Green and Microscale Chemistry Workshops



Waste Reduction Partners has been presenting ongoing workshops on Green and Microscale Chemistry (GMSC) since 2008.  The major emphasis is to introduce high school and middle school teachers to these concepts so they can be incorporated into the North Carolina Standard Course of Study. Our efforts are being coordinated with Spring Allen and Brian Polk (both of NCDENR).  They have been presenting safety considerations in high school and middle school environments in these workshops. During 2008 – 2009, NCDENR was awarded a grant for removal of hazardous chemicals from public schools in NC and Waste Reduction Partners was initially partially supported by that grant.

To date we have presented our workshop throughout the state of North Carolina at six colleges/universities:   Science House in Raleigh, Appalachian State University, Western Carolina University, Eastern Carolina University, University of NC at Charlotte, and Fayetteville State University.  The program has been attended by a total of 96 teachers.  Two more workshops are currently scheduled at Winston-Salem State University (March, 2011) and UNC Wilmington (June, 2011).

We have found the best success in encouraging teachers to attend the workshop is by working with the Directors of Math and Science Education at the schools involved.  Initially, we began this program by working through the various RESA Centers, but that did not develop into an effective way to attract teachers to our workshop.  Typically the Directors contact the teachers in their district and have them sign up for the workshop.  

Click here for an example of the flyer sent by the Director at Fayetteville State University to the teachers.

These workshops are designed to give the teachers a ‘hands-on’ approach to ‘Green & Microscale Chemistry’.  After attending the workshop, they should be able to incorporate one or more experiments into their current laboratory practice. Our recommendation is that they should replace several experiments each year with the green or microscale equivalent.  

In our Powerpoint presentation, Green Chemistry is introduced by discussing the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry.  We then expand on several of these principles by giving demonstrations of laboratory experiments.  The first demonstration is how Biodiesel is prepared by using vegetable oil, methanol and a catalyst (NaOH).  We also demonstrate the famous Clock Reaction by using safer chemicals and reacting hydrogen peroxide, vitamin C, tincture of iodine and starch.  

We discuss safe storage and removal of chemicals in or from chemical stockrooms by utilizing the concept of chemical compatibility.  Microscale Chemistry is introduced as a means of conducting safer chemical reactions with reduced costs.  The techniques of Microscale Chemistry are demonstrated by presenting several short videos by a recognized authority in the field.  The differences from the currently used Macroscale Chemistry are noted with opportunities to see the newer lab apparatus.  Finally, a demonstration is performed using a titration with microscale techniques to determine the concentration of acetic acid in vinegar.  

The workshop continues with a discussion of safety in the school chemical environment led by personnel from NCDENR.  They discuss the legal requirements for safety and show pictures of some of the ‘conditions that exist in the school chemical laboratories they have inspected.  In addition, they provide a CD with a variety of information related to safety.  Some of the documents included on the CD are:

•    Chemical Incompatibility Chart
•    Tenn. Inventory Sheet
•    Lab Safety Guide    
•    Safe Chemical Management in Schools
•    Tenn. Green Chem Teacher
•    Tenn. Green Chem Student
•    EPA Toolkit            

After attending this workshop, we believe the teachers should have a firm understanding of Green & Microscale Chemistry and how they can incorporate some of the experiments into their current curriculum.  They will also have the knowledge of where additional information is available.  In addition, they will have a better understanding of safety in their laboratories and how they can implement changes that may be necessary.

Click here for sample agenda.

Please contact Terry Albrecht, Director of Waste Reduction Partners, if you would like additional information. Contact information below.

Waste Reduction Partners
Land of Sky Regional Council
339 New Leicester Highway, Suite 140
Asheville, NC 28806
Phone: 828.251.6622
Fax: 828.251.6353
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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