.1. In what ways can green chemistry be integrated into the secondary school physical sciences curriculum.
2. Which systems thinking approach can be used to introduce green chemistry concepts
into the South African secondary school physical sciences curriculum?
3. How would teachers promote the teaching and learning of the integrated green
4. What are the barriers to integrate green chemistry into the secondary school
physical sciences curriculum in South Africa?
Don’t be fooled by labels! “Green” was always a marketing label to get projects funded and products sold. It is now overused to the point of invisibility. I prefer looking at “sustainable” chemistry, or minimizing wastes. Maybe labeling part of a unit “green” is the only real impediment to incorporating best chemistry practices into any curriculum.
You should be able to use ANY chemical reaction or process as an introduction to the responsible use of chemicals. When it may be applied to industrial processes, be sure to use and follow the full lifecycle cost analysis to teach the real impact of the technology.
“Promotion” of the concepts should not be a problem, as one purpose of scientific inquiry is to improve the quality of life for humans. We try to make things a little bit better than they were before. Ignorance and utility always will be factors, and things that are useful may also be found to be harmful in other areas, so NEW ideas are pursued! It is a good place to also introduce the necessity of Critical Thinking, as choices will need to be made about the benefits as well as the costs involved in any process.
Barriers might be strictly regulated textbooks or lesson plans. Thinking of it as a separate (and thus additional) topic would meet resistance based on time and resource allocations. But as I said at first, it is NOT a separate topic, but a way to look at the continuing advances in chemical knowledge and technology to improve our overall welfare.