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Lesson Ideas

6 Science Articles for Chemistry Class

Although many students find it challenging, chemistry can be fascinating! Here we present six articles that show how chemistry can be put to great use. All the articles include at least one introductory video, as well as questions to check the students’ understanding:

1. How can your smartphone make water safe to drink?

Clean drinking water is essential for our health. Water containing bacteria or viruses can make us very sick. In this article, researchers developed a small device and an app that can be used with a smartphone to kill harmful bacteria in water. It could mean that people without a clean water supply can easily disinfect their drinking water and avoid getting sick.

The article is suitable for elementary and middle school students.

2. How can we turn ocean water into renewable energy?

Today, most of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuels, which are nonrenewable resources that pollute our air and land. Hydrogen is a great renewable fuel that can be made from water. Most of the water on Earth is saltwater. In this article, scientists created a device that can make hydrogen from saltwater at a low cost. It combines the process of osmosis with the reaction of water splitting.

The article is suitable for middle school and lower high school students.

This article comes with a detailed lesson plan on renewable energy, fuel cell, and reverse osmosis. The lesson is designed for 8-9th grade students, contains 3 modifiable handouts and a slide show. It requires a minimum of 4 class periods to complete with possible extensions for up to 5 additional class periods.

You can also find an audio version of the article for auditory learners or students with visual impairment.

3. How does a plant make an antimalarial medicine?

Today, many medicines in drugstores contain chemicals from medicinal plants. An herb called sweet wormwood is one of them. Sweet wormwood is a very effective medicine to treat malaria, the world’s deadliest disease. The active ingredient, artemisinin, kills malaria-causing parasites faster than any other medicine. In this article, scientists wanted to understand exactly how this plant makes artemisinin.

This article is suitable for upper high school students.

You can also read an interview with the researcher in our Meet-a-Scientist series.

4. How can we make antimalarial medicine faster?

Mosquitoes are carriers of many diseases, including malaria. According to the World Health Organization, in 2019 there were 229 million cases of malaria worldwide and about 409,000 people died from this disease. This is why scientists are trying to make the antimalarial medicine artemisinin more available. In this article, scientists investigate factors that affect the production rate of artemisinin.

This article is suitable for upper high school students.

You can also read an interview with the researcher in our Meet-a-Scientist series.

5. How can we store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in minerals?

Did you know that the sea level is rising and that weather patterns are changing worldwide? Because of human activities, there is extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. That’s why the Earth has gotten warmer. What can we do about it? We can take the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and store it. Current technologies transform it into a liquid and pump it back into the ground. Unfortunately, this way of doing things can be expensive and difficult to manage. That’s why we created a different method of collecting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Our process uses the natural ability of ocean water to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Then it forms minerals that we can store or use. Our observations proved that our process successfully removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Our analysis also showed that our method is more energy efficient and environmentally friendly than current technologies.

This article is suitable for middle school and lower high school students.

6. Can materials made of the same elements have different properties?

Did you know that everything around you contains special molecules called polymers? These molecules form long chains that make up plastic, protein, and even your DNA! The great thing about polymers is that we can design them to have the properties we need. But the polymers we design can sometimes have a negative impact on the environment. That is why we wanted to see if we can create different polymers from the same natural product, such as sugar. We wanted to determine how the placement of atoms in the polymers affected their properties. We found that by rearranging the atoms of a monomer, we could get two different polymers. One behaved like a stiff plastic, and the other behaved like stretchy rubber. The results of our research made us realize that the placement of atoms does change a polymer’s properties. It also proved that we can make strong and flexible polymers from more natural materials.

This article is suitable for lower high school students.

That’s Not All!

Our site offers hundreds of scientific articles, some of them about chemistryphysical sciencemalaria and renewable energy. Everything is free to download! Just use the filter to find the ones you need.

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