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Green chemistry

Full Day
Book Program
Year Levels


As the population on Earth continues to grow, the demand and pressure on resources will increase. Whether it be energy, water, food or shelter, as a society we need to move to a more sustainable approach of the use of these resources.

In this program students will explore the chemistry of some common products such as cleaning agents and plastics including some sustainably resourced materials that can be used as alternatives.

In the first session, students will investigate plastics, how they are produced, how they are utilized by society, how they are recycled and finally what alternatives there are to current plastics. Students will learn how to make bioplastics derived from renewable biomass sources such as vegetable fats and oils, corn starch, or microbiota.

In the second session, students learn about the difference between soaps and detergents and how they work. Students will extract Limonene from citrus and learn about its use as an alternative cleaning agent.

Prior Knowledge

Some basic idea of atoms and the particulate nature of matter.

Key Learning Question

How can chemistry be used to find green solutions for plastics and cleaning agents?

Learning Intentions

In this program students will:

  • Discover the origins of microplastics and their effect on the ocean
  • Distinguish between plastic made from fossil fuels and plastic made from plant based starch
  • Understand the benefits to the environment of using compostable plastics
  • Discover what solvents are and how they work
  • Understand how waste products can be used to make safer solvents.


Students will:

  • Investigate the origins, formation and disposal of plastics and the impact plastics and microplastics have on the environment
  • Undertake activities to extract microplastics from a range of samples
  • Produce bioplastic in the laboratory
  • Learn how soaps and detergents work through simple experiments
  • Extract Limonene from citrus fruit

Victorian Curriculum


  • Advances in scientific understanding often rely on developments in technology and technological advances are often linked to scientific discoveries (VCSSU115)
  • The values and needs of contemporary society can influence the focus of scientific research (VCSSU116)
  • Different types of chemical reactions are used to produce a range of products and can occur at different rates; chemical reactions may be represented by balanced chemical equations (VCSSU125)

Design Technology

  • Critically analyse factors, including social, ethical and sustainability considerations, that impact on designed solutions for global preferred futures and the complex design and production processes involved (VCDSTS054)
  • Explain how designed solutions evolve with consideration of preferred futures and the impact of emerging technologies on design decisions (VCDSTS055)