Day: August 12, 2021

Pilots needed! Help enhance the new green and sustainable chemistry modules

In 2015 and 2020, the ACS GCI surveyed ACS members in higher education to evaluate the status of green and sustainable chemistry topics in the chemistry curriculum. The results from both surveys indicated substantial barriers to incorporating green and sustainable chemistry in the classroom. Some of the key findings in 2020 were:

  • The most common challenge that faculty reported facing in teaching green and sustainable concepts, besides lack of funding, was a crowded/full curriculum (74%). Additional barriers were a lack of knowledge about content area (39%) and a lack of textbooks and lecture materials (32%).
  • Among green and sustainable chemical concepts taught, faculty reported feeling least prepared to teach sustainability (42% somewhat/very unprepared).
  • When making changes to their curriculum, the top resources respondents were looking for were in-class activities (72%), lab experiments (70%), and homework activities (54%).

To address some of these challenges and needs, the GCI has been working with educators from institutions across the U.S. and Canada to develop modules for general and organic chemistry lecture courses. These modules are intended to lower the barriers for bringing green and sustainable chemistry into higher education classrooms. We are currently recruiting additional institutions and educators to participate in these pilots in 2021 and 2022.

These modules are designed to teach a foundational chemistry topic from the undergraduate curriculum using a green and sustainable chemistry lens. To do this, the modules explicitly incorporate green chemistry approaches, systems thinking, and the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Each module is expected to cover approximately one week of class and include sufficient core chemistry content such that it can be readily implemented into the classroom. That said, we recognize that flexibility is critical and that the modules will need to support a wide array of course formats, sizes, and content structures. Each module will include instructional materials and notes using a variety of pedagogical strategies, a summative assessment, formative assessments, and out-of-class work. These units can be adopted as a whole or taken piece-by-piece to fit the needs of a given educational context.

While the module developers will be piloting the modules in their own courses, we are putting out this call for additional instructors who would be willing to pilot a module or two in their own general or organic chemistry class. During the development process, each module will be evaluated against a rigorous rubric prior to classroom piloting. The more feedback the module developers get, and the wider the variety of institutional settings and locations these modules are tested in, the more robust the final open-access materials will be.

Educators who pilot these modules will play an integral role in the module development process and will be acknowledged for their contributions. Prior to piloting, the GCI will meet with volunteers to train them on how to use a module and provide the most useful feedback for module revisions. 

To volunteer for piloting, please fill out this Google Form.

Below is a list of modules that will be ready for piloting in 2021 and 2022. You will have an opportunity to indicate which modules you would be most interested in piloting in the Google Form.

Note that there is an entire module on systems thinking that has activities appropriate for both general chemistry and organic chemistry courses. This is a stand-alone module and is not required to use the other modules, but instructors may find it helpful for introducing students to systems thinking.

General Chemistry

  • Introduction to systems thinking
  • The periodic table and sustainability
  • Reaction stoichiometry applied to evaluations of combustion reactions
  • Solutions chemistry through the lens of water as the universal solvent and contamination issues
  • Thermochemistry in the context of home energy use and energy sources
  • Introduction to equilibrium reactions using the Haber-Bosch process as a theme
  • Reaction kinetics in relation to plastic synthesis and decomposition
  • Intro to d-block elements and their applications in chemical synthesis and biological systems
  • Electrochemistry in the context of affordable and clean energy
  • Intro to organic chemistry – relating molecular structure to toxicity and environmental fate

Organic Chemistry

  • Introduction to systems thinking
  • Chirality and pharmaceuticals
  • Structure-property relationships for fuel additives
  • Solvent selection for greener SN1 and SN2 chemistry
  • Alcohol structure, reactivity and applications
  • Molecular evaluations of ethers and their industrial use
  • Aromatic substitution reactions for greener antiviral synthesis
  • Alkene and alkyne addition reactions
  • Pericyclic reactions using synthetic chemicals and biosynthesis
  • Green chemistry and sustainable synthetic design
  • Comparing traditional pharmaceutical syntheses to alternatives that employ greener reagents or take a biological approach.
  • The life cycle of polymers
  • Organometallic reactions and alternatives assessments

More modules are in the early stages of development and will cover additional content from these courses. Stay tuned to learn more about those! To see a full list of the educators involved in this project, and read supporting documents, please check out the Module Development Web Page.

This story originally appeared on the GCI Nexus Blog. Read the original post.

As China boomed, it didn’t take climate change into account. Now it must.

Read the full story in the New York Times.

China’s breathtaking economic growth created cities ill-equipped to face extreme weather. Last week’s dramatic floods showed that much will have to change.

WATCH NOW: North Iowa kids take charge at Ventura turtle crossing

Read the full story in the Globe Gazette.

Keygan Hoover, Blake Meyer, Cole Meyer, Zacaious Moe and Casen Wenzel like turtles so much that they recently spent a day of their free time — in the summer no less — helping a whole bale of turtles trek safely across a busy road in Ventura.

This beach-cleaning robot sifts sand for the tiny plastics that humans miss

Read the full story from Fast Company.

It’s hard to pick up all the plastic trash on beaches by hand. BeBot, a solar-powered robot, speeds up the process.

The Little Ice Age shows that small climate changes can have devastating consequences

Read the full story at Fast Company.

During the “years without a summer,” small global changes in climate from volcanic eruptions dramatically altered the likelihood of extreme local weather. The same thing is happening today.

Sheep help restore native prairie habitat on Waseca solar farm

Read the full story from CBS Minnesota.

Nestled in this quiet patch that used to be low-yield farmland in Waseca, there’s a clash of old and new. Arlo Hark’s flock of sheep is hard at work in the new solar garden. They’re grazing — essentially mowing the lawn and churning the land — to help restore a native prairie habitat underneath the panels.

ND approves $520,000 in surveying sites for carbon capture

Read the full story at KFYR TV.

North Dakota’s state and industry leaders are putting tax dollars towards carbon capture technologies.

The GC3 Blueprint of Green Chemistry Opportunities for a Circular Economy

Download the document.

This report explores the synergies between green chemistry principles and the circular economy framework. Each has the opportunity to enable and optimize the other, and this report focuses on the innovations needed to realize those opportunities. The Blueprint was written in part to support companies and others as they make design, sourcing, and manufacturing decisions about chemicals, materials, and products that can advance both circular economy and green and sustainable chemistry goals.

Greencore to trial ‘world’s first’ zero plastic sandwich skillet

Read the full story at Food Manufacture.

Greencore is to begin trials for an all-fibre, plastic-free recyclable sandwich packaging in Co-op and Sainsbury’s stores across the country.

Understanding water’s role in decarbonization

Read the full story from the Prairie Research Institute.

When the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) launched a front-end engineering and design study for a carbon capture system at the Prairie State Generating Company’s (PSGC) Energy Campus in Marissa, Illinois, identifying a sustainable source of water was a priority from the start.  

Once completed, PSGC’s carbon capture system will be the largest post-combustion capture plant in the world. Initially, the system will require approximately 14 million gallons of water per day (MGD), which almost doubles the current PSGC water demand.   

The challenge: find adequate and reliable water sources to keep the carbon capture system running without compromising fragile aquatic ecosystems, local economies, and nearby communities’ water supply. Fortunately, ISTC knew the right expertise was close at hand in another unit within its parent Prairie Research Institute. The Water Survey’s Watershed Science team, led by Illinois State Hydrologist Laura Keefer, specializes in solving these types of problems.  

%d bloggers like this: