Get the Lead Out!
An Interdisciplinary Case Study
Department of Plant Sciences
University of California at Davis
This case study, developed for a general chemistry course, is intended to teach students the interdisciplinary nature of environmental science. Students take on the role of environmental chemists. Using atomic absorption spectroscopy, they test for lead contamination in groundwater samples taken from an old mining district in Lake County, Colorado. After researching remediation methods, students propose practical solutions to local soil contamination.
- Understand the nature of mining operations and their effect on the environment.
- Learn about the effects of unsafe levels of lead in the human body.
- Understand the theory and application of atomic absorption spectroscopy in lead determination.
- Learn about possible methods of remediating contaminated soil, in particular, phytoremediation.
KeywordsLead; Pb; heavy metals; lead contamination; groundwater contamination; lead poisoning; EPA action levels; atomic absorption spectrophotometer; soil remediation; phytoremediation; environmental chemistry; mining; Leadville; Colorado
Educational LevelHigh school, Undergraduate lower division
Type / MethodsLaboratory
Subject HeadingsChemistry (General) | Environmental Science | Environmental Engineering |