Category: Planet Earth. Last updated June 20, 2023.

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Chemistry and the Environment covers a lot of ground, from climate science to water to recycling. Learn more with these links, including the Earth's ozone layer, greenhouse gases, forming a stream team, making a mini ocean model, recycling your old phone, and more.


  1. Activities
  2. Demos
  3. Labs
  4. Articles
  5. Videos


  • Climate Science: More Than Just a Weather Report from American Chemical Society Chemists Celebrate Earth Day
    Several activities related to Climate Science: Cabbage Juice Indicator, UV Light and UV Detecting Beads, Climate Change Word Search and Collecting Particles from Air.
  • Cleaning-up the Plastic Island from AACT
    Students work together to engineer a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution for cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
  • Climate Kids from NASA
    Take a tour through the big questions of climate science, then try out games and activities.
  • A Student's Guide to Global Climate Change from the US Environmental Protection Agency
    If you’re ready to learn about climate, these hands-on, interactive lesson plans are waiting and ready for you.
  • Plastic Bags from Beyond Benign
    How do you take your food home—paper, plastic, or reusable bags? Work with data and see how you measure up.
  • Stream Team from Utah State University
    Put together your dream stream team to monitor the health of local waterways with this guide.
  • Convection Detection from Exploratorium
    It rises, then falls. And rises, then falls. And… these swirls and currents of color are hypnotizing.
  • Water Diary from Thirteen.org
    Did you take a short or long shower today? Did you wash your clothes? Keep track of how much water you use in a week.



  • How Do We Clean Up An Oil Spill from AACT
    In this lab activity, students simulate an oil spill and test different materials’ ability to “clean” the oil spill.
  • Shell Shifts from Exploratorium
    If seashells are under the water, how can changes in the air affect them? Learn how!
  • Ocean Chemistry
    These nine activities teach concepts related to ocean acidification, pH, carbon dioxide and coral reefs.
  • Oil Spill Cleanup from Teach Engineering
    Student teams create their own oil spills, try different methods for cleaning them up, and then discuss the merits of each method in terms of effectiveness (cleanliness) and cost.


  • In the Fog About Smog from ChemMatters
    This ChemMatters article can clear up any lingering brain fog you might have about this climate phenomenon.
  • Clearing the Air from ChemMatters
    More than 70 years ago, a deadly smog helped spur a national fight against air pollution. Today, most of us breathe cleaner air, but at least one primary pollutant is still putting the health of many at risk.
  • Great Pacific Garbage Patch from PBS News Hour
    It’s not just trash talk—it’s really out there in the North Pacific. And it’s even bigger than they thought.
  • Growing Green Death Trend from Business Insider
    One state is about to offer a new choice of how you can deal with deceased human remains. Composting will soon be on the list.


  • Burning Ice from the Ocean Floor from ACS Reactions
    This Reactions video talks about the chemistry of methane hydrates as a source of energy and a climate change threat.

  • Cow Burps Are Warming the Planet from ACS Reactions
    Cows burp up a lot of methane thanks to the chemistry of their digestion and since methane is a greenhouse gas, our beef and dairy have huge climate change consequences.

  • A plan to recycle the unrecyclable | Ashton Cofer from TED-Ed Clubs
    From packing peanuts to disposable coffee cups, each year the US alone produces some two billion pounds of Styrofoam -- none of which can be recycled. Ashton Cofer and his science fair teammates developed a heating treatment to break down used Styrofoam into something useful.

  • How Plastic Recycling Actually Works from ACS Reactions
    What happens to plastic bottles when you recycle them? Learn why it's easier to turn bottles into workout shirts than it is to fully recycle the plastic.

  • I Created an Oil Spill in My House from ACS Reactions
    Bacteria are often painted as our adversaries, but when it comes to oil spills, toxic chemicals, and radioactive waste, they could be what save us from ourselves.