The Science of Sustainability

 

The Chemistry Education Collection has been created to help educators find the best QUEST resources for the classroom.  For each of the grade-level California Science Content Standards (listed below), you will find three sections: a list of all of the resources that are referenced for that standard, information about what students should already know about the content standard and what possible misconceptions they might hold, and a suggested sequence for using the various resources.  Each resource has a reference to the applicable substandard(s).

Standard 1, Atomic and Molecular Structure

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

Arsenic-Eating Bacteria Expands Definition of Life (blog)
Science on the SPOT: Color By Nano – The Art of Kate Nichols (video)
Goodbye to the Bevatron (video)

Background:

  • Students should already know that all matter is made up of atoms and these atoms differ from each other in specific ways.  All atoms of the same element are the same and these atoms are different from atoms of other elements.  Students should already know that scientists have identified over 100 different elements and that if we organize these elements by size that they have distinct properties that tend to repeat.
  • Teachers should be sure to review the periodicity found in elements that led to the Periodic Table of Elements; this will help in understanding why different groupings appear in different areas of the Periodic Table.  Teachers should sensitive to student conceptions of atoms.  Many students have different, competing ideas about the structure of atoms and how atoms bond.  Students may be further confused by misunderstanding the limits of different models of atoms and by the fact that scientists continue to refine our knowledge of atoms.

Sequence of Use

Two QUEST resources that are generally applicable for this standard are Goodbye to the Bevatron and Science on the SPOT: Color By Nano – The Art of Kate Nichols.  The QUEST video on the Bevatron gives students a bit of history about how scientists uncovered more information about the building blocks of atoms and the types of questions that pushed scientists to develop more sophisticated and advanced equipment (1).  The QUEST video on the artist Kate Nichols illustrates how science can be used in multiple contexts.  This video shows how atoms and molecules and the crystalline structures that they form in solutions can be organized and displayed (1).  The QUEST blog, Arsenic-Eating Bacteria Expands Definition of Life, describes new scientific discoveries about how living things can utilize distinct, but similar atoms in their metabolic activities – even with elements thought to be toxic to living things (1a).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 2, Chemical Bonds

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

Chemistry by Smell (audio)
The World's Most Powerful Microscope (video)
Inside an Explosion (video)
Biofuels: Beyond Ethanol(video)

Background:

  • Students should already know that atoms join together to form well-defined molecules.  Students should already know when atoms that join together they "bond" and this can bonding can be done in a few different ways.
  • Teachers should sensitive to the variety of student conceptions of atoms.  Many students have different, competing ideas about the structure of atoms and how atoms bond.  Students may be further confused by misunderstanding the limits of different models of atoms and by the fact that scientists continue to refine our knowledge of atoms.

Sequence of Use

Teachers may want to show the QUEST video Biofuels: Beyond Ethanol.  This resource is generally applicable for this set of standards.  The video describes current research on how to use various types of plants in order to access the energy bound in the carbon bonds of the large molecules created by plants from the products of photosynthesis (2).  Teachers may also want to show students the QUEST video, Inside an Explosion.  This short video shows how scientists study the interactions of atoms and molecules in the processes that cause explosions (2a,b).  The World's Most Powerful Microscope is a QUEST video that illustrates the technology that scientists use to visualize individual atoms.  The video also describes some of the challenges that scientists have in differentiating atoms from when “seeing” them in this way (2a).  Next teachers may want students to listen to to Chemistry by Smell, a QUEST audio segment that follows students in a chemistry class for the blind.  This segment provides evidence that chemistry is something that we know about through experiments and observations, but not something that we always see happening with eyes (1b).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 3, Conservation of Matter and Stoichiometry

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

Acidic Seas(video)

Background:

  • Students should already know that all matter is made up of atoms.  Students should also know that as atoms are rearranged but the number of atoms doesn't change, then the total mass of atoms should not change either.
  • Teachers should sensitive to challenges that students have in the manipulation of formulae needed to balance equations.  Many opportunities to practice will be helpful for students in building the competency with this.

Sequence of Use

Teachers may want students to watch he QUEST video, Acidic Seas.  This resource describes how scientists are trying to uncover the ways that some hard-shelled sea creatures will survive in seas that are becoming increasingly acidic.  The segment includes a chemical formula that can be used in class as an example of how balance chemical equations.

