Household Chemicals: Better by Design

Household Chemicals: Better by Design
Household Chemicals: Better by Design is a SEPUP module designed for use in grades 6–12. The module contains a series of 11 activities that provide approximately 4–5 weeks of instruction.

This module focuses on reactants, products, and indicators of chemical reactions. Chemicals are used by industries to make products. These products are advertised using strategies designed to create consumer demand. Can we believe the claims of the manufacturer? How should the product be used safely? Students explore their knowledge of, and attitudes toward, chemicals and chemical use. They use chemicals to produce a common household product (i.e. cleaners, food products, and toys). They test their product in various ways, and come “full circle” by creating ads for their products, which are examined for accuracy and appropriateness. Students are assessed on their ability to design and conduct investigations.

Each module includes a Teacher’s Guide containing reproducible student pages and a kit containing the equipment required to conduct the activities with five classes of 32 students. The Teacher’s Guide provides specific strategies to facilitate and assess student learning.


Shown below is the table of contents for the teacher’s guide, which contains reproducible student pages.


Module at a Glance

Guide to the Module

Activity 1: Evaluating Advertisements
Student Investigation: Analyzing Ads

Activity 2: Exploring Chemical Interactions Between Solids and Liquids
Student Investigation: Household Chemical Interactions

Activity 3: Exploring Chemical Interactions Among Liquids
Student Investigation: More Household Chemical Interactions

Activity 4: Surveying Students’ Perceptions of Chemicals
Student Investigation: Chemical Survey

Activity 5: Investigating the Effects of Bleach
Student Investigation: Fading Fast

Activity 6: Determining the Optimum Use of Bleach
Student Investigation: How Should I Bleach My Jeans?

Activity 7: Chemical Safety in the Home
Student Investigation: How Do You Use Chemicals?

Activity 8: Product Testing: A Case Study
Student Investigation: When the Rubber Hits the Road

Activity 9: Designing a Household Chemical
Student Investigation: In Pursuit of the Perfect Product

Activity 10: Student-Designed Testing of Student-Designed Products
Student Investigation: Does Your Product Pass the Test?

Activity 11: Making Evidence-Based Qualitative and Quantitative Claims
Student Investigation: Truth in Advertising

Appendix A: Materials
Appendix B: Background
Appendix C: Assessment
Appendix D: Glossary