Staying Green while Being Clean – Green Cleaning and Green Chemistry

Warm Up: Evaluating Cleaning Supplies
     1. Have students think about the different types of cleaning supplies that they use at their house. Make a list on the board of each mentioned and all the areas they are used to clean.

     2. Using a bottle of cleaning supply as an example, read off the ingredients and ask students how many they have heard of. Have they ever considered what they are being exposed to when they use these supplies in their house?

Activity One: Connecting Green Cleaning and POPs
     1. Pass out Reproducible #2- Green Cleaning Supplies and POP Outline to each student.

     2. Using Reproducible #1- Teacher’s Guide to Green Cleaning and POPs, teach students about green cleaning supplies and POPs, having them fill in their outline and label the diagrams as they go.

     3. Leave time at the end for answering questions about the material.

Activity Two: Finding Solutions- Green Chemistry
     1. Introduce students to the idea of green chemistry (Green chemistry is defined as the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and/or generation of hazardous substances. In other words, green chemists not only aim to eliminate hazardous byproducts, but also to minimize or abolish the use of hazardous substances in all processes). Pass out and go through Reproducible #4- The 12 Main Principles of Green Chemistry.

     2. Ask students to think about which of the main principles they think are the most important. Are there any that they think are less important then others? Do any not make sense to them?

     3. Have students brainstorm and think of areas where green chemistry could be used (industry, medicine, cleaning supplies, toiletries, paints, etc.) Write them on the board for everyone to see. This should help students see that green chemistry affects numerous areas of their lives, and help them to start thinking about how many chemicals they are exposed to each day.

Activity Three: Green Cleaning and Green Chemistry Lab
     1. Before class begins, set up the five stations where students will compare their cleaner to a brand-name cleaning supply. Each station should be one of the brand-name cleaning supplies mentioned on the table in the lab (i.e. copper, tile/countertop, floor, wood, and sink). You may want to make the area to be cleaned dirtier so that the results from their experiment are easier to observe.

     2. Split students into lab groups of 3-4 each.

     3. Pass out Reproducible #4- Green Cleaning and Green Chemistry Lab to students. Have them collect materials and go over the safety tips before they begin.

Wrap Up: Peer Review
     1. When they are finished with their lab, explain to students that any scientific study must be published for other scientists to review and critique. This allows opposing viewpoints to be heard and healthy debate to form. Have each lab group discuss what their conclusions were from their experiment. Did everyone else have the same results? What did they observe that was different?

Extension: The Chemical Revolution
Use the information in Reproducible #5- Researching the Development of Chemicals to have your students write a 1-2 page paper on how chemicals and products originated and why they became mainstream in so many of our daily products. Have them build on this by examining why science and industry are beginning to implement green chemistry practices.