Assignment Information

Relating Chemistry to Technology,

Society, and the Environment

art of this course involves being able to relate the course content to Science, Technology, Society and the Environment (STSE).

For each unit of the course, you will be choosing a recent journal publication or news article that specifically relates to the STSE curriculum expectations. For each unit, you will create a 250-word blog post relating to the article. A list of the STSE expectations is included with this assignment. You will also write an additional blog post related to careers related to Chemistry, for a total of 6 blog posts.

Your blog will be linked to a class blog. Once you have completed this, you will also be commenting on the posts of 6 of your classmates.

How to set up your Blog:

Create your own blog (wordpress, google sites, wix, etc) for your post. Whichever blog platform you choose, it must support commenting. Once your blog has been created, you will submit your link to your teacher using instructions provided.

Submission link:

What to include in each blog post:

Each post should be 250 words at most and include:

q a paragraph that gives a context for your article that strongly connects it to our course content (for example, if you choose an article in which mutations that cause nearsightedness have been identified, give background information on mutations, using our textbook, or other source as a reference.)

q a link to your article

q a brief summary (1 paragraph) of the article

q your personal reflection on the information presented in the article. What you think is the most compelling social benefit/ethical issue/legal implication raised by the information in the article?

q Finally, at least one question that will generate constructive discussion among your classmates

q Include a reference list (each article + the textbook + any other sources used) in MLA format on the "About" page of your blog.

Replies to Posts:

q By the end of the course, you should have commented on 6 posts from 6 other students in the class. Each reply should be no longer than 100 words, and include:

q your personal reflection on the article summarized in the post (including a connection to youas well as a connection to the article that you read)

q a comment on the social benefit/ethical issue/legal implication raised

q a discussion of the question raised by the post

Helpful Guide: How to use Blogger guide:


Post 1: Due – April 7th, 2015 Post 2: Due- April 17th, 2015

Post 3: Due – April 29th, 2015 Post 4: Due - May 8th, 2015

Post 5: Due - May 19th, 2015 Post 6: Due- May 29th, 2015

STSE Curriculum Expectations: Some ideas if you are stuck

Blog Post #1: MATTER & BONDING

Analyze the properties of a commonly used but potentially harmful chemical substance (e.g., fertilizer, pesticide, household cleaning product). How does the substance affect the environment? Propose ways to lessen the harmfulness of the substance (e.g., by reducing the amount used, by modifying one of its chemical components) or identify alternative substances that could be used for the same purpose.

● Many commercial household cleaning products contain corrosive substances that can accumulate in the environment. There are now many “green” cleaners that do not contain these substances, although some of these products may not be as environmentally friendly as claimed.

● Why is it more environmentally friendly to use latex rather than oil-based paint? Why should paint never be poured down a drain? What properties of some common pharmaceuticals allow them to stay in water systems and influence the growth and development of organisms? What are some ways in which this impact can be reduced?


Evaluate the risks and benefits to human health of some commonly used chemical substances (e.g., chemical additives in foods; pharmaceuticals; cosmetics and perfumes; household cleaning products)

● Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, are used as sugar substitutes to reduce calories in processed foods and beverages. Although such sweeteners may benefit people who are watching their weight, or those with diabetes, some experts say that their harmful effects on human health may outweigh their benefits.

● How can the use of non-stick cookware help reduce the amount of fat in our diet? What risks are associated with the use of such cookware? What are the risks and benefits of using sunscreens that contain PABA? What are the risks and benefits of using insect repellents that contain DEET?


Analyse, on the basis of research, chemical reactions used in various industrial processes (e.g., pulp and paper production, mining, chemical manufacturing) that can have an impact on the health and safety of local populations

● Base metal smelting produces useful metals such as zinc, lead, copper, and nickel directly from their ores. However, during smelting, harmful compounds can be released into the environment, including cadmium, arsenic, sulfur dioxide, and mercury, all of which can endanger the health and safety of local populations.

● What are some chemical reactions used in the manufacture of paper? How might the reactants or products of the pulp and paper production process affect the health of people living near the plant? In what ways might the leaching of chemicals from tailing ponds affect the water quality in a local community? In what ways do toxic chemical fires affect local communities?


Assess the effectiveness of some applications of chemical reactions that are used to address social and environmental needs and problems

● Scrubber systems are a group of air pollution control devices used by industry to remove or neutralize acid exhaust gases before they reach the atmosphere. Scrubber technologies help to reduce acid precipitation, but there are many different scrubbing techniques with varying levels of effectiveness in controlling acid gas emissions.

