in the High School:
"For Teachers, By Teachers"
The High School level Green Chemistry lesson plans from Beyond Benign are designed to give teachers the tools to both do and teach green chemistry in their classrooms. The lessons are divided in to three sections, each of which is listed below.
Teachers who wish to infuse Green Chemistry into a regular Chemistry course at the high school level should use the "Curriculum Mapping" document to augment their established curriculum and replace laboratory activities that use and teach techniques and materials that are hazardous to human health and the environment. The topic areas are those typically included in a high school introductory chemistry course.
Curriculum Mapping PDF
Intro to GC for Teachers PDF
Intro to GC Principles Presentation PDF
Section 1. What is Green Chemistry?
Featuring lessons that define green chemistry and introduce the 12 principles of green chemistry
"What is Green Chemistry
from the American Chemical Society" - [ppt]
- "Writing the Principles" - Use a lab-based simulation to introduce the 12 principles of green chemistry in an accessible way.
- "The Footprint of a Chemistry Teacher" – Understand the concept of chemical footprint and why every time we use potentially hazardous chemicals we are exposing ourselves to hazard.
Download: [doc] [ppt]
- "Environmental Impact Factor" – Understand the concept of Environmental Impact Factor, how to calculate it and how to use it in evaluation of household products and chemical processes.
- "Lifecycle and Sustainability Analysis" – Discover how to use a lifecycle analysis and the sustainability triangle to evaluate a product or process for ‘green’.
Section 2. Green Chemistry in Industry
Featuring lessons inspired by industry examples and current green chemistry research efforts in the field. Lessons are linked to national learning standards.
- "VBT" – Bio-inspired Polymers: Students learn about a new technology to make the manufacturing of small electronics safer. [doc]
- "Dye-Sensitized Blackberry Solar Cell" - Students create their own solar cell using non-toxic materials and blackberry fruit as the dye, understanding how solar cells are manufactured currently and the green chemistry research towards greener solar energy devices.
- "Essential Oil Extraction Using Liquid CO2" - Students explore ways to extract essential oils from citrus fruits and evaluate the methods used against the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry.
- "TAML Industry Example" - Students explore a Presidential Green Chemistry Award winning technology while looking at the difference between hard and soft water and the concept of a catalyst.
Download: [doc] [ppt]
- "Sea-nine 211 Industry Example" - Students perform an LD50 lab, connecting this concept to a Presidential Green Chemistry Award winning technology used as an antifoulant.
- "Petretec Industry Example" - Students practice molecular model building and Lewis dot structures while considering a common plastic material and a more benign Presidential Green Chemistry Award winning technology.
Download: [doc] [ppt]
- "Recycling Polylactic Acid" - Students learn how to take a renewable product, a PLA plastic cup, and extend its lifetime by converting the cup into a cleaning solution.
- "Climate Change Chemistry" - In this unit students consider the chemistry behind the concept of climate change while exploring gases and gas laws.
Download: [doc] [ppt]
- "Green Chemistry, Biomimicry and Intermolecular Forces" - Students explore the use of adhesives, intermolecular forces and how biomimicry is being used by chemists to invent greener alternative products.
Download: [intro doc] [lesson doc] [ppt]
- "Chemistry of Cosmetics" - Students look at the materials used to make common cosmetics products. They look at the molecular structure of organic compounds and how the shape of the molecule effects the toxicity and potential health hazards that have been associated with cosmetic ingredients.
Download: [doc] [ppt] [Naming Molecules ppt]
- "Synthesis of Biodiesel" - Students consider the properties of different oils used to make biodiesel and then make their own fuel.
Section 3. Green Chemistry Replacement Laboratory Exercises
Featuring replacement lessons for core teaching concepts that use green chemistry principles. Lessons are linked to national learning standards.
- "Acids, Bases and pH" - Students measure the pH, categorize or group substances based on physical properties and observe physical properties of acids and bases.
- "Catalysts and Oxygen" - This lab replaces manganese dioxide to demonstrate the effect of a catalyst in a reaction. Students will understand the concept of a catalyst and reaction rates, and how a catalyst can improve the efficiency of a process.
- "Enthalpy of Combustion"- Investigating the molar heat of combustion of paraffin, compared to soy wax, students will be able to measure the thermal heat absorbed by water, measure the heat of combustion of paraffin and soy wax and calculate the molar heat of the combustion of paraffin.
- "Equilibrium/Le Chatelier's principle" - This lesson gives students an understanding of the concept of chemical equilibrium and demonstrates Le Chatelier’s Principle.
- "Exothermic and Endothermic" - Many teachers use the calcium chloride and ammonium nitrate reaction to show exothermic and endothermic reactions. This alternative method uses a catalase, an enzyme found in nearly all living organisms. Students will perform an exothermic reaction, an endothermic reaction and a change in enthalpy (∆H) in an endothermic reaction.
- "Flame Tests and Emission Spectra" - Traditionally, flame emission spectra labs use solutions of toxic metal salts in Bunsen burners. Even when used on microscale the metal ions in the salt solutions become volatized. This redesigned lab uses candles with colored flames that burn at a much lower temperature and eliminates the preparation and disposal of the salt solutions. The candles burn slowly and may be observed concurrently, giving students sufficient time to compare and contrast the emission spectra.
