CHM 110 - CHEMISTRY AND ISSUES IN THE ENVIRONMENT

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CATEGORY: INQUIRY AND ISSUES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

These courses develop students' knowledge of content and process in the natural sciences. They also emphasize science's impact on the world. These courses seek to raise students' awareness of sciences role in the development of technology and of issues in science and technology. These courses foster responsible citizenship in an increasingly technological society through critical examination of a scientific knowledge base.

OBJECTIVES OF THESE COURSES INCLUDE:

1. Development of critical thinking and problem solving skills through active exploration of natural science concepts and methods within a scientific discipline.
2. Explicit identification and consideration of social, philosophical, and ethical questions associated with scientific and technological topics.
3. Recognition of the strength and power of scientific and technological knowledge, as well as, its limitations.
4. Internalization of scientific values such as intellectual integrity, curiosity, skepticism, tolerance for ambiguity, and openness to new ideas.


OBJECTIVE 1. DEVELOPMENT OF CRITICAL THINKING AND PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS THROUGH ACTIVE EXPLORATION OF NATURAL SCIENCE CONCEPTS AND METHODS WITHIN A SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINE.

NATURAL SCIENCE CONCEPTS:

INTRODUCTION TO RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS:
Conservation of Matter, Mineral Resources , Renewable and nonrenewable energy sources, pollution, composition of atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, biosphere.

TOPIC 1 A: FORMS OF MATTER - CHEMISTRY : States of Matter, Atomic Structure, Changes in Matter, Law of Conservation of Matter and Energy.

TOPIC 1B: ENERGY RESOURCES - FOSSIL FUELS Forms of Energy. Energy Use in Different Societies. Energy from the combustion of Fossil Fuels. Fossil Fuel Resources and Uses. Formulas of compounds and writing chemical equations to represent the processes. Chemical calculations.

TOPIC 2 A: ALTERNATE ENERGY RESOURCES: Solar. Geothermal. Hydrogen. Other High Tech Approaches

TOPIC 2 B: ENERGY RESOURCES - NUCLEAR ENERGY : Nuclear Radiation and Nuclear Reactions. Fission Reaction - Chain Reaction. Nuclear Fuel Cycle. Nuclear Power Plant. Accidents. Radioactive Waste Disposal Methods. Breeder Reactors. Fusion.

TOPIC 3 A: MINERAL RESOURCES: Origin, composition, and distribution of Mineral Resources. Extraction Methods. Ore Conversion to metals (iron, aluminum, copper, and titanium). Pollution (acid mine drainage, leaching of metals).

TOPIC 3 B: INDUSTRIAL CHEMICAL SYNTHESIS : Sources of chemicals, chemical reactions, Energetics, waste production and possible releases of toxic chemicals. Quantitative calculations of raw materials needed to obtain a final product.

TOPIC 4 A: THE ATMOSPHERE AND AIR POLLUTION : Absorption of light, U.V. and energy. Electromagnetic spectrum. Sources and reactions to produce air pollutant molecules. Causes and effects of acid rain. Photochemical smog.

TOPIC 4 B: GLOBAL AIR POLLUTION PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS
: Global air pollution problems including ozone depletion, acid rain, and global warming.

TOPIC 5 A: WATER RESOURCES: Physical and chemical properties of water including density, melting and freezing points, solubility, polar vs. nonpolar(oil) substances, ions causing hardness in water, chemicals and processes used to treat water for domestic use.

TOPIC 5 B: SOURCES OF WATER POLLUTION:
Reactions are related to BOD - naturally occurring and in domestic water treatment. Chemical and biological reactions related to eutrophication, reactions involved with advanced treatment of water.

TOPIC 6 A: SOLID WASTE DISPOSAL:
Law of Conservation of Matter related to various disposal methods. Biodegradability. Efficiency determination for converting raw materials vs. recycling into useful products.

TOPIC 6 B: TOXIC AND HAZARDOUS WASTE DISPOSAL:
Classification of chemicals as toxic or hazardous waste. Chemical properties related to these definitions. Measurement, testing, and interpretation of methodologies.

METHODS OF SCIENCE: The laboratory experiences give practice in the process and methods of science.

Analysis and Measurements of Compounds:
A major function of chemistry is to answer qualitative and quantitative questions about the properties of matter. Quantitative procedures usually follow well developed techniques. Numerical data is subjected to the assessment of the precision (repeatability) and accuracy (reliability) of the measurement. Qualitative methods may be developed by the student based upon a discovery/classification approach. Examples include: Combustion, Heat, and Calories ; Acid Rain-Air Pollution; Water Analysis

Scientific Method: This process involves the classic cause and effect approach to problem solving. The process is: question, hypothesis, control variables, experiment, collect data, repeat the cycle with a change of variable, draw conclusions. Examples include: Physical & Chemical Properties of Household Substances; Properties, Classification, and Recycling of Plastics

CRITICAL THINKING , PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS:

Computer Simulations:
Simulations are an excellent method to develop critical thinking skills. The scientific method must be applied to analyze a variety of information which results from the manipulation of interrelated variables. Through a trial and error process, the students discover how to control variables to establish cause and effect relations. Example: Limits to Growth Computer Simulation .

