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Author Topic: The Environment  (Read 621 times)
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weezo
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« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2007, 10:59:11 PM »

Not sure if this is the right place to put this, but I am working on a webpage for students of "chemistry" 5th grade, 8th grade and high school. I have made a chart of the elements, with some data on it, but now that I've compiled it, I'm not sure which level it would be useful at, or how to change the chart to be useful for a given level. The chart can be see at http://www.educationalsynthesis.org/mrsp/science/Chemistry/ElementChart.html

Anyone who is knowledgable of science education at any level, may be able to help me make this resource more useful. Perhaps I need to cut the chart into sections, add information for some levels, or whatever.

Any help is appreciated.
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barton
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« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2007, 11:08:44 AM »

The elements could be better displayed in the standard periodic table.  The reason this is useful for learning, is that elements with similar properties are then displayed in linear groups and the table can lead into concepts of basic chemistry and physics.  Look at a periodic table and you can see why, say, chlorine and fluorine would react similarly, or why neon and xenon are both inert gases.  Special series like the "rare earths" are also together, and you can see visually where unstable isotopes predominate when you get past lead, Pb.

A familiarity with the periodic table is probably one of the best foundations for a lot of basic scientific understanding.

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weezo
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« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2007, 04:24:40 PM »

Barton,

Thanks for the suggestion. I already have a link to an interactive Periodic chart, but all that is on the online charts are the atomic number and the symbol, which means the rest of the information must be looked up online. I have a good periodic table somewhere in a binder in my bookcase, but haven't put my hands on it yet. I haven't seen an online chart that has much information on the Periodic chart. I'm looking at one I printed out from Lenntech, and the only coloring code is for metals, inert gases, non-metals, and semiconductors, plus those elements at the bottom of the chart that are all artificially produced. I don't remember my periodic table having the electron configurations on it, and that would be important if students are going to make models of the atoms on paper.

In the meantime, I've started another chart for the little kids, which will have things like color, and temperatures for phase changes on it. I will probably drop the rare earth and artificially produced elements, since there would be just too many for elementary kids to handle. I did find an interesting site at UVA, Jefferson's Lab, which I'm using for the element information, and there are some neat things for the younger kids including an interactive "flash card" of the elements to learn the symbols and atomic numbers, as well as a coloring book about quarks.

At present, I'm not sure where quarks fit in an atom. Are they between/among the neutrons and protons in the nucleus, or do they spin around in the spaces between the electrons.
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barton
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« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2007, 11:31:44 AM »

Quarks (and accompanying gluons) are the building blocks OF protons and neutrons.  Each consists of three quarks, in a particular combination of "up" and "down" quarks, and then the gluons carry the strong binding force.   The body of scientific theory that deals with this is called QCD, or quantum chromodynamics.

I agree that elementary age don't need to get into the details of the transuranic or lanthanide elements.  Strong color coding for all the valences is quite useful.  A child can figure out that, say, carbon and silicon, both having a valence of 4, would have some similarities in their chemical properties.

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weezo
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« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2007, 02:40:00 PM »

Barton,

Thanks for the explanation on quarks! That indeed does belong in the elementary curriculum even tho the Virginia Standards do not specifically mention quarks on its current edition. I am planning to write some simple lessons for the particles of atoms, in addition to the stuff on Chem 4 Kids, and will ask your opinion of it's factualness when it's ready to go, if you don't mind.
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barton
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« Reply #20 on: October 17, 2007, 02:08:00 PM »

I hope it's clear that I don't mind.  Didn't mean to neglect this thread.

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desdemona222b
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« Reply #21 on: November 05, 2007, 10:47:31 AM »

Hi, everyone.  I haven't participated in this thread before now, but I thought it was interesting to hear last week that Newt Gingrich has written a book that represents the Republican idea of how to solve environmental issues.  He was on Sean Hannity's radio show talking about how "big government" can't solve anything and how we should come up with "creative ways" to solve environmental issues on a voluntary basis.

