JCE 96.12 December 2019 Issue Highlights

Journal of Chemical Education December 2019 Cover

Reimagining Chemistry Education: Systems Thinking, and Green and Sustainable Chemistry Special Issue

The December 2019 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available to subscribers. In response to , chemistry educators from around the world have contributed articles to the Journal collected in the December edition as special issue on systems thinking, and green and sustainable chemistry. This special issue topic was proposed by the IUPAC task force on Systems Thinking in Chemistry Education. Papers in the issue are intended to be the inaugural global reference point for literature on systems thinking in chemistry education that will lead to further understanding about the interdependence of the components of systems at work for chemistry learners, and the application of systems thinking to green and sustainable chemistry education. 

Introduction to and Future Directions for Systems Thinking

Peter Mahaffy (The King’s University), Felix Ho (Uppsala University), Julie Haack (University of Oregon), and Edward Brush (Bridgewater State University) acted as the guest editors for this special issue. In their Editorial, they ponder   Two of articles serve to bookend the issue: one introduces systems thinking and the other discusses the future directions for systems thinking:

y ~ MaryKay Orgill, Sarah York, and Jennifer MacKellar (available to non-subscribers as part of ACS program)

~ Alison B. Flynn, MaryKay Orgill, Felix M. Ho, Sarah York, Stephen A. Matlin, David J. C. Constable, and Peter G. Mahaffy

Framework and Conceptualization


~ Craig J. Donahue

~ David J. C. Constable, Concepción Jiménez-González, and Stephen A. Matlin

~ Ron Blonder and Sherman Rosenfeld


~ Peter G. Mahaffy, Stephen A. Matlin, J. Marc Whalen, and Thomas A. Holme (available to non-subscribers as part of ACS program)

~ Sarah York, Rea Lavi, Yehudit Judy Dori, and MaryKay Orgill

~ Samuel Pazicni and Alison B. Flynn

~ Felix M. Ho

~ James E. Hutchison

~ Alvise Perosa, Francesco Gonella, and Sofia Spagnolo

~ Glenn A. Hurst, J. Chris Slootweg, Alina M. Balu, Maria S. Climent-Bellido, Antonio Gomera, Paulette Gomez, Rafael Luque, Liliana Mammino, Rolando A. Spanevello, Kei Saito, and Jorge G. Ibanez

Curriculum Design


~ Pier Luigi Gentili

~ Grace A. Lasker

~ Matthew A. Fisher


~ Whitney C. Fowler, Jeffrey M. Ting, Siqi Meng, Lu Li, and Matthew V. Tirrell

~ Mei-Hung Chiu, Rachel Mamlok-Naman, and Jan Apotheker

~ Eleni Michalopoulou, Dudley E. Shallcross, Ed Atkins, Aisling Tierney, Nicholas C. Norman, Chris Preist, Simon O’Doherty, Rebecca Saunders, Alexander Birkett, Chris Willmore, and Ioannis Ninos

~ Andrew P. Dicks, Jessica C. D’eon, Barbora Morra, Cecilia Kutas Chisu, Kristine B. Quinlan, and Amy S. Cannon

~ Riley J. Petillion, Tamara K. Freeman, and W. Stephen McNeil

~ Jillian L. Blatti, John Garcia, Danyal Cave, Felix Monge, Anthony Cuccinello, Jennifer Portillo, Betsy Juarez, Ellen Chan, and Frieda Schwebel

~ Aurora L. Ginzburg, Casey E. Check, Demetri P. Hovekamp, Alyson N. Sillin, Jack Brett, Hannah Eshelman, and James E. Hutchison

~ Katherine B. Aubrecht, Marie Bourgeois, Edward J. Brush, Jennifer MacKellar, and Jane E. Wissinger

~ Liliana Mammino

Instructional Tool

~ Katherine B. Aubrecht, Yehudit Judy Dori, Thomas A. Holme, Rea Lavi, Stephen A. Matlin, MaryKay Orgill, and Heather Skaza-Acosta

~ Subhalakshmi Nagarajan and Tina Overton

~ Jeannie Kornfeld and Scott Stokoe


~ Vicente Talanquer

Applications of Systems Thinking & Green and Sustainable Chemistry


~ Sungki Kim, Hee Choi, and Seoung-Hey Paik

~ Stephanie Chapman, Julie M. Herniman, G. John Langley, Robert Raja, and Thomas A. Logothetis

~ Paul D. Cooper and Jacob Walser

~ Christian Zowada, Antje Siol, Ozcan Gulacar, and Ingo Eilks

~ Louise Summerton, James H. Clark, Glenn A. Hurst, Peter D. Ball, Elizabeth L. Rylott, Nicola Carslaw, Julia Creasey, Jane Murray, Jeffrey Whitford, Brian Dobson, Helen F. Sneddon, Joe Ross, Pete Metcalf, and C. Robert McElroy (available to non-subscribers as part of ACS AuthorChoice program)

~ Andrew C. Eaton, Seamus Delaney, and Madeleine Schultz

~ Vânia G. Zuin, Mateus L. Segatto, Dorai P. Zandonai, Guilherme M. Grosseli, Aylon Stahl, Karine Zanotti, and Rosivania S. Andrade

~ Megan R. Schwarzman and Heather L. Buckley

~ Kathleen C. Murphy, Meghna Dilip, Joseph G. Quattrucci, Susan M. Mitroka, and Jeremy R. Andreatta


