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Infusing Sustainability Science Literacy through Chemistry Education: Climate Science as a Rich Context for Learning Chemistry
ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering
  • Peter G. Mahaffy, The King's University
  • Brian E. Martin, The King's University
  • Mary Kirchhoff, American Chemical Society
  • Lallie McKenzie, Chem11 LLC
  • Thomas Holme, Iowa State University
  • Ashley Versprille, Purdue University
  • Marcy Towns, Purdue University
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Global science is paying increasingly urgent attention to sustainability challenges, as evidenced by initiatives such as the working group determining whether Earth has moved from the Holocene to the Anthropocene Epoch on the geologic time scale and the interdisciplinary efforts to define and quantify our planetary boundaries. Despite the fact that much of the scientific work underlying these initiatives is based on measurements of fundamental chemistry parameters, sustainability literacy has not been incorporated in any systematic way into the undergraduate chemistry curriculum. We report here on the philosophy and implementation of a NSF-funded initiative, Visualizing the Chemistry of Climate Change (VC3), which provides an exemplar for developing strategies to fill that gap, focusing on climate change, one of the defining sustainability challenges of the 21st century. VC3 targets the strategic first year university and college chemistry courses that are common to the program requirements of many science and engineering majors. The overall goals of the VC3 project are to infuse climate literacy principles into the learning of representative core topics in North American general chemistry courses for science majors, while demonstrating that learning core chemistry topics by starting with an important rich context is a viable approach.

Reprinted (adapted) with permission from ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng., 2014, 2 (11), pp 2488–2494. Copyright 2014 American Chemical Society.

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American Chemical Society
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Peter G. Mahaffy, Brian E. Martin, Mary Kirchhoff, Lallie McKenzie, et al.. "Infusing Sustainability Science Literacy through Chemistry Education: Climate Science as a Rich Context for Learning Chemistry" ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering Vol. 2 Iss. 11 (2014) p. 2488 - 2494
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