UEN Security Office
Technical Services Support Center (TSSC)
Eccles Broadcast Center
101 Wasatch Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
(801) 585-6105 (fax)
Main Curriculum Tie:
Background For Teachers:
Student Prior Knowledge:
Intended Learning Outcomes:
A catalyst is a substance that speeds up a chemical reaction but is not used up in the chemical reaction. In this activity the students themselves will simulate catalysts inside the catalytic converter.
Divide students into groups of 4. For each group of 4 give them a tub of legos. Explain to them that car engines produce several types of air pollutants such as Carbon Monoxide, Hydrocarbons (which are also called VOCs) and Nitrogen Oxides. Give out 1 worksheet per group. Have students be engines and use their legos to make 8 C2H4 pollutant molecules.
Have the groups pick one student from their group to be “Nature”. Explain that “Nature” will try to break apart the pollutant molecules and turn them into CO2, H2O and as in the reaction, but that she will be wearing gloves while doing it. Have the other students time “Nature” as (s)he reacts as many of the pollutant molecules as (s)he can in 30 sec. (Note: “Nature” must complete a full reaction before moving on to the next pollutant molecule. In other words, no just breaking all the pollutants apart before putting the products together.)
Next assign the other 3 students to be “Palladium”, “Platinum”, and “Rhodium”. (You can give them name tags or sticky notes if you want.) Explain that these three metals are the catalysts that are inside of the catalytic converter and that speed up the reactions. (The catalysts are loosely written in the same order as the reactions they catalyze from the graphic above, you can assign them a specific reaction, or not, there is overlap in a catalytic converter). Tell students that after the catalyst helps perform a reaction it can be used again to perform another reaction. The catalyst also does not get included in either the reactants or the products.
Have students complete the worksheet together.
Created Date :