Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Reactions in Chemistry
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Sub Image2:Macro to Micro Structures
1) Atoms and Molecules2) Macro to Micro Structures 3) Energetics and Dynamics 4) Theory and Practice in Chemical Systems
5) Chemical Design6) The Chemistry of Life7) Chemistry and the Environment8) Chemistry at the Interface

Unit 4.2 Chemical Systems in Everyday Life
In this unit teachers are shown using concrete examples and everyday events to teach about problem solving and the concept of a chemical system like equilibrium.
Video program cues: 5:30 — 14:35

Chemical systems

Students’ ideas

"I guess if it’s a system and it’s a chemical system, it’s got chemistry in it and, depending on what that system is, there are various aspects and usually there’s a cyclic flow to it, like in the carbon cycle."

"A chemical system…well, I really don’t know, but it could be the combining of one chemical with another, to make something, combining these two things might be a chemical system, to make something reactive or something new."

"And if you ever want to make something you have to know about chemistry in order to put things together, to create something totally new, you can create, I’ll make up a word for it, you know, to create electro-magno-pluto …that’s something weird, you could give it any name you want."

Rossi, F. M. (1997)' Writing in an Advanced Undergraduate Chemistry Course: An Assignment Exploring the Development of Scientific Ideas, 'Journal of Chemical Education, Vol. 74, No. 4, pp: 395-396.

Chemistry in everyday life

"Every thing we wear is touched by the hands of the chemist. The music we hear is touched by the hand of the chemist. The perfume in the air in Washington cocktail parties is all chemicals. Chemistry is not going to go away. What we do have to do is to make sure that both chemists and non-chemists know a responsible way of working with chemistry and everything that it can do for us."

Sylvia Ware
American Chemical Society, Washington, D.C.

Teaching based on the familiar

Teachers’ forum

"I think you have to relate it to what they are used to. Students are used to, for example, chemical reactions. If you can relate it to dating, which is something that they’re all very familiar with, different types of reactions, different couples in a relationship. And when we do that, the students are very interested in that because that’s something that they are very interested in. So I think it’s coming back to their everyday lives."

Kelly Rottman
Watkins Mill High School, Maryland

Parrill, Abby L. (2000)' Everyday Chemical Reactions: A Writing Assignment to Promote Synthesis of Concepts and Relevance in Chemistry, 'Journal of Chemical Education Vol. 77, No. 10, pp: 1303-1305.

Water softening laboratory

Isoke Baptiste’s students observe that rsoap doesn't lather up in hard water due to the presence of Mg+2 and Ca+2 ions.


Ceretti, H., Hughes, E. A., Zalts, A. (1999)' The Softening of Hard Water and Complexometric Titrations: An Undergraduate Experiment Journal of Chemical Education, Vol. 76, No. 10, pp: 1420.

Proceed to Unit 4.3 arrow

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