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Green and Sustainable Chemistry In the Curriculum: Looking Ahead at Resource Development

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By Jenny MacKellar, Program Manager, ACS Green Chemistry Institute ®

In the last couple of Nexus newsletters, we have shared information about ACS GCI’s efforts to draw connections between Systems Thinking and Chemistry Education, as well as our efforts to develop resources for chemistry educators to help integrate these concepts into the classroom. Although the current COVID-19 pandemic has slightly altered our plans for 2020, we are continuing to march on with advancing our goal of “chemistry education that equips and inspires chemists to solve the grand challenges of sustainability.”

As the December post mentions, we are in the process of developing education modules for undergraduate general and organic chemistry courses that connect green and sustainable chemistry to the chemistry curriculum using a systems thinking lens. Since the project got underway in January, we have been working with collaborators from the InTeGrate Leadership Team, to develop an evaluation rubric for the modules. The InTeGrate team pursued a similar effort to build systems thinking modules for the geosciences.  The goal of the module evaluation rubric is to create a transparent, consistent evaluation tool for module developers to aid in the production of high quality education resources that reinforce the goals of the project.

The rubric evaluates the following areas of the education modules:

  • . Guiding principles of green and sustainable chemistry, systems thinking, and chemistry principles
  • . Learning objectives and goals for each module
  • . Assessment and measurement of student learning
  • . Resources and materials for instructional use
  • . Instructional strategies appropriateness and quality
  • . Alignment of module elements to one another

We are currently in the process of identifying topics for modules that are aligned with the green and sustainable chemistry core competencies that were developed through the education roadmap initiative. The goal is to apply green chemistry principles and systems thinking to topics in the general and organic chemistry curricula in creating new teaching resources.

In the coming months we will begin recruiting module development teams. The groups will be comprised of representatives from a wide variety of institutions and will be supported by experts in pedagogy, systems thinking and green and sustainable chemistry.

Become a Part of the Team!

Whether you are an educator, student or industry scientist, if you are interested in getting involved to shape this endeavor, please contact to discuss ways you can contribute.