Bring green chemistry to your classroom

Chemicals are an essential part of science curriculum, but can be dangerous to students, staff, and the environment. Your school's chemical inventory likely includes outdated and highly hazardous materials!

Integrating green chemistry into your classroom lab experiments and lessons not only creates safer, engaging lessons, it prepares your students for the workforce and allows them to think creatively through practical problems.

It also lets you teach cross-disciplinary concepts that align with Next Generation Science Standards and Washington's K-12 Integrated Environmental and Sustainability Learning Standards. Using alternatives to hazardous chemicals may even help your school save money on chemical purchases and waste disposal.


Get started!

  Step 1. Assess your chemical inventory

Which chemicals do you use and which are no longer needed? King County's Rehab the Lab videos and resources can help you create a safer school lab. Ecology staff can also help your school with chemical management.


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  Step 2. Substitute safer chemicals in your existing lab experiments

Look for drop-in replacements for hazardous chemicals in experiments you currently teach, or find safer experiments that have been specifically developed for high school science classes.


Safer Chemistry: Drop-in Replacement Labs

This webinar focuses on labs that use safer materials to cover the same content as traditional labs. Replacement examples include single, double, composition and decomposition reactions, flame test, and more. Watch the recorded webinar or view PDF of slides.
Developed by: Beyond Benign


Beyond Benign's Green Chemistry Replacement Laboratory Exercises

Beyond Benign provides a dozen different examples of lab exercises that replace hazardous chemicals with safer alternatives.


GCEdNet forum

Ask for alternatives in the Green Chemistry Education Network's forum, or see suggestions others have posted.


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  Step 3. Incorporate green chemistry concepts into labs and lessons

Many governments, organizations, educators, and private businesses have collaborated to create lab experiments, lessons, and teaching aids that explore green chemistry topics. Beyond Benign worked with chemistry teachers to create a curriculum mapping document to show you how to incorporate green chemistry into your regular chemistry coursework.


Introducing Green Chemistry: The Science of Solutions

This lesson introduces students to Green Chemistry, the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances. Students will use a wasteful, inefficient procedure to make glue and be challenged to improve the procedure using the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry.

Before starting this lesson, students should have been introduced to the periodic table and properties of matter. The estimated time for this lesson is 50-60 minutes.
Developed by: MIT Blossoms


Building Chemical Hazard Awareness and Understanding

This module helps students understand the language of chemical hazards. Students will identify types of chemical reactions and distinguish between those that use safer, less hazardous chemicals and those that are more dangerous. The module incorporates other Beyond Benign curriculum and is a great complement to MoDRN's How to read a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) lesson.
Developed by: Beyond Benign with funding from Ecology

Oxybenzone versus Zinc Oxide in Sunscreen

This lesson challenges students to predict the differences between the various SPF levels and collect and analyze data to confirm or contradict their hypotheses. At the end of this lesson, students will understand health differences between zinc oxide and oxybenzone and recognize the safety issues associated with UV, tanning, and sun exposure. The lesson has customized versions for biology, chemistry, and environmental science classes.
Developed by: Molecular Design Research Network (MoDRN)


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See more posters, lessons, and other teaching aids.


Questions?

Contact Saskia van Bergen at 360-407-6609.

RESOURCES



Posters

Isoamyl Acetate and the Honeybee

The 12 Principles of Green Chemistry


Lessons

How to read an SDS

Dye-Sensitized Blackberry Solar Cell activity (Beyond Benign)
Video demo
Lesson instructions & handout

Polymers for the Planet
Designed by teachers and Boeing engineers


Short videos

Videos on the 12 principles of green chemistry

Green Chemistry in the Circular Economy


All resources