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Important Household Compounds

Found in: science; student-directed learning or learner-centered activities

When I teach compounds in chemistry, I make stations in my lab where students work with different household products. They make a list of all the compounds in common products such as toothpaste, soap, ketchup, mayonnaise, soup, spaghetti and aspirin. Then, they make a presentation on the compounds they know and the elements they can identify. Most students are surprised when they find out that sulfur soap exists, toothpaste has sodium hydroxide and the compound in vanilla gives it its characteristic odor. The students learn to appreciate the role and importance that chemistry plays in every day life.


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