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  • Cover for Celebrating Chemistry, Chemists Celebrate Earth Week, cover
    02/07/20

    Emma Corcoran creates article published in Chemists Celebrate Earth Week

Senior chemistry major, Emma Corcoran, has been published as one of the feature articles in the American Chemical Society's Celebrating Chemistry, a publication for intermediate and middle school students in grades 4th-6th for "Chemists Celebrate Earth Week." 

Emma Corcoran and Jane Wissinger holding blue edible water pods.
Senior Chemistry Major Emma Corcoran and Professor Jane Wissinger have created a curriculum around edible water pods and published an article in the American Chemical Society's Celebrating Chemistry Earth Week publication, "Protecting our Planet through Chemistry."

Working with Professor Jane Wissinger, a leading expert in the design of green chemistry experiments and curriculum, Emma's article focuses on earth-friendly plastics, and leads students through the creation of edible water pods to replace the use of plastic water bottles.

For her senior honors thesis, Emma has been working with Wissinger to create a full curriculum around this experiment for middle and high school students. The curriculum was based off of the edible water pods outreach activity from Beyond Benign, an organization that makes green chemistry curriculum for K-12 and college classrooms. The full curriculum includes lesson plans and worksheets for middle and high-school classrooms. In the lessons, students are guided through making batches of edible water pods made from sodium alginate and calcium lactate, and then design an inquiry of their own about the pods. Both the middle- and high-school lesson plans hit state/national science standards as well as introduce green chemistry. Last fall, the high school curriculum was piloted at White Bear Lake High School. This spring, Emma is finalizing the project and completing her thesis. Emma and Professor Wissinger are also working on a Journal of Chemical Education article about the lessons. 

Emma is an outstanding chemistry major and hopes to eventually become a chemistry teacher. She is also a coordinator working with the Energy and U program.