Chemistry in our Lives

This topic, from the Association for Science Education, allows classes in schools across the world to explore and exchange information about the many chemical products which people use in their homes. The topic is provided in English and 10 other languages.

Students examine the labelling of chemical products and learn about the international symbols for labelling chemical substances. They have the opportunity to make and test a chemical product. Students examine the importance of chemistry outside their homes in their locality, their region or country. This provides opportunities to study what chemists do in their work and the importance of chemistry to the economy.

This topic illustrates these ideas: that all materials are made up of chemicals or mixtures of them; that chemicals can react together to make different substances with new properties; and that chemists make new substances by mixing elements and compounds, while controlling the conditions to produce useful products.

As they work through the activities, students have the opportunity to carry out a survey, design a safety label, synthesise a chemical product, and to find out about a chemical story or issue. After exchanging their findings and views with students in other countries, students compare and discuss the responses received from classes in other parts of the world.

This global topic fits into the chemistry curriculum and in most countries it is suitable for students aged 12-16. The variety of languages provided means that this topic is of particular interest to language teachers. Guidance for language teachers is provided in English and some other languages. This topic is available in English, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, Farsi, Korean, Russian, Ukrainian and Arabic.

The topic appeared in the ASE Science Year CD called Only Connect? There are still schools making active use of Science Across the World topics and exchanging ideas and information. For details visit the Science Across the World pages of the ASE web site.

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