Students Study the Chemistry Behind a Tainted City

Melanie Yau knows that connecting lessons with significant world issues can only enhance a learning experience.  Yau is a chemistry teacher at King College Prep High School in South Chicago.  She has been working very closely with her department team to create more of these “real-world” learning experiences for their chemistry students.  Following a recent study on ions, Yau thought she could easily connect the learned material to the Flint Water Crisis. Through this connection, her students were able to apply their new knowledge and further their study…which sparked more questions and discoveries along the way!  Yau used a “close read” strategy to further inform her students on specific focus topics in relation to the Flint Water Crisis.

Yau shares, “The use of the close read is to have students engage with text, by having them progress through a series of questions beginning with basic recall questions and concluding with applying what they have learned.  I use close reads in my class to help develop critical thinking skills.”

The connection was certainly made.  Her students shared that some of their families and friends currently live in Flint.  They began to question the condition and age of the buildings they live in and much more. These chemists soon began to realize that lead poisoning could possibly happen in Chicago as well. Yikes! Following the lessons, students were encouraged to share their new knowledge with their families  and discuss preventative measures.

Below is an overall summary of her ImagineIT project.

This was a particularly good assignment, in my opinion, because it is helping our students develop as educated, concerned citizens in their community. –Melanie Yau