A New Standard: Refine the Design of a Chemical System by Applying Engineering Principles

Teachers are accustomed to implementing new learning standards developed by state or national leaders. My state, Georgia, chose not to adopt the newest national standards. State leaders wrote the “Georgia Standards of Excellence” instead. Full implementation of the GSE begins in the 2017-2018 school year. My school district contains 16 high schools, and I have been asked to write chemistry unit plans for the county’s new teaching and learning website. 

Our students deserve the best; I see unbelievable ideas from the ChemEdX community. I have not intentionally developed units based on the application of engineering principles in the past. I am hoping that some of you from our ChemEd X community can  offer inquiry-based lab activities, online tutorials or simulations, problem-based learning scenarios related to engineering and of the following concepts appropriate for first year, high school chemistry. My own web research and ideas are listed below the list.

  • Collision theory and transition state theory: students should construct an argument using collision theory and transition state theory to explain the role of activation energy.
  • LeChatelier’s Principle:
    • Students are supposed to plan and carry out an investigation of the effects of changing concentration and temperature on a chemical reaction.
    • Students should also be able to refine the design of a chemical system by altering conditions to alter the forward and reverse reaction rates to change the amount of products formed at equilibrium.

My initial plans for collision theory and transition state theory:

  • Teacher Posed Question: Why do some reactions occur and others don’t?
  • Inquiry Learning Tasks:
  • Teacher-facilitated Discussion: teacher will ask a few questions asking student pairs to illustrate or write their answers on whiteboards. According to the answers, teacher will guide students through a discussion of collision theory and reaction coordinate diagrams.

My current ideas for teaching Le Chatelier’s Principle:

  • Bozeman Science Le Chatelier's Principle: To prepare for a teacher-facilitated discussion, students will preview Le Chatelier’s principle by watching Paul Andersen’s Bozeman Science Video 66. 
  • NO2 Tubes – Teacher demonstration of the effects of temperature on an equilibrium mix and facilitated discussion: If the teacher does not have access to NO2 tubes, then this video might suffice: NO2 N2O4 Gas Equilibrium. Teacher will use this reaction and select another to teach students to analyze a reaction at equilibrium and apply the concepts of collision theory to predict how applied stresses will affect the reaction.
  • A Study of Le Chatelier’s Principle – Introductory Lab: The lab activity is attached. Students will make predictions about how changing concentrations or adjusting temperature will affect a given reaction at equilibrium. Next, students will test their predictions by carrying out those concentration and temperature changes in the lab. 
  • Investigating Effects of Changing Concentrations – Inquiry Lab: Given the following reaction, students will make predictions of how adding HCl and adding H2O will affect the color of the reaction mixture and the amount of cobalt complexes. Students will then plan and carry out an investigation to test their predictions. In an effort to assist with planning, struggling students will be encouraged to watch Mr. Grodski Chemistry’s video:  Le Chatelier's Principle Lab with Cobalt Complex Ions

[Co(H2O)6]2+ + 4 Cl- <----> [CoCl4]2- + 6 H2O  

Again, I welcome your ideas and suggestions. I look forward to reading your posts.