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The International Year of Chemistry: The Global Water Experiment

By Bruce Wilson
Chemistry Product Manager

The Global Water Experiment

The International Year of Chemistry (IYC) was a global celebration of the study of chemistry, its achievements, and its critical role in meeting the challenges of modern times. Proposed by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and approved by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), IYC 2011 offers the opportunity to share the love and fun of chemistry with the global community. “Chemistry—our life, our future” was the theme for the year.

To promote chemistry awareness around the world, IYC 2011 developed The Global Water Experiment. This experiment gave students a chance to study the planet’s most precious natural resource, water. On the IYC’s Web site, students were able to share their data with classes worldwide and see the compiled data displayed on world maps.

The registration was free and allowed you to share your class data and post comments and questions on the blog page. You were also able find questions and answers posted by other teachers about each part of the experiment. Even if you chose not to register, you were still able have access to the experiments and to the posts submitted by other teachers.

From “The Global Water Experiment” page, click on “The Experiments” tab. On the new Web page you were able to find descriptions for each part of the 4-part experiment. Each part was simple to perform andrequired materials that you already had or were able to purchase locally, and used nonhazardous chemicals. Teachers field-tested the procedures to ensure that you had a smooth experience.

Each part of the experiment deals with a different chemistry topic. See the list below.

  • Experiment 1: Acidity. Students measured the pH of local water using acid-base indicator solutions.
  • Experiment 2: Salinity. Students measured the conductivity of water and correlate their results to the salinity of the water.
  • Experiment 3: Filtration. Students constructed a sample water filtration apparatus, treated water chemically, and researched the water treatment methods used by their local wastewater treatment facility.
  • Experiment 4: Solar Still Challenge. Students built a solar still and used it to purify water.

Under each part’s description was a link, “Read more,” which takes you to the main page for that part. At the bottom of that Web page was the option “Download the Activity.” You were able to download the activity as a PDF or Word document. It was available in 10 languages. The file included instructions for submitting your class’s data, teacher instructions for the activity, procedure, safety precautions, materials list, student learning outcomes, extensions, and background information. Carolina offered materials to support The Global Water Experiment.

Experiment Number Experiment Name Item Carolina Item Description Carolina Item Number Price
1 pH of the Planet Sample Container Specimen Cup and Cap, Pack of 25 199248 $6.10
1 pH of the Planet Dropper Graduated, Small Pipet, Pack of 100 736982 $5.10
1 pH of the Planet Bromothymol Blue Indicator Bromthymol Blue Solution, 0.04 %, 500 mL 849150 $5.95
2 Salty Waters Shallow Dish (100 mL capacity) Carolina™ Culture Dish, 3.5" Diam 7410996 $7.50
2 Salty Waters Balance with 0.1 g Sensitivity Carolina™ Electronic Balance, 0.1 g Sensitivity 703010 $141.00
2 Salty Waters Graduated Cylinder, 100 mL Durable Plastic Graduated Cylinder, 100 mL 721610 $1.80
3 Water: No Dirt, No Germs Beaker, 500 mL Polypropylene Beaker with Handle, 500 mL 721443 $6.65
3 Water: No Dirt, No Germs Alum Aluminum Potassium Sulfate, Dodecahydrate 843360 $8.75
3 Water: No Dirt, No Germs Fine Sand, Coarse Sand, Pebbles White Sand and Gravel Set, 10 lb Each 163000 $17.95
3 Water: No Dirt, No Germs Coffee Filter Cheesecloth, 5 sq yd 712690 $5.65
3 Water: No Dirt, No Germs Stopwatch Stopwatch 962106 $9.95
4 Solar Still Challenge Large Bowl, Metal or Plastic Plastic Aquarium, 1-gal Tank 670390 $7.50
4 Solar Still Challenge Small Cup Specimen Cup and Cap, Pack of 25 199248 $6.10
4 Solar Still Challenge Measuring Jug or Cylinder Durable Plastic Graduated Cylinder, 100 mL 721610 $1.80
4 Solar Still Challenge Food Dye Food Coloring, 4 Colors 898030 $5.25
4 Solar Still Challenge Salt Sodium Chloride, 500 g 888880 $6.50

The International Year of Chemistry and The Global Water Experiment ended December 31, 2011.

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