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 4, Gases and Their Properties

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

Super Laser at the National Ignition Facility(video)

Background:

  • Students should already know that all matter is composed of atoms and that these atoms are always in motion.  Students should already know that the state of matter of a group of atoms is based on the amount of motion of these atoms.
  • Teachers should sensitive that many students don’t recognize that there or other states of matter besides solid, liquid and gas.  Also, many students don’t recognize that everything can be moved between one state of matter to another, assuming the temperature and pressure needed to do so can be achieved.

Sequence of Use

Teachers may want to show students the QUEST video, Super Laser at the National Ignition Facility.  This video illustrates how scientists have created a laser in order to manipulate the temperature, pressure and volume of  a substance in order to achieve energies that should allow for the fusion of atoms – thereby providing phenomena to study for a wide-array of scientific disciplines (4c,g).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 5, Acids and Bases

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

Acidic Seas(video)
Science on the SPOT: Color By Nano – The Art of Kate Nichols (video)

Background:

  • Students should already know that water can dissolve other materials to make solutions.  Students should also already know that different solutions have different properties – including that they can be acidic, basic, or neutral.
  • Teachers should emphasize that acids and bases can be weak OR strong.  Many students also think that salts create acidic or basic solutions, rather than simply affecting the free ions in a solution.  Many students do not understand the logarithmic scale used in pH.

Sequence of Use

Teachers may want to revisit the QUEST video, Acidic Seas or show this resource for the first time.  This video provides students with a context for the chemistry happening in between our atmosphere and our oceans and how this is causing oceans to become more acidic (5a,b,d).  Additionally, the QUEST video Science on the SPOT: Color By Nano – The Art of Kate Nichols, illustrates how solutions are created in the laboratory to meet certain specifications (5a,c).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 6, Solutions

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

Science Flexes its Muscles (video)
Acidic Seas(video)
Science on the SPOT: Color By Nano – The Art of Kate Nichols (video)

Background:

  • Students should already know that water can dissolve different materials.  Also, students should already know that different solutions can be stronger or weaker depending on how much stuff has been dissolved into them (they might be most familiar with salt or sugar solutions).
  • Teachers should sensitive to students thinking that all clear liquids are water and that water is the only solvent.

Sequence of Use

As with the standards for Acids and Bases, teachers may want to have students watch (or refer back to) the QUEST video Science on the SPOT: Color By Nano – The Art of Kate Nichols.  This resource illustrates how solutions are created in the laboratory and how pH, temperature and salts can be used to speed up and or slow down certain chemical reactions in order for scientists to obtain specific results (6a,c,f).  Additionally, teachers may want student to see the QUEST video, Acidic Seas.  In this resource students learn about how an increasingly Carbon Dioxide rich atmosphere effects the pH of a large, salty ocean (6a,b).  Teachers may want to show students the QUEST video, Science Flexes its Muscles, which highlights how our bodies are affected by various hormones.  This resource also illustrates how scientists use various techniques to reveal exogenous hormones taken by competitive athletes (6f).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 7, Chemical Thermodynamics

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

Super Laser at the National Ignition Facility(video)
Inside an Explosion (video)

Background:

  • Students should already know that all matter is made up of atoms.  The speed of these atoms depends of the state of matter of these atoms, with atoms in solids moving more slowly than those in liquids, and atoms in liquids moving more slowly than those in gases.
  • Teachers should be aware that many students still struggle with the idea that any material can exists as a solid, liquid or a gas under certain conditions of temperature and pressure.  Teachers should also be clear that energy is used up or released as molecules change state.  And, if there is no change of state, that the temperature of a substance will increase or decrease as energy is added or removed from a system.

Sequence of Use

Teachers may want to start this sections of standards by showing the QUEST video, Super Laser at the National Ignition Facility.  In this resources, scientists show how light energy can be amplified and then transformed into different types of energy.   In this video, scientists hope to get temperatures high enough to overcome certain atomic forces to allow fusion to occur (7a).  Additionally, Inside an Explosion is a short QUEST video that describes why some explosions (all of which give off energy) are short and intense and others progress more slowly (7b).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 8, Reaction Rates

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

Super Laser at the National Ignition Facility(video)
Building an Artificial Leaf (video)

Background:

  • Students should already know that most chemical reactions happen faster if they are happening while in a liquid solution.  Also, students should already know that the temperature, pressure and surface area available of the reactants can influence the speed of a reaction.  Students may already know that by controlling the temperature of a reaction a scientists may influence how quickly or slowly the reaction happens.
  • Teachers should emphasize that most reactions that we see on earth are taking place dissolved in solutions, but that reactions can also take place without being dissolved, though these reactions tend to proceed much more slowly.