● How are chemical reactions used to remediate environments affected by chemical spills? How can tailing ponds be rehabilitated to lessen the effects of hazardous chemicals on plant populations? What types of chemical reactions can change a toxic chemical into one that is less toxic or non-toxic?


Analyse processes in the home, the workplace, and the environmental sector that involve the use of chemical quantities and calculations (e.g., mixing household cleaning solutions, calculating chemotherapy doses, monitoring pollen counts)

● Health care professionals are expected to calculate dosages of prescription drugs accurately and safely. This requires precision in applying fractions, decimals, ratios, percentages, and metric conversions. Despite the care taken by health care professionals, improper medication use by patients accounts for about 30% of hospital emergency department visits.

● Why is baking powder used in cake batter? What happens when too much or too little of that ingredient is used? Why might two people on the same drug regimen not necessarily take the same dosage to treat the same illness? How are carbon dioxide emissions calculated and why are they monitored?


Assess, on the basis of research, the importance of quantitative accuracy in industrial chemical processes and the potential impact on the environment if quantitative accuracy is not observed

● Errors in quantitative accuracy have played a role in many industrial chemical disasters worldwide. Failing to adjust the quantities of chemicals needed to produce different batch sizes of a product have created runaway reactions, resulting in huge explosions. Such industrial accidents can have devastating shortand long-term effects on the environment.

● Why is it important to use the correct salt-sand mix on highways during winter storms? Why is it important to correctly measure the chemicals used in water treatment plants? How might incorrect measurements affect the environment? How and why are environmental contaminants monitored in soil, water, and air around a chemical manufacturing plant?


Analyse the origins and cumulative effects of pollutants that enter our water systems (e.g., landfill leachates, agricultural run-off, industrial effluents, chemical spills), and explain how these pollutants affect water quality

● Golf courses use fertilizer and irrigation systems to sustain the vegetation. However, chemical substances, when combined with water, may run off and pollute local water systems.

● What pollutants might be found in untreated wastewater from a chicken farm or a poultry-processing plant? How do leachates from old landfill sites enter our water system? How might they affect the water quality of local streams? What are some of the sources and effects of mercury in water systems? What impact might this contaminant have on Aboriginal communities that depend on fishing as a source of food?


Analyse economic, social, and environmental issues related to the distribution, purification, or use of drinking water (e.g., the impact on the environment of the use of bottled water)

● In developing countries, thousands of people, many of them children, die every year from drinking contaminated water. Many of these countries cannot afford to build water treatment plants. In North America, where safe water is generally available, we spend millions of dollars on bottled water, draining sources of fresh water and challenging waste-disposal systems.

● What are the economic costs of building, maintaining, and monitoring water-purification plants? What are the social and environmental costs if these plants are not properly maintained and monitored? How effective are municipal wastewater treatment processes at removing pharmaceuticals such as hormones and antibiotics from our drinking water? What public health concerns are associated with the consumption of water bottled in plastic containers?


Analyse the effects on air quality of some technologies and human activities (e.g., smelting; driving gas-powered vehicles), including their own activities, and propose actions to reduce their personal carbon footprint

● Gas-powered lawnmowers cut grass quickly and efficiently, but they emit greenhouse gases. However, there are several alternatives, including electric or push mowers or replacing lawn with a naturalized garden.

● In what ways does our consumption of products imported from distant countries affect our carbon footprint? How might “eat local–buy local” initiatives help to reduce our carbon footprint? How effectively does the use of digital communications for business reduce our carbon footprint?


Assess air quality conditions for a given Canadian location, using Environment Canada’s Air Quality Health Index, and report on some Canadian initiatives to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gases (e.g., Ontario’s Drive Clean program to control vehicle emissions)

● Historically, mining and smelting polluted the air, land, and water around Sudbury, Ontario. More recently, as a result of government regulations, industry has significantly reduced emissions, leading to an improvement in air quality and reversal in the acidification of local waterways.

● How effective has Ontario’s Drive Clean program been in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the province? What are some industrial and geographic factors that might make air quality in some communities very different from that in others? What are some municipal governments doing to improve local air quality? How can public transit initiatives help improve air quality? What are the limitations of such initiatives?


Identify and describe careers related to the fields of science under study, describe the contributions of scientists, including Canadians, to those fields, and the education and training necessary for these careers.

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