Teacher's Guide

"Better Living Through Chemistry"


"Better living through chemistry" is a variant of the DuPont advertising slogan from roughly the 1930s to the 1980s. BASF used "We don't make the things you love, we make the things you love better". Why should anyone care about chemistry? For some the word conjures visions of Dr. Frankenstein. Chemistry is in our lives from the time we roll out of bed in the morning to take that shower, until we turn out the light and go to sleep at night. It touches us in many ways we don't even realize. Check out this interesting information about how a favorite candy uses chemistry. But is there good chemistry and bad chemistry? How do we know what makes our lives better, and what might cause harm?

Why is it important to study the science of chemistry?

Task and Product


You have been asked by the Chemistry teacher to help recruit students for next year's course. Working in pairs or small groups of 2-4 students, you will gain a general understanding of the science of chemistry and explore how chemistry impacts your everyday life. Each group will be assigned one topic and prepare a visual display depicting how chemistry affects different aspects of our lives. Groups will give a short presentation explaining their display. Your teacher may also ask you to prepare a physical demonstration or easy experiment which displays the chemistry of your topic. Visual display options: poster, Wiki webpage, VoiceThread, or vodcast.

The Chemistry of Everday Life Topics
The Chemistry of .....
Keeping Clean
Fireworks and Holidays
Food and Cooking
the Garden, Weather, and the Outdoors
Jewelry, Makeup, and Cosmetics

Teacher note: To facilitate the collaborative nature of this project, consider creating a project-based wiki or using another collaborative Web 2.0 tool (VoiceThread, MindMeister, Groupsite.com, etc.) to use as a workspace. For further help/suggestions, see your Library Media Specialist or visit http://bcpslibraryinformationservices.pbworks.com/.


You will be assessed on your work with the group, the final group project and the experiment or demonstration if assigned by your teacher. Use the assessment tools to plan and implement your product.

Web 2.0 rubric




Essential Question

Why is it important to study the science of chemistry?

Visit the sites listed below to gain a basic understanding of the science of chemistry. Use the information on these sites to develop questions you will need to answer in order to complete your display. The first couple have been provided to help jump-start your thinking.

What Is Chemistry All About?

Subsidiary questions Below are some questions to get you started. Before you begin your research, take a few moments and construct some questions of your own based on the background informaiton you have read.

  • How does combining different compounds and elements create new products for daily living?
  • How does the addition of heat or cold affect some common items?
  • ?
  • ?

Gather, Sort and Cite
test tubes

Gather information from a variety of sources.

Sort your findings using a graphic organizer, note cards, outline, word document, or other form for recording your research.

Cite your sources to avoid plagiarism.




Analyze your notes. Do you have enough information to answer the questions you posed and complete your display? Are there things you no longer need? Are there aspects of your topic which need further research? Helpful hints here.

Synthesize your findings by

  • What new insights have you gained about the role of chemistry in your life?
  • Which facts and discoveries do you think your classmates would find the most intriguiging and might inspire them to take a chemistry class?
  • Plan and create your display and/or experiment which demonstrates the knowledge you have gained and shares those insights with others.

Helpful hints here.

Evaluate the effectiveness of your research for the task and apply your new knowledge..

  • Have you gathered sufficient details to depict the importance of chemistry in our everday lives?
  • Does your display and/or experiment adequately demonstrate the results of your research?

Helpful hints here.



Reflection and/or Extension Activities:

After each group has an opportunity to show their displays and/or experiments, each student will write a persuasive letter to encourage other students to register for the chemistry class. Use examples from the demonstrations to justify your stand.

Before you begin writing, be sure to check the assessment tool for your letter.