Green & Sustainable Chemistry Workshop for High School Teachers

Professor Jane Wissinger along with high school teachers, Cassie Knutson and Cassie Javner hosted a workshop for chemistry high school teachers with the goal of training high school chemistry teachers to bring Green & Sustainable Chemistry into their classrooms. Twenty teachers from across the state of Minnesota participated in the workshop June 20-22, 2017 in the Department of Chemistry.

Participants received instruction on the principles of green chemistry, industrial applications, and potential impacts to human health and the environment. Shared lesson plans illustrated how green and sustainable practices apply to secondary chemistry classrooms with education standards in mind. A wealth of resources were provided to aid the teachers in their implementation plans.

The teachers gained hands-on experience with ten different high school friendly experiments.  These experiments modeled safer, cost-effective labs that minimized waste and are readt drop-in replacements for traditional more hazardous secondary chemistry labs that have been performed for decades. Topics such as bioplastics, polymeric medical sutures, and use of biomimicry were explored, demonstrating relevance to societal needs. 

Professor Marc Hillmyer gave a key note address entititled: "Plants to Polymers: Why not?" as an introduction to CSP experiments performed.  Also, a panel discussion was held with guests Emma Corcoran (White Bear Lake High School student and future U of MN student),  Al Innes (MPCA), Pat Riley (Northfield High School teacher) and Tim Kapsner (Aveda) to allow dialog of "what impact teaching green chemistry" can have in the classroom.

This free workshop was funded by the Center for Sustainable Polymers (CSP), the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, and University’s Materials Research Science & Engineering Center (MRSEC) Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program. Wissinger is a CSP investigator and is a leading expert in green chemistry. Her co-instructors were Cassandra Knutson from White Bear Lake High School, and Cassidy Javner from Shakopee High School.  CSP summer undergraduate researcher, Abby Hilker, also helped with preparations and activities during the workshop

Workshop leaders and participants
Green & Sustainable Chemistry High School Teachers and Workshop Leaders