Skip to Content

Get the Lead Out!

An Interdisciplinary Case Study


Author(s)

Laurie LeBlanc
Chemistry Department
Cuyamaca College
laurie.leblanc@gcccd.edu
Robert Mazalewski
Department of Plant Sciences
University of California at Davis
rlmazalewski@ucdavis.edu
Jonathan Cook
Chemistry Department
Cuyamaca College
Jasmine King
Chemistry Department
Cuyamaca College

Abstract

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.


Objectives

  • 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.

Keywords

Lead; Pb; heavy metals; lead contamination; groundwater contamination; lead poisoning; EPA action levels; atomic absorption spectrophotometer; soil remediation; phytoremediation; environmental chemistry; mining; Leadville; Colorado

Topical Areas

N/A

Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division

Format

PDF

Type / Methods

Laboratory

Language

English

Subject Headings

Chemistry (General)  |   Environmental Science  |   Environmental Engineering  |  


Date Posted

04/21/08

Teaching Notes

Case teaching notes are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering.

Teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience, details about how the case may be taught, and a list of references and resources.

Answer Key

Answer keys for the cases in our collection are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering.

Comments


Richard
dunkler@fort-mill.k12.sc.us
Chemistry
Nation Ford High School
Fort Mill, SC 29715-1625
10/14/2013
Thank you for this Case Study. It is very useful in the classroom to connect chemistry with every day. Also good for the environmental sciences.

-----------------------------
Ann Taylor
taylora@wabash.edu

Wabash College
Crawfordsville
09/05/2016
Several of the links in this case are dead (all the ones I tried). The case is of current interest, especially considering the Flint water case and Calumet soil case.

-----------------------------





09/06/2016

Editor’s Note: We have published at this point hundreds of case studies containing literally thousands of Internet links on our website. At the time a case is published, we confirm that all links to any Internet resources mentioned in the case or notes are functional, but we do not monitor the links thereafter or update them as they begin to "age," morph into something else, or disappear altogether. Like other publishers confronting this issue, we simply do not have the resources to go back and re-research cases whose links have become defunct to find alternate resources.

One option for us might be to remove cases with bad links, but we are loath to do this. Although links go bad, they are only one feature of a case study, and we believe that the material still has considerable value and should remain available for teachers to modify or update to suit their needs.

Instructors who encounter bad links in an older case have several options available to them:

  • The Internet Archive provides a valuable service that often can be used to recover website materials that no longer exist at their original address (see the Wayback Machine at http://www.archive.org/index.php; simply copy-and-paste in the old URL to see if you can recover the material).
  • Find alternate sources, new website, new links, and incorporate them into the version of the case that you teach. We have always encouraged modification of the cases in our collection. Updating them is part of that and we assume that this goes on. Sharing such updates or modifications on this comments page can be a useful service to others, and we strongly encourage it.

-----------------------------