AACT Classroom Resources with Cross-Disciplinary Concepts: Connections to Biology and the Environment

By Kim Duncan on September 1, 2016

AACT offers its members many classroom lesson plans, activities, labs, demos, and multimedia resources that will help teachers to make interdisciplinary connections for their students in specific content areas. In our last post we explored the links between geology and earth science. Now we’ll take a look at resources that connect chemistry with biology and the environment.

Investigating Acid Rain Activity [High school]
In this activity, students will investigate the chemistry of acid rain through web based research. Students will also have the opportunity to observe the reaction between a common acid and a material in a week long simulation and relate their findings to the effects of acid rain. The resource all includes several cross-disciplinary extension activities. This activity requires 30 minutes for the web investigation and about 15 minutes per day for three or four days for the simulation and observations. Teacher prep time is 10 minutes.

How Do We Clean Up An Oil Spill? Activity [Middle or high school ]
In this activity, students simulate an oil spill and test different materials’ ability to “clean” the oil spill. By the end of the lesson they will be able to determine which sorbents (paper towel, cotton balls, rag, string, nylon pot scrubber, sponge, Styrofoam cup, garden peat moss) best absorb oil from fresh and salt water. This activity will take one class period and requires about 30 minutes of teacher preparation time.

Environmental Problems Lesson Plan [Elementary school]
In this lesson plan, students are presented with an environmental problem to solve using important concepts of chemistry, which involves a lake with deteriorating water quality. Students are provided with a map of the area, its history, a list of problems that are occurring at Lake Kamari, and water-quality data. They are challenged to determine the cause of the problems and come up with possible solutions. The lesson brings together elements of chemistry, biology, and Earth science. Teacher preparation time is 30 to 60 minutes for this week long lesson plan.

Sustainability Activity [Middle or high school]
In this activity, students are introduced to the idea of sustainability by building a vocabulary that they will use and develop through the unit. The subsequent unit focuses on water sustainability, specifically. Read more about this unit in the May 2015 issue of Chemistry Solutions. There are also links to supporting videos included in the resource. You will need about 15 minutes of preparation to get ready for this 50 minute lesson.

Understanding Renewable Energy Project [High school]
In this project, students will conduct research in order to become an “expert” on a specific type of renewable energy source. Students will produce a media presentation and a poster board as well as participate in a symposium focused on renewable energy sources. Teacher prep time will vary based on how they decide to assess the project. The project itself will take 8 – 10 days for students to complete research, prepare their presentations, and participate in the symposium.