By the end of this lesson, students should be able to
- Understand different acid base theories.
This lesson supports students’ understanding of
- Acids & bases
Teacher Preparation: 30 minutes
Lesson: 2 class periods
- Computer access
No particular safety concerns need to be observed for this project.
- This resource could be used as a post-AP Chemistry exam activity.
- This creative project acknowledges students' multiple intelligences and promotes higher-order thinking skills. Students write a letter from the perspective of a historical figure or scientist studying acid/base chemistry. Students will learn the importance and relevance of acid/base chemistry to our lives, while exploring how definitions of acids and bases changed throughout history.
For the Student
You will write a letter from the point of view of a historical person, and it should include factual details that are accurate and scientific. To make it authentic, pay attention to the font, word choice, layout, and physical appearance. It can be written to anyone. Some research about what personal letters, diary entries, museum documents, communication among colleagues (scientist, dentist, etc.) may be necessary to produce a creative, authentic, and aesthetically pleasing document.
Look at the topics below and select one that interests you. Do some research to learn more about the specific connections to acid-base chemistry, and take notes on the following:
- Definition of acids/bases, pH, and relationship between pH and H+/OH- concentration according to your person/topic.
- Chemical reactions involving acids/bases with explanation of reactants/products in detail that are relevant to your person/topic.
- Historical/contextual background about research topic or life of your person.
- Implications of acid-base chemistry in everyday life (so what?).
- Robert Boyle
- Antoine Lavoisier
- Humphry Davy
- Justig Liebig
- Svante Arrhenius
- Joannes Nicolaus Brønsted
- Thomas Martin Lowry
- G.N. Lewis
- scuba diver observing acidification of coral reefs
- museum director working to preserve limestone sculptures from acid rain
- dentist advising against citric acid in soda due to effect on teeth enamel (also talk about toothpaste)
- scientist studying effects of acid rain on aquatic or terrestrial ecosystems
- famous chef or molecular gastronomist describing acids/bases in the context of the kitchen
- formic acid in ant bite and stinging nettles (need to mention English naturalist John Ray)
Suggested resources for historical figures