Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Chemistry of Materials Project - Biochemistry

Here is the latest version of the Chemistry of Materials Project, with emphasis on biological chemistry. Also, the following link provides a list of some helpful web sites for information about the project's topics. I also am providing the link to the previous Chemistry of Materials project description.
Chemistry of Materials – Coordinated Science II –Project

Assignment and Objective: Understanding atomic and molecular structure expands our knowledge of the nature of the material world and advances the technological sophistication of society. Each student will learn about the history and chemical make-up of a commonly used material, and present that information to the class. Students will also be responsible for learning about the topics that are presented by others.  A very helpful website, titled What's That Stuff,? for this project can be found here:

Each student will be assigned a topic by lot (random drawing from a container). Each student in the class will have a different topic to research, which will be one of the following topics:

∙ Henna ∙ Chili peppers ∙ Chewing Gum ∙ Insect Repellent
∙ Honey ∙ Food Coloring ∙ Food Preservatives ∙ Self Tanners
∙ Citronella Oil ∙ Kava ∙ Artificial Sweeteners · Pectin
∙ Catnip ∙ Kitty Litter ∙ JELL-O® · Chitin
∙ Sunscreens ∙ Licorice · Tattoo Ink · Cholesterol
∙ Marshmallows · Sports Drinks · Margarine
∙ Ice Cream · Leather · MSG Flavor Enhancer
∙ Fluoride ∙ Aspirin ∙ Chocolate
∙ Hair Coloring ∙ Cheese Whiz ∙ Agar
∙ Lipstick · Amber · Cinnamon

This is an independent, at-home research project.

Each individual student will present their research information to the class by presenting an 11” by 17” Shutter Fold (foldable) display of their work, which is constructed according to the attached directions and as demonstrated by the teacher. Pictures of sample displays are on this web site:
The display is to include the following:
­­­­­­ 1. a history of the use and/or invention of the material.
2. diagrams/drawings of the chemical structures, or chemical formula of all the ingredients that make up the
3. the health hazards and health benefits of the material.
4. a biography of the inventors of the material, or a description of a company that manufactures the
5. a copy of a patent from or where the name of the material, or the important chemical ingredient in
the material has been put in as a search term.
6. a completed information sheet about the patent.
7. pictures of the material, or actual samples of the material.
8. The student’s research information should include a bibliography (MLA format), with a minimum of two
references. This is a formal presentation. The writing and project should reflect a student’s best effort.

During the presentations, the audience will take notes about each of the materials.
Everyone will be responsible for knowing the important facts about each material and will graded on their proper
participation as an audience.

The finished project is due on Tuesday, December 15, 2009. The Middletown Cavalier Chemical Science
Meeting will commence on December 15 and run through December 16 to allow for all students to have
an opportunity to present and gather the important information about each topic. Late projects will not
be accepted. Students must be prepared to present on December 15. Projects are a product grade for the
marking period and this project will be evaluated as follows:
∙ Visual Aid/Foldable presentation 20 points
∙ Important information included 18 points
∙ Well organized 06 points
∙ Pictures of Material & Chemical Structure 06 points
∙ Copy of Patent with Completed Information Sheet 20 points
∙ Bibliography – must have two sources 12 points
∙ Audience Notes 18 points

You can access the grading rubrics that I created at these links:
Making a Foldable Display - Chemistry of Materials Project
Oral Presentation Rubric: Chemistry of Materials Project Oral Presentation

Here is a previous list of topics that I used, when the curriculum had more emphasis on chemistry:
∙ Henna ∙ Chili peppers ∙ Chewing Gum

∙ Honey ∙ Polyurethane foam ∙ Food Coloring ∙ Food Preservatives
∙ Citronella Oil ∙ Kava ∙ Artificial Sweeteners ∙ MSG Flavor Enhancer ∙ Licorice
∙ Melamine Dishes ∙ Catnip ∙ Kitty Litter ∙ JELL-O® ∙ Insect Repellent
∙ Crayons ∙ Golf Balls ∙ Sticky Notes ∙ Super Glue ∙ Sunscreens
∙ Marshmallows ∙ Gasoline ∙ Teflon ∙ Teeth Whiteners ∙ Motor Oil
∙ Ice Cream ∙ Glass ∙ Duct Tape ∙ Shower Cleaners ∙ Fireworks
∙ Fluoride ∙ Aspirin ∙ Chocolate ∙ Silly Putty ∙ Self Tanners
∙ Hair Coloring ∙ Cheese Whiz ∙ Asphalt ∙ Baseballs ∙ Mylar
∙ Lipstick ∙ Light (glow) sticks ∙ Cement ∙ Tyvek ∙ Kevlar

Here is an example of an assessment that was used with the project:

What am I? Coordinated Science II – TEST – Chemistry of Materials

Date __________________Period ________________Name ______________________________

Directions: Match the descriptions in column A (page 1) with the letter(s) of each material listed in column B (page 2), and write the letters on the blank space next to each number in column A. For a perfect score, correctly match 15. If more than 15 materials are identified correctly, 0.5 points will be awarded for each correct match that exceeds the perfect score of 15 matches.


