PETE DfE Alliance "Pollution Prevention in Chemistry Instruction Project." (Partnership for Environmental Technology Education Design for the Environment Alliance)

Journal of Environmental Health, June 1997 | Go to article overview

PETE DfE Alliance "Pollution Prevention in Chemistry Instruction Project." (Partnership for Environmental Technology Education Design for the Environment Alliance)


The PETE DfE Alliance described in the May issue of the Journal of Environmental Health is a Green Chemistry initiative. The "Pollution Prevention in Chemistry Instruction Program" will instill the principles of green chemistry in community college chemistry instructors and subsequently into tomorrow's chemists, chemical engineers and scientists. The Partnership for Environmental Technology Education (PETE) is partnering with two award winning university chemistry programs: Colorado State University (Ft. Collins, Colorado) and Merrimack College (North Andover, Massachusetts). These institutions will train PETE college chemistry faculty in Small-Scale and Microscale instructional techniques and Green Chemistry. The American Chemical Society (ASC) is assisting with promotion and program evaluation. Fifty faculty members were selected to participate in a two-week Small-Scale Inorganic Chemistry Workshop at Colorado State University and twenty-four to participate in a one-week workshop in Microscale Organic Chemistry at Merrimack College. Both workshops will be held in June 1997. Participating colleges will each year have the opportunity to submit proposals to become permanent small-scale or microscale training centers as part of a PETE national pollution prevention contract training network.

SMALL-SCALE INORGANIC CHEMISTRY: POLLUTION PREVENTION IN GENERAL CHEMISTRY INSTRUCTION

Small-Scale Inorganic Chemistry was developed by Dr. Stephen Thompson of Colorado State University to emphasize student learning through experimentation, reduce laboratory costs, reduce student exposure to toxic chemicals, and to improve pollution prevention and waste minimization. Small-Scale Chemistry is an innovative approach to teaching general chemistry based on creativity, invention, problem-solving, and authentic assessment using inquiry-based, hands-on, time-efficient, inexpensive and conservation-based experiments. Small-Scale Chemistry is rooted in the sound philosophy that students can take greater responsibility for their own learning and develop a deeper understanding of concepts by experiencing the process of discovery first-hand as researchers working in partnership with their peers and teachers.

Small-Scale Chemistry builds pollution prevention, waste minimization, and student safety at the design level rather than controlling it at the disposal stage. Drops of chemicals used as their own containers replace liters of hazardous waste in breakable glass-ware. The innovative use of high tech plasticware designed for genetics research reduces costs while maintaining safety and sophistication. Small-Scale Chemistry inherently manifests characteristics of the "Green Chemistry" movement by incorporating the principles and methodology of source reduction.

OBJECTIVES OF THE SMALL-SCALE CHEMISTRY PROGRAM

1. To select and train at least 150 community and technical college faculty from each of the PETE regions over a period of three years.

2. To establish a permanent network of 60 Small-Scale Inorganic Chemistry PETE Training Centers strategically located in the six PETE regions.

3. To provide start-up materials to each of the centers and to assist in the development and delivery of workshops and training.

THE SMALL-SCALE CHEMISTRY SUMMER INSTITUTE

The purpose of the Small-Scale Chemistry Summer Institute is to provide community and technical college instructors of general chemistry with the necessary skills, resources, and information to employ Small-Scale Laboratory techniques in their own classrooms. The Small-Scale Chemistry Training Seminar will be offered by Colorado State University Center for Science, Mathematics and Technology Education (CSMATE) June 2-13, 1997. Participants will set up and work through a wealth of classroom Small-Scale laboratory experiments addressing environmental chemistry topics. Participants will also discover the innovative educational and conservative techniques that are not available in traditional chemistry experiments. …

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