The POWER Unit

We are pleased to share our new meta-unit, developed by Chicago Public Schools System teachers and UIC researchers and graduate students.

This meta-unit is designed to help students learn and apply disciplinary core ideas from chemistry with special attention to issues of social justice through scientific responsibility. The goal of these lessons is for students to create and sustain a learning community in their classroom that will address essential questions surrounding energy production and consumption related to chemistry concepts. In creating this learning community, challenging and sensitive topics may be brought up in the course of conversation. It is vital that the teacher and students establish norms for having productive discussions before starting the lessons.

The critical end goal of the unit is for students to apply what they have learned over the course of a yearlong project to engage in group discussions and debates empowering the classroom community to make informed decisions about energy choices for their community. The POWER (Problematizing Our Worldview of Energy Resources) journal should be used during every lesson to gather and organize key information. The meta-unit incorporates lessons from CCC core Units (Matter, Gas Laws, Reactions, Solutions, Thermodynamics, and Nuclear) and a variety of freely available digital resources to help students understand how electricity plants process different natural resources and the impact of such processes on climate, environment, and human communities.

Unit materials can be found below:

POWER Unit Must Haves

Lesson 1: Introduction to Energy

Lesson 2: Energy Systems and Conversion of Energy

Lesson 3

Lesson 3A - Hydrocarbons

Lesson 3B - Nuclear

Lesson 3C - Solar

Lesson 4