Sequence of Use

Teachers may want to start by having students listen to the QUEST audio segment, Building an Artificial Leaf.  In this audio segment, students will hear a review of photosynthesis – an amazing bit of chemistry that is happening in every living green plant.  This segment describes how scientists are studying leaves and trying to replicate, understand, and improve upon the process of photosynthesis (8c,d).  Next, teachers may want students to watch, or refer back to, the QUEST video Super Laser at the National Ignition Facility.  In this resource, students will see how scientists manipulate can temperature and pressure to achieve the  conditions necessary for fusion (8b).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 9, Chemical Equilibrium

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

Acidic Seas(video)

Background:

  • Students should already know that all matter is made up of atoms.  The speed of these atoms depends of the state of matter of these atoms, with atoms in solids moving more slowly than those in liquids, and atoms in liquids moving more slowly than those in gases.
  • Teachers should sensitive to the misconception that equilibrium means equal; chemical equations can be in equilibrium where there are many more products than reactants.  In equilibrium, the rate of change from reactants to products and back again is constant, but the amounts of reactants and products are not necessarily equal.

Sequence of Use

Teachers may want students to see the QUEST video Acidic Seas.  In this resource, the scientists discuss the effects of increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the oceans and conduct experiments on particular species to predict the effects of increasing acidity on different organisms.  Changes in the levels of carbon dioxide is effecting various chemical equilibriums in the ocean; scientists fear that the increasing carbonic acid in the ocean will make it more difficult for hard shelled creatures to create and maintain their calcium carbonate shells (9a,b).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 10, Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

Biofuels: Beyond Ethanol(video)
Building an Artificial Leaf (audio)
Science Flexes its Muscles (video)

Background:

  • Students should already know that atoms can be arranged in different configurations and that these different configurations may have different properties.
  • Teachers should emphasize the difference between some of the more common macromolecules and the building blocks of these molecules.  While nearly all of the molecules in living things are based on carbon, there are consistent differences among the building blocks of various macromolecules.

Sequence of Use

Teachers may want to show students the QUEST video, Science Flexes its Muscles, which focuses on how scientists are using chemistry to recognize when someone is using performance enhancing drugs to get a competitive advantage (10).  This segment illustrates how the shapes of various chemicals allow them to effect the body in certain ways.  Building an Artificial Leaf is a QUEST audio resource that illustrates the importance of photosynthesis in creating large molecules made of carbon.  After listening to Building an Artificial Leaf, teachers may want students to watch Biofuels: Beyond Ethanol.  This QUEST video illustrates how scientists are looking to make fuels by digesting the complex carbohydrates created by plants.

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 11, Nuclear Processes

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

The Chemistry Behind Forensic Identification(video)
Super Ball Fission (video)
Super Laser at the National Ignition Facility(video)
Goodbye to the Bevatron (video)

Background:

  • Students should already know that matter is made up of atoms and these atoms differ from each other in specific ways.  All atoms of the a particular element are the same as each other and  these atoms are different from atoms of other elements.
  • Teachers should be sure to review the differences between fission and fusion and how each of these processes have been studied and utilized by scientists.

Sequence of Use

QUEST has many resources for this set of standards.  Teachers may want to begin by having students watch, or re-watch, Super Laser at the National Ignition Facility.  This QUEST video highlights the challenges that face scientists that are trying to create the necessary conditions for fusion in the laboratory (11a,b).  The incredible energies needed to induce fusion require amazing technologies – and while the machine is being built, it is still unclear whether or not it will work.  Next teachers may want students to watch, or re-watch, the QUEST video Goodbye to the Bevatron.  In this resource, students will learn about how scientists began to discover the parts of atoms (11b,g).  The short QUEST video, Super Ball Fission, is a great way for teachers to illustrate how the process of fission takes place in a piece of reactive material (11b).  Finally, teachers can have students watch, or re-watch, The Chemistry Behind Forensic Identification in order to see first-hand how scientists use naturally forming isotopes to do scientific investigations in the laboratory (11c).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.