In this Activity, students compare polystrene and cornstarch packing materials ("peanuts"). Both are made of polymers, but because of their composition, they behave very differently in various solvents. Students extrapolate how these differences in behavior relate to environmental effects, such as filling landfills with non-biodegradable materials.
Science and Technology in Local, National and Global Challenges
In this Activity, students investigate the fluorescence of highlighter marker ink and the principles employed in studying fluorescent molecules using a homemade fluorometer and different colored filters.
In this Activity, students perform quantitative calorimetric measurements on samples of ice/water heated by incandescent light bulbs and/or convection with room-temperature surroundings. They measure and graph temperature as a function of time.
In this Activity, students develop fingerprints using the cyanoacrylate fuming method on different types of surfaces. They investigate the technique’s effectiveness and test the effects of changing the temperature and humidity of the fuming chamber.
In this Activity, students use multi-colored breakfast cereal and liquid to model the concepts of leachate and leaching from municipal solid waste disposed of in a landfill. Students create a modern landfill model with the same material. This environmental chemistry Activity can be used to complement a celebration of Earth Day.