air Pollution from Automobiles?
Analyzing Issues of Automobile Fuels and Air Pollution
Teaching and Learning Information
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Last modified: 7/20/02 at 5:58 PM