Issues: Debates and Role Plays: A technological issue is examined from many points of view. The process of identifying the issues, cause/effect relations, and possible solutions to a problem involves critical thinking and problem solving skills. See below for more information.

OBJECTIVE 2. EXPLICIT IDENTIFICATION AND CONSIDERATION OF SOCIAL, PHILOSOPHICAL, AND ETHICAL QUESTIONS ASSOCIATED WITH SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL TOPICS.


Every technological advance creates side effects that detract from the benefits it bestows. The future promise of technology may be limited by expense, increasing amounts of energy needed, development time, and unacceptable side effects. Ethical values will be examined in the discussions and role plays of the technological issues of risks versus benefits.

Issues: Debates and Role Plays: A technological issue is examined from many points of view by assigning students a "role" to research and examine from the scientific, economic, political, social, and ethical viewpoints. The students then engage in a role play type discussion of the issue. This type of exercise ensures that all sides of an issue are examined. One method to put everyone on an equal knowledge base is the use of the computer generator discussion programs. Examples are: Nuclear Power Plants, Global Warming, Chlorine Ban, Ozone Depletion, Solid Waste Disposal Plan for Du Page County, Water Quality.

Pre-Laboratory Resource Assessments:
This assignment is to ensure that students become personally aware of the quantity of resources they use and their personal impacts on the environment. For each assessment, specific uses of resources are measured on a weekly, or monthly basis are projected for one year. Graphs and other statistics are provided to make comparisons to average per capita uses for the United States. Examples include: Energy Use, Water Use, Solid and Hazardous Household Waste.

Discussions:
Each topic in the outline will be explored from a variety of viewpoints. Whole class or small group discussions will be used to examine a variety of issues.

OBJECTIVE 3. RECOGNITION OF THE STRENGTH AND POWER OF SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE AS WELL AS ITS LIMITATIONS.

This objective is met by a consideration of the results of quantitative measurements in the laboratory with some application of statistical analysis. In addition, this limitation is observed when studying graphs, tables, and other data in the analysis of technological problems.

One powerful aspect of the scientific method is in the use of formal logical reasoning based on observations and control of variables. A goal of science is to quantify causes and effects with the highest degree of accuracy possible. However a limitation in science is that of being incapable of fully controlling all variables. The "answers" provided by science may not be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. What occurs is that increasing amounts of evidence are accumulated which support an "answer" and tend to refute other possible alternatives. Somewhere along this line most people will decide (a value judgment, not science) that the evidence is strong enough and will act accordingly.

The power and limitations of science will become evident from the discussions of the technological issues.

OBJECTIVE 4. INTERNALIZATION OF SCIENTIFIC VALUES SUCH AS INTELLECTUAL INTEGRITY, CURIOSITY, SKEPTICISM, TOLERANCE FOR AMBIGUITY, AND OPENNESS TO NEW IDEAS.

Students will demonstrate scientific values in process of conducting experiments and discussions/debates/role plays. The discussion questions and issues are designed to foster the examination, evaluation, and internalization of values.

GENERAL ASSESSMENT OF OBJECTIVES:
1. Science content areas are assessed by normal objective style exams.
2. Laboratories are evaluated from written reports.
3. Role Plays and Discussions may be evaluated by subjective rating scales and/or written notes.


ACROSS THE CURRICULUM INITIATIVES:

1. Writing: Several short position papers and two longer papers on a proposed energy plan and the worldview philosophy are required.
2. Oral Communication: In addition to general class discussion, six debates/role plays are conducted.
3. Quantitative Reasoning: Various calculations are required to understand chemistry concepts, as well as, necessary for the energy, water, and solid waste assessments.
Math concepts: exponential growth, analysis of various types of graphs.
4. Computer Literacy: Internet searching and simulations.
5. Technological Literacy: Environmental impacts associated with energy production, chemical industry, transportation, and other use of resources are discussed.
6. Problem Solving, Critical Thinking : Used in laboratory, debates/role plays, general discussion.
7. Values and Ethics: Developed in debates/role plays, general discussion, personal assessments.
8. Life Long Learning: Developed from general awareness of issues, personal resource assessments, development of a world view philosophy, and ability to read and understand science issues in the popular media.