- "Moles, Atoms and Grams oh my!" - This lesson practices the concept of the mole and the calculations involved in understanding how moles are used.
- "Solubility" - Students qualitatively and quantitatively describe the relationship between temperature and solubility for gases and solids. This lab uses two forms of magnesium (magnesium chloride and magnesium sulfate) to compare solubility of ionic solids and create a solubility curve. Solubility of gases is demonstrated by a simple demo experiment involving carbonated water and temperature differences.
- "Sublimation" - This lab replaces the traditional naphthalene sublimation lab. Students will observe sublimation (physical properties of matter) and explain the type of change that occurred.
- "Reactions Lab" - In this lesson students observe reactions and identify the type and products produced in those reactions and compare the reactions for their toxicity using the 12 principles of green chemistry.
- Replacement Labs:
The labs below were developed by Summer High School Green Chemistry Workshop graduates. These labs have yet to be fully tested in the classroom.
"Empirical Formula" - [doc]
"Stoichiometry Challenge" - [doc]
"Starch Concentration Lab" - [doc]
"Chemical or Physical?" - [doc]
"Green(er) Redox Lab" - [doc]
"Determining PV&T of Gases Formed" - [doc]
"Green Precipitation Reaction" - [doc]
"Electron Transitions" - [doc]
- Additional Lessons:
"Mole of Rice Activity" - [doc]
"Making Paint Activity" - [doc]
Contact us for more information
Green Chemistry Online Course for Educators
Green Chemistry is the science of creating safe, energy efficient and non-toxic products and processes and offers a concrete path towards solving the environmental problems our society faces today.
This course begins with an introduction to the 12 principles of green chemistry and then concentrates on the exploration and creation of green chemistry lesson plan materials. Educational resources that are proven vehicles for bringing green chemistry concepts to high school students will be introduced. These lesson plans are designed to integrate into current curriculum and meet national education standards in science and connecting disciplines.
The materials are designed for high-tech, low-tech
and no-tech implementation so that teachers with
varying resources have an avenue for implementation.
John Warner "Intellectual Ecology" Part 1
John Warner: Intellectual Ecology from Bioneers on You Tube.
Nature teaches us that no system is truly isolated and positive synergies are often at work. Yet the isolation of the various technological disciplines in our educational and industrial institutions has limited synergy in the human-built world. These walls are starting to break down.
A seminal founder of Green Chemistry, Dr. John Warner explores the opportunities to learn from nature about materials and the very process of innovation and creativity. He co-founded the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, and was formerly a professor of Community Health and Sustainability and of Plastics Engineering at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Author of over 100 patents, papers and books including Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice, he serves on the board of the Green Chemistry Institute in Washington DC.
Watch Part 2
Beyond Benign Receives Recognition of Exemplary Work in the Incorporation of Sustainability into Chemistry Education
The American Chemical Society presented Beyond Benign's Director of Curriculum Development, Rachel Pokrandt, with an award at the annual spring conference this year. As part of the American Chemical Society's goal to "be a global leader in enlisting the world's scientific professionals to address, through chemistry, the challenges facing our world", the Society's Committee on Environmental Improvement recognizes those individuals or groups who have made exemplary contributions to the incorporation of sustainability into chemical education.about the award
Courtesy Fisher Scientific Education
All Green Chemistry lessons and teaching materials are provided exclusively to teachers under a Creative Commons license.What this license allows
Contact us for a waiver
Geener Education Materials (GEMs) is an interactive collection of chemistry education materials focused on green chemistry. Green Chemistry is the redesign of chemical transformations and processes to reduce or eliminate the use of materials that are hazardous to human health and the environment.
The database is designed as a comprehensive resource of education materials including laboratory exercises, lecture materials, course syllabi and multimedia content that illustrate chemical concepts important for green chemistry. Each entry includes a description of the item and is searchable by a variety of parameters, including chemistry concepts, laboratory techniques, green chemistry principles, and target audience. Database entries incorporate both published and unpublished materials.
The Green Chemistry Education Network (GC Ed Net) serves as a catalyst for integrating green chemistry in chemical education at all levels. As a network of educators we support opportunities to research, develop, implement and disseminate green educational materials. The GC Ed Net reaches out to all chemistry educators through collaboration and mentoring, facilitating professional growth, and fostering the synergistic integration of green chemistry in education.
Looking for a green chemistry contact in your area? Consult the recently updated Green Chemistry Google map, listing over 400 individuals and organizations worldwide. Currently, 75% of the map population works at an academic institution with 15% working in industry. While most of the work focuses on education and/or research, 25% of the community list outreach activities as a significant component of their work. The map project was initiated at the University of Oregon and its growth and success is the result of an amazing three-year partnership with the green chemistry community. Use the link below to add yourself to the map by selecting the the "Instructions" link located in the upper right hand corner of the map page. We know you are out there, please help us make the invisible...visible.
Quick Reference, Handouts & Posters
- What is Green Chemistry? - Flyer
- Green Chemistry...Of Course - Mini-Poster
- the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry - Poster
(Some materials are provided in PDF format)
For more curricula, visit the website of our Biomimicry partners!
The Biomimicry Institute is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to nurture and grow a global community of people who are learning from, emulating, and conserving life's genius to create a healthier, more sustainable planet.Learn More