Chemistry Climate Changemakers

High school chemistry students applied what they learned about moles and stoichiometry to calculate their carbon footprint. Students then chose something small that they could change to reduce the amount of CO2 they produce each year and tried to implement it. From all the individual ideas, each class chose a single solution that they wanted to encourage others to do. Each class created flyers, posters or infographics about their solution to share with other ACHS students and the Alexandria community. Students working in groups

Driving Question:

How can we use our knowledge of chemistry to reduce our carbon footprint?

Students: Chemistry students at Alexandria City High School

Teacher: Jennifer Lay

Standards of Learning:

CH.1 The student will demonstrate an understanding of scientific and engineering practices by a) asking questions and defining problems and c) interpreting, analyzing and evaluating data and d) constructing and critiquing conclusions and explanations and f) obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information 

CH.4 The student will investigate and understand that molar relationships compare and predict chemical quantities. Key ideas include b) stoichiometry mathematically describes quantities in chemical composition and in chemical reactions.

The 5Cs:

Critical Thinking: Students had to provide their own solutions to reduce their carbon footprint. When they shared what they did and had to choose one solution per group, they had to  discover and appreciate the multiple solutions and perspectives of the other students in the class. Students also had to reflect their carbon footprint and solution during several points in the project. 

Creative Thinking Skills: Students had to be willing to take risks by sharing aspects of their home lives in their carbon footprint inventory and then they had to experiment with a possible solution and learn from their successes and failures. Students demonstrated great resourcefulness in how they implemented their individual solutions and shared a single solution with the community.

Citizenship Skills: By using chemistry to understand more about climate change and its impact, students learned more about what caused increases in CO2 in the past and learned how to participate in the present to reduce their CO2 output as a way of showing that they care about the future. They were able to take a problem that seemed too large and difficult to do anything about and make one small change that allowed them to act as a steward of themself, their community, and the world.