~ Jonathan L. Miller, Michael T. Wentzel, James H. Clark, and Glenn A. Hurst (available to non-subscribers as part of ACS AuthorChoice program)


~ Franklin D. R. Maharaj, Wanxin Wu, Yiwei Zhou, Logan T. Schwanz, and Michael P. Marshak

~ Dominik Diekemper, Wolfgang Schnick, and Stefan Schwarzer

Laboratory Experiments

~ Lucy S. Mackenzie, Helen Tyrrell, Robert Thomas, Avtar S. Matharu, James H. Clark, and Glenn A. Hurst

~ Evan Pfab, Layla Filiciotto, and Rafael Luque

~ R. K. Sharma, Subham Yadav, Radhika Gupta, and Gunjan Arora https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.jchemed.9b00384

From the Archives: JCE Special Issues

Reimagining Chemistry Education: Systems Thinking, and Green and Sustainable Chemistry is the fourth special issue published by the Journal. Special issues featured in past issues of JCE include:

  (September 2014 issue )

(March 2016 issue )

(November 2017 )

Every Issue of JCE Is Special

Explore ideas for teaching and learning of chemistry in all 96 volumes of the —including the . Articles that are edited and published online ahead of print ( are also available. (For more information on how to access the  articles cited above, see Deanna Cullen’s post on .)

Do you have something to share? Write it up for the Journal! For example, consider submitting a contribution to the (submission deadline: February 3, 2020). provides excellent advice about becoming an author. In addition, numerous , including and . In addition, the , has resources for preparing and reviewing manuscripts for ACS journals.


Asking questions and defining problems in grades 9–12 builds from grades K–8 experiences and progresses to formulating, refining, and evaluating empirically testable questions and design problems using models and simulations.


Asking questions and defining problems in grades 9–12 builds from grades K–8 experiences and progresses to formulating, refining, and evaluating empirically testable questions and design problems using models and simulations.

questions that challenge the premise(s) of an argument, the interpretation of a data set, or the suitability of a design.

Assessment Boundary:

Scientific questions arise in a variety of ways. They can be driven by curiosity about the world (e.g., Why is the sky blue?). They can be inspired by a model’s or theory’s predictions or by attempts to extend or refine a model or theory (e.g., How does the particle model of matter explain the incompressibility of liquids?). Or they can result from the need to provide better solutions to a problem. For example, the question of why it is impossible to siphon water above a height of 32 feet led Evangelista Torricelli (17th-century inventor of the barometer) to his discoveries about the atmosphere and the identification of a vacuum.

Questions are also important in engineering. Engineers must be able to ask probing questions in order to define an engineering problem. For example, they may ask: What is the need or desire that underlies the problem? What are the criteria (specifications) for a successful solution? What are the constraints? Other questions arise when generating possible solutions: Will this solution meet the design criteria? Can two or more ideas be combined to produce a better solution?

Analyze a Major Global Challenge is a performance expectation related to Engineering Design HS-ETS1. 



Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.

Assessment Boundary:

Students analyze a major global problem. In their analysis, students: Describe the challenge with a rationale for why it is a major global challenge; Describe, qualitatively and quantitatively, the extent and depth of the problem and its major consequences to society and/or the natural world on both global and local scales if it remains unsolved; and Document background research on the problem from two or more sources, including research journals. Defining the process or system boundaries, and the components of the process or system: In their analysis, students identify the physical system in which the problem is embedded, including the major elements and relationships in the system and boundaries so as to clarify what is and is not part of the problem: and In their analysis, students describe* societal needs and wants that are relative to the problem. Defining the criteria and constraints: Students specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for acceptable solutions to the problem.

Engineering Design - Design a solution to a complex real-world problem is a performance expectation related to Engineering Design HS-ETS1.page1image680758384



Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.


Assessment Boundary:

Using scientific knowledge to generate the design solution: Students restate the original complex problem into a finite set of two or more sub-problems (in writing or as a diagram or flow chart). For at least one of the sub-problems, students propose two or more solutions that are based on student-generated data and/or scientific information from other sources. Students describe* how solutions to the sub-problems are interconnected to solve all or part of the larger problem.

Describing criteria and constraints, including quantification when appropriate: Students describe criteria and constraints for the selected sub-problem. Students describe the rationale for the sequence of how sub-problems are to be solved, and which criteria should be given highest priority if tradeoffs must be made.



Evaluate a Solution to a Real World Problem is a performance expectation related to Engineering Design HS-ETS1.


Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.

Assessment Boundary:

Evaluating potential solutions-In their evaluation of a complex real-world problem, students: Generate a list of three or more realistic criteria and two or more constraints, including such relevant factors as cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics that specifies an acceptable solution to a complex real-world problem; Assign priorities for each criterion and constraint that allows for a logical and systematic evaluation of alternative solution proposals; Analyze (quantitatively where appropriate) and describe* the strengths and weaknesses of the solution with respect to each criterion and constraint, as well as social and cultural acceptability and environmental impacts; Describe possible barriers to implementing each solution, such as cultural, economic, or other sources of resistance to potential solutions; and Provide an evidence-based decision of which solution is optimum, based on prioritized criteria, analysis of the strengths and weaknesses (costs and benefits) of each solution, and barriers to be overcome.

Refining and/or optimizing the design solution: In their evaluation, students describe which parts of the complex real-world problem may remain even if the proposed solution is implemented.