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The stoichiometry behind pollution

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Keywords: Pollution, Cars, Stoichiometry, Chemistry
Subject(s): Chemistry
Grades 9 through 12
School: Loyola Academy, Wilmette, IL
Planned By: Valerie Casey
Original Author: Valerie Casey, Wilmette
Opening (10 minutes)
“Hi, class. We have a packed day today! Today we’re going to talk about how we use stoichiometry more often than we realize. Sometimes we use it for regular, normal things, like baking a cake, but other times we can apply it to global problems. Let’s take a look at a few pictures.”


how exactly does this kind of stuff affect you?”
(Wait for a few responses.)

“Let’s take a look at a healthy lung versus a lung with cancer. Sure, we all know that lung cancer is linked to smoking, but did you know that it is also linked to increased pollution in our air?”
just lungs are affected by air pollution. Let’s take a look at what else can be adversely affected by toxins in the air.”

I know you’ve heard about how pollution is bad for you, but what can we DO to stop it?”
(Wait for responses.)

“In this lesson, you are going to determine how YOU can help prevent air pollution by doing something simple: carpooling.”

Learning Experiences:

Day 1 (70 minutes)
1.) Reserve a computer lab or mobile cart of computers. Students will research car emissions in a computer lab. If possible, each student will be assigned a different type of car, and will have to find out what toxins that car typically releases and in what amount. (30 minutes)

2.) Call class together and have students write data on board. Briefly discuss the findings. (10 minutes)

3.) Using an unassigned model car, work through an example calculation with the students so that they can see how they should manipulate the data the collected.
(10 minutes)

4.) Teach students how to graph the data that they collected using Microsoft Excel.
(20 minutes)

5.) Have students make a sample graph for homework.

Day 2 (45 minutes)
1.) Watch video from YouTube.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcWpkWBX04E (3 minutes)

2.) Collect students’ graphs and look through them as students arrange themselves in groups to discuss their findings from the previous day and determine what information should be used to convince the public that car pollution is a huge problem. (17 minutes)

3.) Have students choose a route for a car to travel, use a computer based map (like Mapquest) to determine the distance the car will travel, determine the number of people they want their new car to hold, and set-up a calculation to analyze the amount of pollution that will be prevented. In the mean-time, the teacher will visit each group to make sure that the calculation is logical. (25 minutes)

4.) Students will have time in another class period to prepare posters detailing their research that will be useful in helping citizens make informed decisions about their travels. Students are expected to bring in information and research for homework.

Day 3 (70 minutes)
1.) Prelab lecture about car emissions. (15 minutes)

2.) Teacher will have previously asked other teachers with free periods to idle their cars so that automobile emissions can be collected by the class. Each group with collect emissions from a different car. In order to collect emissions, students will need a glass funnel attached to rubber tubing and a balloon. The funnel will be placed over the exhaust pipe of the car and the emissions will be collected in the balloon. Care will be taken to ensure that students are not harmed by the emissions by securing a well-ventilated area. Similarly, an alternate method of collection will be devised if any students have latex allergies. Documentation of the lab experiment should be made; pictures/ video should be taken to aid in the final presentation.(15 minutes)

3.) Students will complete a lab experiment where they will test the components of the gas they collected for carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur oxide. They will complete three trials for valid results. (40 minutes)

4.) Students should continue researching for their poster for homework.

Day 4 (45 minutes)
1.) The class will discuss the results of the previous’ day’s experiment and compare results for each model car graphically. Students will then try to explain why certain cars emit different amounts of toxins. (25 minutes)

2.) Students will prepare formal lab report, supplementing background information from research that had been done in the previous days. (20 minutes)

3.) Students should be reminded to bring in all materials for their poster that they will make the next day in class.

Day 5 (45 minutes)
1.) Students will be given time to put together their posters. (25 minutes)

2.) Students will explain posters to class (20 minutes)

In this lesson, students were taught how stoichiometry could be applied to solving the pollution problem. This lesson ends with students generating a poster indicating why people should car pool or use their cars less. After presentation of the posters, students will decide upon locations where the posters will make the largest impact. Posters will be brought to that location for the community to see.

Homework and Extension Activities:
Students will be given homework nightly, including independent research and completion of a lab report.
Clearly communicate the homework or extended learning that students are expected to perform.

Adjustments for Diverse Learners:
Students that need accommodations will be taken into account during this lab.
Students receive the information in a variety of ways. First of all, lectures are given for auditory learners, and videos and pictures will be used for the visual learners. Lab experiments and classroom activities are completed to help students who are kinesthetic learners. Group work is also incorporated into the lesson so that students can relate to peers. Creativity is encouraged with the poster and students will gain experience in communication through their presentation to the class.

-Internet resources
-Microsoft Excel
-Digital Cameras
-5 different types of cars
-5 willing faculty members
-Glass funnel
-Rubber hose
Students may create pamphlets detailing the information that they discovered and pass them out through the neighborhood.
Materials: Projector Screens, Printers, Flash/USB Drives, Short Throw Projectors, Point and Shoot, Mobile Labs, Whiteboards