Teach National Historic Chemical Landmarks -- Now Some in Spanish!

By ACS on September 22, 2021

A National Historic Chemical Landmark is an American Chemical Society (ACS) designation that recognizes technologies and scientists that have made an impact on society. To date, ACS has recognized 89 people or discoveries as Chemical Landmarks. One reason ACS makes these designations is to help students learn the historical impact of chemistry on their lives today. Each landmark has a webpage that explains the significance of the person’s research or discovery in a way that students can comprehend and relate to chemical concepts they are learning in a first-year high school course. Some landmarks include chlorofluorocarbons and ozone depletiondeciphering the genetic code and Joseph Priestley, discoverer of oxygen.

ACS offers a collection of lesson plans for teachers to use alongside some of these readings to further help students appreciate the significance of chemistry. The lessons, reading materials, videos and student activities are designed as ready-to-go lessons, easily implemented by a chemistry teacher or substitute, to supplement a unit of study. Currently, there are 15 lesson plans that accompany landmark readings, with more coming each year.

ACS has also translated a collection of landmark readings into Spanish. Three have accompanying lessons, however, that piece is in English. Students can read the explanation of the technology or person’s contribution to chemistry in Spanish and distill their understanding in English. What a great way for English language learners to engage in chemistry! Or if your school has a Spanish immersion program, English-speaking students can be challenged to read a technical piece in the language they are learning.

The National Historic Chemical Landmarks program is open to new ideas.

  • Is there a person or technology you think should be recognized?
    • Nominate someone or something.
  • Is there a landmark you’d like to see a lesson written around?
    • Request it or write one yourself and submit it!
  • Do you already use the Spanish-translated articles and have a lesson to share?
    • Submit it.
  • Is there a landmark you want to be translated into Spanish?
    • Suggest it.

Email landmarks@acs.org with any ideas, content, or suggestions.