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GREEN CHEMISTRY AND SUSTAINABLE SCIENCE: A Green Approach to Sustainable STEM in K-12 - Chapter 4: Chemical Reactions

GREEN CHEMISTRY AND SUSTAINABLE SCIENCE: A Green Approach to Sustainable STEM in K-12 - Chapter 4: Chemical Reactions
Retired K-12 Educator | Beyond Benign, Inc.
HS Chemistry and Physics Teacher | Catskill Senior High School
Middle School Science Teacher | Boulder Valley School District - Casey Middle School
Teacher | Bretton Woods Elementary School
Certified Lead Teacher/Adjunct Lecturer | W.H. Maxwell High School
Founder | STEM Learning Design LLC
Beyond Benign, Inc.
Beyond Benign, Inc.
The core of green chemistry principles is understanding how to make informed choices when designing chemical reactions that account for atom economy, human and environmental safety, and the life cycle of products. To engage students in learning about chemical reactions with a green chemistry perspective, we present the three lessons in this chapter intended to:
• Show how to actively engage students in activities and labs using common and safer chemicals to help them understand changes in properties through chemical reactions. Using common chemicals also helps relate learning to students’ lives and increase relevance.
• Illustrate the use of less toxic chemicals and pedagogical strategies that limit exposure to chemicals. Several of these lessons are good examples of “replacement labs” where typical chemicals and processes are replaced with greener alternatives.
• Encourage students to experiment and try different chemical combinations to highlight the use of greener and safer chemicals.

Chapter 4 Contains:
1. Introduction
2. What Happens When We Combine Substances? A Greener Approach (Elementary School; Erin)
3. The Heat is On (Middle School; Annette and Erin)
4. Reactions Lab (High School; Scott)


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Moderation state
Object Type
Activities/Technology (e.g., in-class activities, online games, hands-on activities/manipulatives, outreach, virtual tools, etc.)
Lesson summaries
Elementary School
Middle School
High School (Secondary School)
Published on
Green Chemistry Principles
Waste Prevention
Less Hazardous Chemical Syntheses
Designing Safer Chemicals
Safer Chemistry for Accident Prevention
NGSS Standards, if applicable
Learning Goals/Student Objectives
Some example unit-level questions relevant to this chapter’s theme of chemical reactions may include:

• How can we make cleaning products safer?
• Can we design a useful device to keep us warm when playing outside in the winter?
• How do we design a new material?
• Why do some materials burn or rust and others don’t?
• Can we estimate the cost of using different materials in the development of a product?
• How can a business safely create large quantities of a product made through chemical reactions?
• What are “safe” chemicals?
• Where does the wood in trees actually come from?
• How can we make a reaction happen faster? What happens if a reaction happens too fast?

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