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Colourful Solutions

Chemical Engineering Dyes to Brighten Lives

Chemical Engineering Dyes to Brighten Lives
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The Gist:

Students will learn to think like chemical engineers as they delve into the dye technologies that allow us to express ourselves through colourful clothing. They will read and discuss complex texts, analyse concept maps and graphs, and develop an appreciation for indigenous (Māori) dye technology.

Target Subject:
Science
Grades:
9-13
Estimated Time:
3 x 45min classes
Target Subject:
Science
Grades:
9-13
Estimated Time:
3 x 45min classes
Subject breakdown by standard alignments:Subject breakdown by standard alignments
Subject breakdown by standard alignments
Subject breakdown by standard alignments

Driving Question(s):

How have different dye technologies been used to produce colorful clothing across cultures and over time?

Essential Question(s):

How can a career in chemical, genetic, or process engineering create opportunities to solve complex societal problems?

Hook(s):

  • Part 1 begins with a warm-up “Dye-versity Audit,” In which students will quantify the number of dyes they brought to class on their person and reflect on what they mean in terms of self-expression. The rest of Part 1 focuses on narratives designed to appeal to students’ curiosity.
  • Part 2 involves a card-based puzzle activity.
  • Part 3 puts students directly in the decision-maker position, giving them an opportunity to choose a course of action based on their own values and reasoning.
Keywords:
chemical engineeringprocess engineeringdyeMāoriindigenous technology

“Teach it in 15”  Quick Prep

  1. Check out lesson multimedia below
  2. Look over Teaching Materials
  3. Teach it and let us know what you think!
For Lesson 1
Role of the Dye Readings

These narrative texts introduce students to the 3 dye technologies (ancient, Māori, and synthetic) that they will investigate.

by Galactic Polymath
For Lesson 1
The Nature of Colour at the American Museum of Natural History

Provides a broad appreciation of colour that sets the ground for our unit investigating dye technologies and why they are important.

by Galactic Polymath
For Lesson 2
Dye Technology "Cost Card" Puzzle Activity

Students will sort these cards into 3 correctly ordered processes. This builds an chemical/process engineering mindset.

by Galactic Polymath
For Lesson 3
True Blues: Textiles Water Pollution Problem

Supports student reflection and analysis as they perform a cost-benefit analysis of dye technologies to make a recommendation.

by Colour Ashram
  • The Nature of Colour at the American Museum of Natural History
  • True Blues: Textiles Water Pollution Problem

3 x 45 min

Available Grade Bands

Available Teaching Environments

Learning Objectives

Students will able to...

  1. Understand that chemical engineers develop economical commercial processes to convert raw material into useful products.

  2. Understand the scientific and engineering methods.

  3. Analyze complex texts describing historical and contemporary figures and synthesize information about dye processes.

Materials for Grades 9-13
  1. Presentation (Part 1)

    Need: WiFi, Computer, Projector, Sound

    lesson_tile
  2. Student Worksheet (Part 1)

    Print 1 Per Student

    lesson_tile
  3. Teacher Worksheet (Part 1)

    Print 1

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Steps & Flow

10 min: Warm-Up

1.

Clothing Colour Audit

1.

Clothing Colour Audit

Use the presentation to walk students through an engagement hook activity, before moving into the main reading activity. Using worksheet 1, students calculate their "dye-versity index".

The "dye-versity index" represents the total number of colours a student has on them, and therefore the number of dye processes that had to be invented.

2.

Share Out

2.

Share Out

Let students share their "dye-versity index" and reflect on whether colour helps express their personality or mood.

5 min: Engage

3.

Watch Video

3.

Watch Video

This video introduces the importance of colour in the natural world of plants, animals, and evolution, as well as in the human world of self-expression, social interaction, and culture. The importance of colour to life sets the stage to learn about dye technologies in the next step.

25 min: Explore

4.

Introducing 3 Dye Technologies

4.

Introducing 3 Dye Technologies

The lessons will focus on Tyrian Purple, Mauveine, and Tānekaha Dye.

The invention of each of technology enabled a group of people at a time and place the power of expression through colour!

5.

Student "Experts"

5.

