To affirm the definition drafted by students, present a dictionary definition of chemical engineering, such as:. Chemical engineering deals with the design, construction, and operation of plants and machinery for making such products as acids, dyes, drugs, plastics, and synthetic rubber by adapting the chemical reactions discovered by the laboratory chemist to large-scale production. The chemical engineer must be familiar with both chemistry and mechanical engineering. From Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Next, divide students into groups. Assign each group an industry and have them think about challenges in that industry that might be addressed by the chemical engineer.
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Ask each group to present its ideas to the class. To help students focus on the question, remind them that chemical engineers make use of their chemistry knowledge and other scientific knowledge to create processes, machines, systems, structures, and products. Examples of industries and possible chemical engineering tasks are provided on the Chemical Engineers and the Things They Do teacher sheet. The first activity for students is to learn how chemical engineering fits in context with other engineering professions.
Students may work with partners to discuss the questions below. Or the questions can be discussed as a class. As a second activity, direct students to use their student esheet to go to and read three articles about great feats of chemical engineering from the Inventor Archive :.
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Students should use the Chemical Engineers and the Things They Do student sheet to answer questions about their articles. See the teacher sheet for sample answers.
When students have finished, conduct a class discussion about the scientists, what they accomplished, the challenges they faced, and why their product has been valuable. Students should prepare a poster of one significant invention that involved chemical engineering.
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They may select an invention that is featured at the Inventor of the Week site, or that they find from some other source—so long as it pertains to chemical engineering. Have students obtain approval from you on their topic and sources before proceeding. Students should use the Poster Assignment and Rubric student sheet to guide them in developing their poster.
Use the same sheet to help with assessment and evaluation. Two other Science NetLinks lessons focus on how individuals work to apply scientific knowledge in solving real-world problems. They are What Do Scientists Do? The website, Greatest Engineering Achievements of the Twentieth Century , provides timelines that students may want to explore.
The timelines of four topics specifically involve feats of chemical engineering:. The Engineer Your Path section of the Engineering K12 Center lets students explore the different engineering fields, learn how to get and pay for an engineering education, and try out some interactive engineering games and resources.
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