Having said that, check this out.  It's absolutely staggering.  Just goes to show how responsible corporations are for environmental concerns even when there are stringent laws and requirements on the books:

http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/bd4379a92ceceeac8525735900400c27/1af659cf4ce8a7b88525737f005979be!OpenDocument
« Last Edit: November 05, 2007, 07:01:17 PM by desdemona222b » Logged
Donotremove
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« Reply #22 on: November 05, 2007, 04:30:19 PM »

Des, thanks for the link.  Sadder still is the sure knowledge that BP (British Petroleum) has a slush fund for fines like that, trivial to them.  It's the getting caught part that they hate.  Bad Publicity, especially right now when they are trying to portray themselves as "deep green"   Smiley

Corporations will NEVER do the right thing if it disrupts the bottom line.  Watchdog groups have to stay alert 24/7.
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desdemona222b
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« Reply #23 on: November 05, 2007, 07:02:48 PM »

What kills me is the fact that they didn't even maintain the pumps according to law - surely that would have been cheaper than paying the fines.

I thought it was ironic that BP has commercials portraying themselves as environmentally responsible as well.
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notrab
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« Reply #24 on: November 06, 2007, 11:31:43 AM »

Glad to see this thread spring to life again.  There seems no end to the perfidy of Big Oil (and what other size Oil is there?).  The only positive thing I can say about the situation is that at least with oil, the supply is going to run out and sooner than many people realize.  What I don't get is why corporations like Exxon and BP aren't investing more in growable, and therefore renewable, fuels like switchgrass and other cellulosic ethanol plants (cane in the tropics, e.g.), and also in solar hydrogen cracking.  I fear that they are going to focus more on mining oil shales and such, which is the dirtiest and most destructive way to get oil after the pumps run dry.

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weezo
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« Reply #25 on: November 06, 2007, 12:57:46 PM »

Saw an intereting piece on tv last night about the use of windpower to generate electricity in Denmark. The country, overall, gets about 20% of it's power from air. One island off the coast generates all of its electricity by air power, and the consumers invested in the equipment and own the power generators. Then, they went to Texas, where some entrepreneur is claiming he "sells the wind", in his ranch-sized collection of windmills.

Bio-fuels are a nice solution, but getting a supply of enough greenery to provide for the needs of American cars would be a problem.
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Dzimas
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« Reply #26 on: November 06, 2007, 01:06:59 PM »

Interesting that talk is once again swirling around about liquified coal and nuclear power as "environmental" alternatives to oil.  Of course, the US relies heavily on coal to generate electricity, but liquifying coal is a terribly energy-intensive process and will only add more CO2 emmisions into the atmosphere.  But, I guess it is better than drilling into the Arctic  Sea for oil, which seems to have captured everyone's imagination at the moment.

Bio-fuels are not as nice as you think, weezo, as more and more corn gets earmarked for bio-fuels, meaning less corn for food, as farmers can get more selling their corn to bio-fuel plants.

Solar, wind and water remain the best and most viable solutions to meeting our energy needs, especially with the amazing advances in these technologies.
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« Reply #27 on: November 06, 2007, 01:29:09 PM »

Dzimas, we don't need to eat more corn or have corn products in processed foods (rise in obesity, diabetes,) except fresh corn in season.  The cost (energy) of conversion of corn into fuel is too great to be an alternative.  Corn should not be fed to cows, either.  They can't digest it.  Actually, it is cruel to feed cows corn.

Cross corn completely off the list, IMO.
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Dzimas
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« Reply #28 on: November 06, 2007, 01:32:49 PM »

For some people, DNR, corn flour is the only alternative they have, so I wouldn't write off corn completely.

Peat is another alternative, although it is not really renewable.  Here is a short piece on the pros and cons (mostly cons) of biofuels:

http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=8736
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Dzimas
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« Reply #29 on: November 06, 2007, 01:40:58 PM »

Quote
Corn should not be fed to cows, either.  They can't digest it.


I finally got a chance to see Flock of Dodos,

http://www.flockofdodos.com/

in which Randy Olson has great fun with "intelligent design," noting how the digestive systems of cows and rabbits are not very well designed at all, especially rabbits,

The digestive system of the rabbit is evolved to eat large amounts of grass with a high fibre content. Fibre is fermented by bacteria in the large bowel to produce caecotrophs which are expelled and then eaten to provide vitamins and other essential nutrients.
http://www.rabbit-food.co.uk/rabbit_digestive.htm

Caecotrophs is a nice way of saying excrement.  Probably more information than you wanted to know.  Anyway, great movie!
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