RecyclingChemistry Can...You Can Too

RecyclingChemistry Can...

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Chemical Education Today

Especially for High School Teachers by Erica K. Jacobsen

Recycling—Chemistry Can…You Can Too

photo: Jenna. R. Jambeck

The ride to the high school I attended was about 30 minutes long. You could count on a few unpleasant moments along the route. Those moments centered around the smell we encountered south of Buckeye Road—the dump. Many times riding past, I vividly remembered my single childhood trip into the actual dumping grounds, when we dropped off old shingles from reroofing my home. It was huge to my eyes. The piles of garbage were endless. We threw all this away? And the stench! It was memorable enough to spur my elementary school essay “The 27th Avenue Dump”, and to give me the slight nudge that “Hey, this is where all your trash ends up.” The American Chemical Society’s selected theme for Chemists Celebrate Earth Day 2007, “Recycling—Chemistry Can!”, brings back those memories (minus the smell, thankfully!). Earth Day Resources This February issue of JCE is packed with resources to get you ready for Earth Day, April 22, 2007. Several articles in this issue focus on real-world connections to help interest students in Earth Day topics. King and Wright (p 202) describe the production and use of biodiesel fuels. They state “Biodiesel presents us with an interdisciplinary topic that ... is attractive to students who drive and feel the impact of rising oil prices in their wallet. What young American wouldn’t love to ‘fill ‘er up’ on used oil from the cafeteria?” The article shares a quote from Rudolph Diesel, the developer of the diesel engine, from 1912 when he foresaw the importance of vegetable oils. It’s as though he had a window to our present time. Remember how leftover milk appears in the bowl after sugary breakfast cereal is eaten? The JCE Classroom Activity “Garbage Juice: Waste Management and Leachate Generation” (p 240A) connects science with the breakfast table. The authors’ model uses multi-colored breakfast cereal and liquid to illustrate the idea of leachate and landfill design. Don’t forget the excellent resources offered by the ACS’s Office of Community Activities (OCA). The ref 1 URL can get you started. The OCA typically spearheads an Earth Day contest. Students submit entries to their ACS Local Sections; local winners are forwarded to the national level. See p 214 for information about the 2007 illustrated haiku contest, and to see last year’s contest winners. Their work was on display at the ACS National Meeting last fall in San Francisco. The article even shares information about the haiku poetry form, for those needing to brush up on the details (myself included). Another great free Web resource is available at Terrific Science (2). Don’t be fooled by the title of the URL. The site offered activities that complemented the National Chemistry Week 2006 theme, but several would be perfect for Earth Day as well. Check out “Treasure from Trash Challenge”, “What’s Waste?”, and “Shrinking Crafts”.

Secondary School Featured Articles 䊕 JCE Classroom Activity: #87. Garbage Juice: Waste Management and Leachate Generation by Jenna R. Jambeck and Jean M. Andino, p 240A. 䊕 Use of a Concentration Game for Environmental Chemistry Class Review by Danica Nowosielski, p 239.

By the time April 22 rolls around, many teachers are in end-of-the-year catch-up mode and may not have time to focus on Earth Day. Associate Editor Laura Slocum offers some insight. Laura’s Take on the Issue Many articles in this issue focus on ways to incorporate Earth Day in your classroom without losing other aspects of your courses. I especially liked Nowosielski’s (p 239) description of a Concentration Game to review various aspects of environmental chemistry. I have heard many descriptions of using Jeopardy, but this was my first for Concentration; I really liked it and will try this during the spring semester. Reglinski’s article (p 271) about using pictorial approaches to ask questions rather than just words reminded me of the need to consider this more on my own exams. He describes its use with graduate students, but I know that many high school students also benefit from pictures in lecture and on exams. As I read his article, I made several notes about places where pictures would fit well into my exams. Do you have ideas as well? Consider submitting an article that focuses on visuals specifically useful to high school teachers. New JCE Tools Used the JCE Online Index search feature lately? If not, be ready for a new look. Fields still include title, creator (author), and keyword, but now have description and feature fields to enhance searchability. The keyword fields are now grouped into domain, audience, pedagogy, and topic for pinpoint searching. The article on p 367 gives the example of finding “a JCE resource in the domain of laboratory instruction with an intended audience of high school that uses inquiry-based methods (pedagogy) on the topic of acids and bases.” More scanned back issues, through 1945, are also now available to subscribers. What a deal for a $45 yearly print/ online subscription! Literature Cited 1. Chemists Celebrate Earth Day. a/c/s/1/acsdisplay.html?DOC=oca%5Cearthday%5Cindex.html (accessed Dec 06). 2. National Chemistry Week 2006–Activities–Your Home—It’s All Built on Chemistry. freeactivities.jsp (accessed Dec 06).

Vol. 84 No. 2 February 2007

Journal of Chemical Education