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  • 06/21/17

    Twenty-three high school teachers participate in green chemistry workshop

Professor Jane Wissingerhosted a newly-created workshop for chemistry high school teachers focused on how they can bring Green & Sustainable Chemistry into their classrooms. Twenty-three teachers from across the state of Minnesota are participating in the workshop, which was conducted from June 20 through June 22 at the University of Minnesota.

The Center for Sustainable Polymers (CSP), in partnership with the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, is offering this free workshop. Wissinger is a CSP investigator and is a leading expert in green chemistry. Her co-hosts are Cassandra Knutson from White Bear Lake High School, and Cassidy Javner from Shakopee High School. Both Knutson and Javner are participating in the University’s Materials Research Science & Engineering Center (MRSEC) Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program. 

High school chemistry teacher Barbara Blake from Blaine High School works on a green chemistry experiment.
High school chemistry teacher Barbara Blake from Blaine High School works on a green chemistry experiment.

Teachers participating in the workshop received instruction on the principles of green chemistry, industrial applications, and potential impacts to human health and the environment. Shared lesson plans illustrated how green and sustainable practices apply to secondary chemistry classrooms with education standards in mind. 

The teachers gained hands-on experience with safer, cost-effective labs that minimize waste and are drop-in replacements for traditional secondary chemistry labs. Topics such as bioplastics, polymeric medical sutures, and use of biomimicry were explored, demonstrating relevance to societal needs. 

In addition, the participating teachers will partner with workshop instructors and one another to develop or modify experiments for use in their classrooms. Upon returning to their respective high schools during the 2017–2018 academic year, the teachers are committed to implementing at least two green chemistry experiments that they explored or developed at the workshop.

The teachers will receive a $300 stipend and potentially the option to earn 2 graduate level credits from the Colorado School of Mines (CSM). They will also receive resources for lab implementation in their classrooms. 

Andrea DelZoppo and Marie James, chemistry teachers from Aitkin High School, work their way through a green chemistry experiment.
Andrea DelZoppo and Marie James, chemistry teachers from Aitkin High School, work their way through a green chemistry experiment.