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Pure Appl. Chem. Vol.
73, No. 7, pp. 1209-1214 (2001)
Pure and Applied
Vol. 73, Issue
Teaching chemistry from a societal perspective*
Sylvia A. Ware
Director, Education and International Activities Division,
American Chemical Society, 1155 Sixteenth Street, NW, Washington, DC
Abstract: Chemistry and chemical technology contribute to the
quality of life on this planet in many areas: health, nutrition, agriculture,
transportation, materials and energy production, and industrial development.
Chemistry is at its most useful to society when chemists and non-chemists
with decision-making responsibilities work with mutual understanding
to address the chemistry-related issues facing their communities. Thus,
it would seem obvious that all who study chemistry should learn about
the interactions of chemistry and society as an integral part of their
classroom instruction. However, historically, the tendency worldwide
has been to include societal content in chemistry courses only at the
lower secondary level. This is changing. This paper explores instructional
materials developed by the American Chemical Society that place chemistry
in its societal context for high school and college students. This includes
a discussion of green chemistry materials that introduce students to
the concepts associated with developing environmentally benign processes
*Lecture presented at the 8th International
Chemistry Conference in Africa (8th ICCA), 30 July-4 August 2001, Dakar,
Sénégal. Other presentations are published
in this issue, pp. 1147-1223.
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