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A Template for Sustainability Education in Chemistry

Hilborne, Victoria; Neugarten, Martha; Sella, Andrea; (2022) A Template for Sustainability Education in Chemistry. Presented at: Horizons in STEM Higher Education Conference 2022, London, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

Solving sustainability as described by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, is an important focus of chemistry research. Sustainability education must encompass the complexity and interdisciplinary nature of sustainability problem solving and its impact. Tools of systems thinking, network science, and graph theory are ideal for developing sustainability education exercises and delivering transformative learning, which in turn is essential for advising policy and law makers. [1] A template for sustainability education in chemistry that readily fits into any part of the core chemistry curricula and wider STEM subjects, makes it easy for educators to include sustainability in their courses. In new STEM degree courses, the meaning of sustainability should be covered before the core subject material. [2] Education activities should therefore start by addressing students understanding of sustainability. Current practice in sustainability education and surveys of student, researcher and academic staff understanding of sustainability guide activity development. In groups, students iteratively create concept and system maps alongside discussions led by both the students and educators. Templates of network models and graphics, then show students how to effectively focus problem definitions and form simpler paths through complex information. The models and graphics with summary descriptions directly link specific core chemistry principles to sustainability problem solving. They can be applied at any level of an undergraduate and post graduate degree programme. The sustainability education in chemistry template is presented through examples of (i) first year undergraduate physical chemistry of gas diffusion and (ii) third year undergraduate interdisciplinary chemistry of carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS). Samples of undergraduate, postgraduate, researcher and academic staff review the activities, providing early feedback on how these might enable future generations to play a crucial role in transforming sustainable use of resources. [1] Flynn, A.B., Orgill M. K., Ho F.M., York S., Matlin S.A., Constable D.J.C and Mahaffy P.G. 2019, Future Directions for Systems thinking, J.Chem. Ed., 96, 3000 – 3005. [2] Zuin V.G., Eilks I., Elschami Myriam and Kummerer, 2021, Education in green chemistry and in sustainable chemistry: perspectives toward sustainability, Green Chemistry, 23, 1594.

Type: Conference item (Presentation)
Title: A Template for Sustainability Education in Chemistry
Event: Horizons in STEM Higher Education Conference 2022
Location: London, UK
Dates: 29 - 30 June 2022
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://ukstemconference.com/2022-conference-progr...
Language: English
Keywords: sustainability, education template, STEM, Chemistry
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Chemistry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10158229
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