Within The International Year of Chemistry ( (IYC 2011) an initiative of IUPAC, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, and of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, school students around the world will be invited to explore one of Earth's most critical resources, water. The results of ther investigations will contribute to a Global Experiment, which will possibly become the biggest chemistry experiment ever.
The global experiment is an initiative of the IUPAC Committee on Chemistry Education- has been developed to appeal to students from primary school to senior high school. The activities that make up the experiment will help students appreciate the role of chemistry in issues of water quality and purification. At the same time, students will contribute to an online global map, reporting on their investigations of water quality and water treatment.
The Global Experiment directly addresses the IYC goal of "Increasing the public appreciation and understanding of chemistry in meeting world needs and encouraging interest in chemistry among young people." The central theme of the experiment will be Water: A Chemical Solution. will provide an outstanding educational opportunity to learn about water and the challenge of meeting the Millenium Development Goal of greatly improving access to safe drinking water before 2015. This activity will be used to emphasize the close relationship between water and climate change, human health, and energy security.
The theme for the global experiment project— “Water: A Chemical Solution”—implies the dual meaning of “solution.” First, solutions are the answers that chemistry can provide to questions about delivering safe water to people all over the world. Second, in the chemical sense, the term is helpful for introducing important chemical principles such as pH, salinity, and solubility. In the global experiment, teachers will involve classes of students in the investigation. Consider for a moment how many students might participate—100 countries, 1 000 schools per country, 10 classes per school, and 10 students per class would lead to millions of participants and a giant experiment! With such an extensive reach comes a responsibility to achieve valuable educational goals. The context of water provides relevance and the experiment will give students learning experiences that are engaging and edifying so that they learn valuable practical skills and useful chemistry. At the same time, students will discover the power of chemistry to provide reliable information and data within our society.
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