Session S42a (Tuesday, 9:30am, CHEM 102)

P398: Acid rain: a real-world topic through which students can learn chemistry

Anne K. Bentley (Lewis & Clark College, USA), Cathy Middlecamp (University of Wisconsin – Madison, USA), Michael Mury (American Chemical Society, USA)

Although the topic of acid rain is mentioned in many general chemistry textbooks, it usually is not given “prime time” exposure.  In Chemistry in Context, a project of the American Chemical Society, the chapter on acid rain is one that has stood the test of time.  Although environmental regulations have begun to curb the effects of acid rain in the United States, the problem persists in other parts of the world.  Recently, the chapter has expanded to include ocean acidification.  What chemical principles do students learn in this chapter?  How is each approached?  What types of activities assess student learning?  And what topics in sustainability can be introduced through the topic of acid rain?  The presenter will address these and other questions, also indicating how the topic of acid rain can be used more generally in other courses in the chemistry curriculum.

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