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Chemistry tests for clean water Print E-mail
03 May 2011

Learners can take part in the biggest chemistry experiment ever undertaken, Water – A Chemical Solution, through the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre.

THE Sci-Bono Discovery Centre has teamed up with local primary and high school learners to participate in the global chemistry experiment, Water – A Chemical Solution, expected to be the largest such experiment ever undertaken.

Chemistry
Students will learn how to use chemistry to provide safe drinking water
The experiment consists of a set of four activities:
  • pH of the Planet, in which students collect data measuring the pH of water;
  • Salty Waters, in which students explore the salinity of local water;
  • Solar Still Challenge, in which students construct a solar still from household materials and use it to purify water; and
  • Water: No Dirt, No Germs, in which students learn how chemistry is used to help provide safe drinking water.

Information for each activity can be downloaded from the website, and includes a teacher’s guide, a list of material for carrying out activities and instructions on how to carry out the activities in class. Through the experiment, students will explore the chemistry of water and its role in society and ecosystems. Results of the experiment will be captured electronically and pegged on an interactive global data map at the end of the year.

The experiment will not only test water pH and salinity, but will also demonstrate low-tech water purifying techniques using sand, chemicals and the sun’s energy. The main focus is on the technological solutions chemistry makes available in supplying clean drinking water.

Learners
Primary and high school learners will participate in the experiment
It is an initiative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) for 2011, the International Year of Chemistry (IYC). During the year, the art and science of chemistry will be celebrated, along with its contribution to knowledge, environmental protection and economic development. The IYC slogan is “Chemistry – our life, our future”.

“The intention for the year is to showcase chemistry as a creative science with a critical role to play in solving our most critical global challenges – health, food, energy and water,” said Ian Bratt, the chairperson of the Royal Society of Chemistry, who added that people needed to learn more about and embrace chemistry.

Sci-Bono’s programme for the year aims to increase public appreciation of chemistry, encourage interest from young people in pursuing careers in the, provide opportunities for learners to engage in hands-on chemistry experiments, and generate enthusiasm for the creative future of the sector.

“The IYC theme, ‘Chemistry—our life, our future’, aims to bring chemistry alive by relating that everything in the living and technological world is made of chemical elements and compounds and is controlled by chemical reactions,” said Thandi O’Hagan, the senior public relations and marketing manager at Sci-Bono.

For more information, telephone the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre on 011 639 8400.

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