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MIT BLOSSOMS Project-Based Learning Unit—Green Chemistry

Subject ScienceChemistry
Grade Level Grades 9-12


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MIT BLOSSOMS has a Project-Based Learning site with six in-depth lessons designed for high school teachers who want to give PBL a try, but are not sure just how to get started. Each BLOSSOMS PBL unit is developed to provide a teacher with all the resources and scaffolding needed to conduct a three to five-week classroom project. Every BLOSSOMS unit kicks off with a BLOSSOMS video lesson, thus providing the anchoring content and direction for a follow-on project. Teachers new to PBL will also find on this site many answers to questions they may have, as well as invaluable advice on how to successfully lead a PBL unit. While we understand that most teachers won’t be able to devote three weeks completely to a Project-Based Learning unit, the units provided here can be presented on non-consecutive days, for example, two days per week. It is our hope that these units will be valuable stepping stones as teachers grow in confidence about developing their own PBL units! We encourage teachers new to PBL to visit the following resource on this site: Teacher Questions on PBL. To take a Video Tour of this BLOSSOMS PBL site, click here.

Green Chemistry: Driving Question
How can we become a sustainable community through the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry?

Green Chemistry: Big Idea
Green chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances. Green chemistry applies across the life cycle of a chemical product, including its design, manufacture, use, and ultimate disposal. In each part of this 2-part unit, student teams will analyze the lifecycle of a consumer product and research an alternative sustainable product, by comparing which of the Green Chemistry twelve principles are associated with each product.

During this two month project

Students will learn:

  • The definition of sustainability
  • The definition of Green Chemistry and will understand its 12 Principles
  • What a Life Cycle Analysis is and how to conduct one
  • How to make a simple flow chart
  • The difference between Open and Closed Loop Lifecycles
  • The difference between recycling and a Closed Loop Lifecycle
  • How to work in a team and develop a team contract
  • How to keep a Research Journal

Students will be able to:

  • Make a Green Chemistry glue and compare it to a commercial glue 
  • Understand and discuss the ethical issues surrounding pollution
  • Choose and research the lifecycle of a commercial product as well as that of an alternative sustainable product
  • Develop a simple flow chart of where the products start and end in their lifecycles
  • Recognize whether the product has an open or closed loop lifecycle
  • Make a research poster presentation or power point presentation to the school or wider community

For all project materials, visit:


An Introduction to Green Chemistry
Remote video URL


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