Student "Experts"

Split students into groups of three (e.g. by counting off). Assign each number one of the three articles in Reading Handout 1.

After giving them time to read and fill out the concept map for their reading, instruct the groups of three to teach each other what they learned and help each other fill out the remaining blanks on Worksheet 1.

  • synthesise: the process of running chemical reactions to obtain one or several products
  • patent: a government license that keeps others from making, using, or selling an invention
  • mass-market: cheap goods produced in large quantities to meet high demand
  • niche market: goods designed to meet the specific needs of a smaller market (~10,000 units), such as clothes for children or sustainable cleaning supplies
  • aniline: an organic compound with the formula C6H5NH2
  • secretion: a process by which substances are produced and discharged from a cell, gland, or organ for a particular function in the organism or for excretion
  • reducing agents: in chemistry, a reducing agent is a chemical molecule or atom that "donates" an electron to another chemical
  • luxury market: expensive goods produced in small quantities because of cost and to maintain an exclusive status of the product

5 min: Wrapping Up

6.

Have students finish remaining questions on their own or assign homework

6.

Have students finish remaining questions on their own or assign homework

Part 2 will begin with a review of each dye technology, so students should complete their Part 1 worksheet before then.

Learning Objectives

Students will able to...

  1. Understand that chemical engineers develop economical commercial processes to convert raw material into useful products.

  2. Compare and contrast the costs and benefits of synthetic vs natural dye production.

  3. Understand the scientific and engineering methods.

  4. Solve a STEM puzzle by logically piecing together the order of 3 different dye processes.

Materials for Grades 9-13
  1. Cost Cards for Activity (Part 2)

    lesson_tile
  2. Presentation (Part 2)

    Need: WiFi, Computer, Projector, Sound

    lesson_tile
  3. Student Worksheet (Part 2)

    Print 1 Per Student

    lesson_tile
  4. Teacher Worksheet (Part 2)

    Print 1

    lesson_tile
Steps & Flow

15 min: Review

1.

Share Out

1.

Share Out

Recap the three dye technologies from yesterday's lesson.

Let students share out what they remember from yesterday's lesson and how each dye technology is made. Then use Presentation 2 to pivot the discussion to the sustainability, cultural significance, status signalling, and efficiency of the various technologies.

2.

What is the difference between a chemist and a chemical engineer?

2.

What is the difference between a chemist and a chemical engineer?

Encourage students to do their best to distinguish the differences between a chemist and a chemical engineer.

Use Presentation to transition from the discovery and invention of dye technologies to the activity and discussion about how inventions become viable products.

5 min: Pivot

3.

Become a chemical engineer for a day

3.

Become a chemical engineer for a day

Paint the picture: Galactic Tees is a new company that wants to make a new line of t-shirts but can't decide on what dye technology to use.

Students will study the pros and cons of each dyeing technology at different scales. For the "Cost Cards" activity the Driving Question will be: "How much does it cost to produce the first dyed item using each technology?"

15 min: Activity: Process Engineering Puzzle

4.

Activity instructions

4.

Activity instructions

Divide students into groups of 2-3 and give each group a set of: ➚ Dye Technology "Cost Card" Puzzle Activity

Each set has 18 Cost Cards representing 6 steps in each of the three dyeing technologies. The presentation will break the activity into substages and guide the students through an analysis of the processes.

5.

Find the Starting Price

5.

Find the Starting Price

Once the cards students have sorted the cards, have them add up the prices of each step listed on the Cost Cards to find the Total Cost of the process.

Starting Price = Total Cost X 1.2 (to include a 20% profit)

10 min: Reflecting on Process Costs

6.

Independent Work

6.

Independent Work

Have students use the remaining time to finish the worksheet.

Students will reflect on the major expenses of the process and predict how the price per item might change as the scale of production increases. Part 3 will explore how production costs change at different scales, so these questions prime the students to think beyond the Starting Price.

Learning Objectives

Students will able to...

  1. Understand that chemical engineers develop economical commercial processes to convert raw material into useful products.

  2. Interpret graphs to design a product solution at an appropriate scale.

  3. Understand the scientific and engineering methods.

  4. Assess the tradeoffs in scalability, cost, sustainability, and cultural significance between Māori dye technology compared to modern petroleum-based synthetic dyes.

