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Algebra

NSA Challenge: Design a Green Cleaning Program for Your School

NSA Challenge:

Students will create a program for cleaning their school that utilizes earth and people friendly products and practices. This challenge requires students to examine the types of cleaning products currently being used in their school and determine if the products are “green”. A Green Cleaning Audit will be conducted which identifies the chemicals currently in use. The chemical components of the products will be identified and the chemical structures noted. Research will be needed to determine if the chemicals are harmful to people and/or the environment and why. If harmful products are in use, alternative products and cleaning practices should be researched and recommended.  Finally, the plan will identify how a new Green Cleaning Program will be implemented.

Student products will be evaluated by NSA staff and top solutions will be acknowledged. 

E-mail questions about the challenge to: STEMChallenge@MBRT.org

Environmental Science Lesson:

Students will conduct a Green Cleaning Audit and collect data on the types of chemicals found in the cleaning products within their school in order to develop a Green Cleaning Program that promotes more earth and people friendly products and practices. The Green Cleaning Audit, along with background research on the chemicals found in cleaning products and their effects on humans and the environment, will enable students to formulate a Green Cleaning Program that will provide alternative cleaning products and new practices that are more environmentally friendly.

Chemistry Lesson:

Students will use prior knowledge about molecular structure and its impact on chemical properties to examine the composition and action of cleaners.  In addition, they will use prior knowledge to look at the solvent properties of cleaners.  They will explore the environmental impacts of cleaners and use the principles of green chemistry to evaluate the formulation of an environmentally friendly cleaner.  Finally, students will use acquired information to prepare a public service announcement or similar artifact promoting green cleaners or green cleaning practices from a chemistry viewpoint.

 

Enduring Understanding

Environmental Science:

  • Green cleaning programs have many positive effects on humans and the environment. 
  • Human activities and products involve some level of risk to human health.

Chemistry:

  • Matter is conserved.
  • The properties of chemical compounds and solutions are determined by the composition and structure.

 

Essential Questions

Environmental Science:

  • How can a green cleaning program reduce the environmental impact/footprint of the school?
  • How can a green cleaning program enhance other environmental efforts such as improving indoor air quality, reducing energy use, and recycling?
  • How can chemicals in cleaning products affect the environment and human health?

Chemistry:

  • How do atoms combine to form the various chemicals we encounter?
  • How are the properties of a substance determined by its composition?
  • What happens to chemicals when they react?
  • How do the properties of a solvent affect its action on substances?

 

Environmental Science:

Students will be able to:

  • conduct a Green Cleaning Audit within their school.
  • collect data on current cleaning products used in the school.
  • research the types of chemicals contained in the cleaning products and any possible effects on the environment or human health.
  • research potential alternatives to current cleaning products used in the school.
  • create a video, Prezi, PowerPoint or other type of visual presentation to convey the results of the Green Cleaning Audit and the environmental effects of the current cleaning products.
  • develop a Green Cleaning Program with suggestions for the use of green cleaning products and their benefits for use in the school.

Chemistry:

Students will be able to:

  • Explain how the molecular composition of a detergent allows it to remove dirt.
  • Define volatile organic compounds and describe their impact on human health and the environment.
  • Use the principles of green chemistry to evaluate alternative cleaning agents.

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