P266: Unorthodox teaching of chemistry: Using technical, historical, and motivational texts to teach green chemistry (no exams!)

Author: Sarah Kennedy, Westminster College, USA


Date: 8/4/14

Time: 3:40 PM4:00 PM

Room: LMH 114

Related Symposium: S7

At Westminster College, this year’s green chemistry course encompassed an introduction to green chemistry concepts and contextual examples of why utilizing green chemistry is imperative. With Lancaster’s Green Chemistry Introductory Text and the ACS green chemistry case studies, students worked through learning the basics of green chemistry and applying those concepts to award-winning green chemistry examples. A few of the main focus areas, including solvent use, green metrics and others, were studied further through reading of primary literature. Additionally, students read a historical text, Deceit and Denial, describing missteps in the lead and vinyl chloride industries to strengthen the students’ understanding of why green chemistry and ethical behavior by chemistry professionals are imperative. The last text in the course was Cradle to Cradle, which encouraged students to think innovatively about the ecosystem and design. Students in the course also performed laboratory experiments from a variety of online sources to help a local high school teacher implement green chemistry labs in his curriculum. Throughout the course, students were evaluated based on class participation, textual reading question, literature quizzes, case studies, creation of concept maps, and the quality of their final outreach project. A pre and post course survey was administered to help evaluate the effectiveness of the teaching tools and the level to which the course aims were met.