Planning Index: Environmental Chemistry | Print |

Grade 9 Science Unit Plan
Unit C - Environmental Chemistry
(Social and Environmental Contexts emphasis)

Grade 9 Unit Overview (Alberta)
Environments are often viewed from a physical and biological perspective, but to fully understand how they function, it is important to view them from a chemical perspective as well. A study of environmental chemistry helps students become aware that chemical substances make up the underlying fabric of the world and are part of the process in all natural cycles and changes. Through this unit students also become aware of human-produced chemical substances that enter and interact with environments, and investigate potential impacts of different substances on the distribution and abundance of living things.

Concepts Covered and Developed through Instruction

  • concentration and dispersal
  • stability and biodegradability
  • ingestion and absorption of materials
  • uncertainties in assessing toxicity and risk

This unit builds on ideas introduced in Science 8 Unit A: Cells and Systems, Unit B: Mix and Flow of Matter, Unit E: Fresh and Saltwater Systems, and Science 9 Unit B: Matter and Chemical Change. The unit introduces ideas that will be developed further in Science 10 Unit C: Flow ofMatter in Living Systems and in Science 20 Unit B: Changes in Living Systems. 

What do the students already know?

Can you describe common substances found in our environment?
How can these substances affect living things?

What must they Learn?

Chemical substances make up the underlying fabric of the world and are part of the process in all natural cycles and changes. Human-produced chemical substances can enter and interact with environments with a positive or negative impact.


Specific Learner Outcomes

Instructional Focus

Focus 1

Environmental Substances

Investigate and describe, in general terms, the role of different substances in the environment in supporting or harming humans and other living things


- organic and inorganic substances
- synthesized organic matter
- processes
( dilution, biomagnification )
- uptaks of materials
( ingestion or absorption)
- breaking down or eliminating mterials
( DDT, mercury )
- questions to be addressed

 Common substances investigation

Lab activities

Research / graphic organizer

Lab activities

Research / Scientific Reports / Internet

Posing Questions

Focus 2

Water Quality

Identify processes for measuring the quantity of different substances in the environment, and for monitoring air and water quality


- substrates and nutrient sources
- biological monitoring
- chemical factors
( oxygen, pH, dissolved nutrients )
- concentration
- acids, bases and neutral substances
- neutralization reaction
- effects of acids and bases on living things


Lab activities
Lab activities

Lab activities
Lab activities / Demonstrations
Lab activities / Demonstrations
Lab activities / Demonstrations
Viewing / Text

Focus 3

Pollutant Distribution

Analyze and evaluate mechanisms affecting the distribution of potentially harmful substances within an environment


- transfer of materials
- factors that accelerate or retard distribution
- biodegradation
- biological impacts of hazardous chemicals
- domestic waste disposal
- transportation, storage and disposal methods
- consumer practices and industrial processes
- information and standard setting
- an environmental issue

Research / Text
Lab Activities

Problem Solving Activities
Case Study

Sanitary Landfil
Swan Hills, Alberta
Scientific Report )
Text / Research / Internet
Wastewater Treatment
Canadian Standards Council / CDC

Debate / Town Hall Meeting