2018 Awardees for ACS-CEI Incorporation of Sustainability into Chemistry Education

Dr. Rachel Mamlok-Naaman

Department of Science Teaching, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Education for sustainable development in high school through inquiry-type socio-scientific issues

Issues of sustainable development are suggested to contextualize chemistry learning. We believe, that if this is operated in the framework of a socio-scientific issues (SSI) based approach, consisting of controversial subjects from the sustainability debate, it has the potential to motivate chemistry learning, and contribute to the development of general educational skills. Chemistry textbooks, books, booklets, and modules (teaching units) based on the inquiry-type socio-scientific approach, were developed by students and groups of teachers, coordinated by me. The following will serve as examples: I Have Chemistry with the Environment, consisting of two units (The water and us, and We are the world - The Carbon-Cycle); How can I design a cellular phone which is safer to use? Can used oil be the next generation fuel? Plastic: Reduce the use! The modules (20 periods each) are taught in the laboratory (inquiry-type experiments), together with the other pedagogical strategies (debates, critical reading of articles from daily newspapers, video clips, etc.), are aimed at challenging grade 11-12 high school students (age 17-17) to think independently about real-life socio-scientific problems, and at developing a sense of awareness and responsibility to the environment.

Dr. Vicki Helene Grassian

Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of California San Diego

Awareness and promotion of the roles of chemistry and chemical education in sustainability

The importance of the field of chemistry in sustainability is often not fully recognized. Workshops and workshop reports on this topic can be effective modes of articulating the critical role of chemistry research and education in sustainability. In my talk, I will discuss several workshops that I have led on sustainability and chemistry. These workshops involve key stakeholders (academia, government, industry) to consider the areas of energy, green chemistry, the environment, nanotechnology and chemical education across all levels in the context of sustainability. Based on these workshops and other activities, several lectures and published articles have been disseminated over the past decade that have been used to teach chemistry graduate and undergraduate students about the opportunities to not only engage in sustainability research and education but to also be leaders. Using these materials as guidance, it is anticipated the next generation of chemists will be well-equipped to infuse sustainability principles into their professional and educational endeavors.

Dr. Muhamad Hugerat

The Academic Arab College for Education, Haifa, Israel

Relevant learning in science education: Research, development, and implementation

In the last twenty years, I was the leader of several projects to make chemistry more relevant to everyday life and to teach sustainability to pre- and in-service chemistry teachers at the Arab Academic College.

  1. Teaching children to value solar energy through educational projects (e.g., Solar village in the schoolyard) and to encourage students to think of the school backyard as a sustainability laboratory.
  2. Miniaturizing laboratories (small-scale chemistry experimentation) for sustainability.
  3. Writing “green” scientific stories for sustainability to make chemistry more relevant to everyday life.

In addition, I authored a chapter in Relevant Chemistry Education - From Research to Practice, (Ingo Eilks (DE) and Avi Hofstein (IL), Eds., Sense Publishers, Rotterdam (2015). pp. 359-376) that discusses how prospective and current teachers can make chemistry studies relevant. I also was the founder of the "Haifa Conferences" that deal with science education and green chemistry for a sustainable future.

Dr. Jane Wissinger

Department of Chemistry, University of Minnesota

Green & sustainable chemistry workshop for high school teachers

A three-day workshop for Minnesota chemistry high school teachers was designed and implemented during the summer of 2017. The workshop included classroom presentations to provide a background and introduction to sustainability and green chemistry along with hands-on laboratory experiments, which modeled these concepts. Highlighted were novel polymer experiments which illustrated approaches to sustainable materials and discussion of how these exercises meet next generation science standards (NGSS) connecting the pillars of sustainability: economic; environmental; and society. A successful effort was made to select from both rural and urban communities from the forty applicants. Of the twenty attendees, 75% indicated they were “extremely likely” to incorporate one or more green/sustainable experiments in their curriculum in 2017-2018. With strong financial support, we look forward to running this workshop in 2018 and hope our efforts will serve as a model for others eager to bring sustainability into high school education.