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Twelfth Grade, Green Chemistry Lesson Plans (5 results)

The goal of green chemistry is to make sure that chemical processes and products are produced in ways that reduce or eliminate the use and creation of toxic material. It encourages the use of as little energy and as few materials as possible and emphasizes using renewable resources. The idea is to be environmentally friendly and sustainable from the beginning of the process rather than figure out how to treat waste after a product is made or discarded.

Girl carrying out a titration in chemistry class.

Green chemistry can be applied to improve existing products or processes. For example, green chemistry is being applied to clothing manufacturing to make the creation of synthetic fabrics more environmentally friendly and ensure that the dyes used to color all clothes use fewer water resources and do not pollute. The same green chemistry principles can be used to make new products like biodiesel made from plants, to replace diesel made from fossil fuels.

The twelve principles of green chemistry provide a framework for scientists and engineers to follow when designing new products or improving existing materials and processes.

  1. Waste prevention: Instead of treating or cleaning up waste in the end, prevent it from being made.
  2. Atom economy: Incorporate as much of the starting materials (atoms) into the final product as possible.
  3. Less hazardous chemical synthesis: When creating complex compounds from simpler materials (chemical synthesis), focus on using and creating materials that do not harm humans or the environment.
  4. Design safer chemicals: When designing chemical products, make ones that are effective (do the job intended) but have little or no toxicity.
  5. Safer solvents and auxiliaries: The use of chemicals like solvents, separation agents, etc., that help a chemical process should be either eliminated or, if that isn't possible, made as environmentally friendly as possible.
  6. Design for energy efficiency: Run chemical reactions at room temperature and pressure whenever possible as it takes extra energy to heat, cool, or alter pressure.
  7. Use renewable feedstocks: As much as possible, raw materials (also called feedstocks) should come from renewable sources instead of ones that can be depleted. Examples of renewable feedstocks include agricultural products and waste from other processes.
  8. Reduce derivatives: Derivatization, like using blocking or protecting groups or any temporary modification to a compound, should be avoided if possible. Creating derivatives uses additional reagents and may create more waste.
  9. Use catalysts: Minimize waste by using catalytic reactions. Catalysts are effective in small amounts and can carry out a single reaction many times. They are preferable to stoichiometric reagents, which are used in excess and carry out a reaction only once.
  10. Design for degradation: Design chemical products to break down to harmless substances after use so that they do not accumulate in the environment.
  11. Real-time pollution prevention: Include in-process, real-time monitoring and control during synthesis to minimize or eliminate the formation of byproducts (unwanted products).
  12. Minimize the potential for accidents: Choose chemicals and their physical forms (solid, liquid, or gas) to minimize the potential for chemical accidents, including releases to the environment, explosions, and fires.
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Try the annual Engineering Challenge from Science Buddies! Open to all students worldwide, a new challenge and prizes are announced every January. Explore the current challenge as well as ones from past years! Read more
Lesson Plan Grade: 9th-12th
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This lab discusses types of reactions and replaces traditional reaction experiments involving chemicals such as lead (II) nitrate, barium chloride, and silver nitrate with greener alternatives. This lab is designed to challenge students to identify types of chemical reactions and distinguish between those that use safer, less hazardous chemicals and those that are more dangerous. Students will make a choice as to which reaction they will perform using the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry. They… Read more
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Try our new Science Project Pathways in Google Classroom. One tool to plan, assign, and manage a science project in your class.

Simply enter the project start date to get a customizable science project schedule that breaks the science project into a series of smaller more manageable assignments to keep students on track. The assignments use Science Buddies guide to the scientific method to take students step-by-step through a science project. From the schedule, teachers can make assignments in Google Classroom and view student progress on each assignment.

Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-12th
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In this lesson, students will do a simple exercise with M&Ms to understand what environmental impact factor (E-factor) is, how it applies to chemical processes, and how waste from chemical reactions can be reduced by applying the principles of green chemistry. Learning Objectives Students will: Understand strategies for reducing waste Perform an exercise which has them practice E-factor Relate the exercise to chemical processes NGSS Alignment MS-PS1-3. Gather and make… Read more
Lesson Plan Grade: 9th-12th
Educational Goal To understand: How polylactic acid (PLA) plastic is an example of green chemistry technology particularly pollution prevention and designing safer chemicals Student Objectives Students will: Learn about renewable "corn" plastic is made from polylactic acid Recycle the polylactic acid cup into a new product: a cleaning solution Conduct a saponification reaction Analyze PLA against the 12 principles of green chemistry (Optional) Verify the contents of their… Read more
Lesson Plan Grade: 9th-12th
How does a solar cell work? In this green chemistry lesson plan, students will build and test their own dye-sensitized solar cells using dye from blackberries. Along the way, they will learn about the principles of green chemistry and evaluate how solar cell manufacturing can go green. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • HS-ESS3-2. Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
  • HS-ESS3-4. Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces the impact of human activities on natural systems.
Lesson Plan Grade: 5th-12th
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Where does CO₂ come from and how does excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere affect the ocean and aquatic life? In this lesson students are introduced to the carbon cycle and explore pH and acidification with hands-on experiments. They then connect their experimental data with real-world data to evaluate claims about carbon dioxide and ocean acidification. Finally, students are introduced to how different companies and research groups are using green chemistry to build carbon capture… Read more
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