Skip to Content

The Flint Water Crisis

An Introduction to Chemical Reactions


Author(s)

Tracy J. Terry
Division of Science and Wellness
The University of New Mexico—Valencia Campus
tjterry@unm.edu

Abstract

The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, provides a compelling context for understanding the importance of each of the major classes of chemical reactions: precipitation reactions, acid-base reactions, and oxidation-reduction reactions. Each of these reaction types was integral to the failure of the water system in Flint and led to traumatic results for the local inhabitants. Students prepare for this case study by reading an article from Chemical & Engineering News, reviewing the definitions of these reaction types in their textbook, and answering a set of ten questions. The classroom activity is guided by a PowerPoint presentation with further information and an additional series of questions that students work through in class. The case is suitable for high school and lower-level undergraduate general chemistry students.


Objectives

  • Identify chemical reactions as precipitation, acid-base, or oxidation-reduction.
  • Write balanced chemical equations for each type of chemical reaction.
  • Use a solubility table to identify the products and spectator ions of precipitation reactions.
  • Identify the oxidation state of simple species (metals and simple non-metals).
  • Identify the oxidizing agent and reducing agent of oxidation/reduction reactions.

Keywords

precipitation reactions; acid-base reactions; oxidation-reduction reactions; ox-redox; Flint; lead; passivation; redox;

Topical Areas

Regulatory issues, Social justice issues

Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division

Format

PDF, PowerPoint

Type / Methods

Directed, Clicker

Language

English

Subject Headings

Chemistry (General)  |   Environmental Science  |   Engineering (General)  |   Environmental Engineering  |   Chemical Engineering  |   Civil Engineering  |  


Date Posted

12/5/2017

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