01. ____ I am polymer that comes from tree sap.
02. ____ We are saccharine, aspartame, and sucralose.
03. ____ I am in a class of chemicals called terpenes. I
come from the leaves of a plant and am an
insect repellent.
04. ____ I am a long, long, long molecule of
polyunsaturated fat.
05. ____ I am nepetalactone and can be extracted from a
mint family plant.
06. ____ I am a essential oil that comes of the bark of an
evergreen tree. There are 3 n’s in my name. I
am used in flavoring and perfume.
07. ____ I am a long molecular chain of galacturonic
acid. I am the “jel” in jelly.
08. ____ I am added to drinking water to protect teeth.
09. ____ I am pigment, wax, and oil.
10. ____ I am one of the most complex chemical
mixtures that people dare to eat, and I have
11. ____ I am a drink made from plant roots.
12. ____ I am used in desserts, marshmallows, and
candy. I do not have the amino acid tryptophan.
13. ____ We bond to your skin. We are
14. ____ I am acetylsalicylic acid.
15. ____ I am monosodium glutamate.
16. ____ We contain the protein collagen, a sugar, and
17. ____ I am the result of a reaction between hydrogen
peroxide, ammonia, and p phenylenediamine.
18. ____ We absorb uva and uvb radiation with an
aromatic chemical.
19. ____ I am glycyrrhizic acid and taste very sweet.
20. ____ 7 of us are certified by the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) as dyes.
21. ____ I have a protein called casein that is treated
with an enzyme to produce curd.
22. ____ We contain a capsaicin, which causes a burning
sensation in contact with mucus membranes.
Capsaicin resulted from natural selection in
response to herbivores.
23. ____ I am a special kind of clay called sodium
Bentonite, or Fuller’s earth.
24. ____ We contain N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET).
25. ____ I am dye from the leaves of Lawsonia inermis.
26. ____ I am fructose and taste very sweet.
27. ____ I am a source of Calcium and Lactose.
28. ____ I form the tough exoskeleton of an insect, and I
am made of repeating molecules of
N-acetylglucosamine, which is a
29. ____ Human steroids and Vitamin D are made from
me. I am made in the liver.
30. ____ We are very stable and long lasting. Different
colors are made from magnetite, carbon, iron
oxides, monoazo pigments, and copper.
31. ____ I am made from collagen that has been treated
with tannin from bark.
32. ____ I am a fossil of tree resins (terpenes).
33. ____ We are a flavored solution of sugar, salt, and
sodium citrate.
34. ____ One of our chemicals kills microorganisms and
has the molecular structure: NaCl
35. ____ I am a polymer of galactose that is obtained
from seaweed. Microorganisms grow on me.
I am also used to thicken jelly and ice

A. Hair Coloring
B. Sports Drinks
C. Marshmallows
D. Henna
E. Self-Tanning Products
F. Catnip
G. Leather
H. Lipstick
I. Food Preservatives
J. Citronella Oil
K. Cheese Whiz
L. Artificial Sweeteners
M. Margarine
N. Agar
O. Cinnamon
P. Pectin
Q. Chitin
R. Cholesterol
S. Ice Cream
T. Tattoo Inks
U. Amber
V. Sunscreens
W. Jell-O
X. Chocolate Candy
Y. Licorice
Z. Honey
AA. Aspirin
BB. Chili Peppers
CC. Chewing Gum
DD. Kitty Litter
EE. Kava
FF. Insect Repellent
GG. Fluoride
HH. Food Coloring
II. MSG Flavor Enhancer

Looking for topics that could be used with a similar project on inventions?  Visit this web site:
Here is an interesting book:
Here is a very helpful website with interesting visual presentations about the chemistry of everyday materials:

If you find links on my blog that do not work, please let me know by submitting a comment.  I would like to keep my blog up-to-date, correct and relevant.