Materials for Grades 9-13
  1. Presentation (Part 3)

    Need: WiFi, Computer, Projector, Sound

    lesson_tile
  2. Student Worksheet (Part 3)

    Print 1 Per Student

    lesson_tile
  3. Teacher Worksheet (Part 3)

    Print 1

    lesson_tile
Steps & Flow

10 min: Review

1.

Share Out

1.

Share Out

Quickly review the 3 dye technologies, the Starting Price students calculated for each, and the reason the different technologies have varying Starting Prices.

Since the prices and production scales have such a wide range of values, the price per item versus number of items produced points are plotted on log-log plots (logarithmic scales). The presentation includes a side note about the purpose of log-log plots.

20 min: Explain

2.

Introducing Price Curves

2.

Introducing Price Curves

The presentation introduces the idea of producing items at various scales and discusses how the price per unit changes accordingly.

Make sure students complete corresponding worksheet sections to follow the discussion of Price Curves.

3.

Limited Resources

3.

Limited Resources

Use presentation to guide students through the example of fishing for Murex snails illustrates how the availability of resources affects (and limits) the scale of production.

4.

Watch Video

4.

Watch Video

Show ▶ True Blues: Textiles Water Pollution Problem to introduce environmental impacts of synthetic dyes made from fossil fuels.

Throughout the presentation, synthetic dyes produced from fossil fuels are shown to be a competitive and attractive dye technology. Despite their range of colours and low costs, dyes produced from fossil fuels also cause a lot of problems.

In this video students learn about the many sustainability issues tied to the dye and fashion industries (particularly with fossil-fuel-derived synthetic dyes). This prepares students to reflect on and analyze the consequences of dye technologies as they perform a cost-benefit analysis of the available dye technologies to make a recommendation for Galactic Tees.

15 min: Synthesise and Reflect

5.

Have students finish worksheet independently

5.

Have students finish worksheet independently

By interpreting the price curves, compiling information from all three lessons, and reflecting on their values and goals, students recommend a dye technology for Galactic Tees to use in their new line of t-shirts.

A table in the worksheet allows students to compare the range of colours, price point, target audience, sustainability, status signalling, and cultural significance of each dye technology. Based on the compiled information they will identify the most competitive dye technology. Their final recommendation for Galactic Tees's dye technology is supported by the production bottom line, but also by the student's personal priorities (e.g. sustainability or cultural significance).

Each of these technologies has pros and cons, so students are encouraged to reflect on how they could improve their chosen dye technology's disadvantages. Specifically they are tasked with imagining themselves as chemical engineers trying to make Galactic Tees more sustainable.

  • mass market: goods produced in large quantities (1,000,000+ units) to meet high demand and sold at a low cost to a broad group.
  • niche market: goods designed to meet the specific needs of a smaller market (~10,000 units), such as clothes for children or sustainable cleaning products.
  • luxury market: expensive goods produced in small quantities (<1,000 units) because of cost and to maintain exclusive status of the product.
Materials for Grades 9-13
  1. Assessment (TEACHER)

    lesson_tile
  2. Assessment (STUDENT)

    lesson_tile
  • Have students read and discuss the scientific paper about dye technologies in the Background Section . This paper is co-authored by Māori weaving expert and conservator Rangi Te Kanawa, PhD.
  • Teach the Black is Back lesson centred on Rangi’s conservatory work restoring Māori garments that were dyed using a different technology.
  • Have students research the significance of the pepeha in Māori culture. They can create their own using this great online tool.
  • Ask students to research chemical engineering, process engineering, chemistry, and related careers to find out median salary, school requirements, etc. A great resource is the NZ Careers Website.
  • Have students watch this video about bioengineering dyes and conduct independent research. For example, they could find a company developing sustainable dyes and make a presentation about why this company deserves investment, compared to others.
  • Have students research Rangi Te Kanawa, her mother Diggeress, and grandmother Rangimārie, and to reflect on the significance of preserving indigenous technologies.

Māori Culture

For those unfamiliar with Māori culture and language, here are some helpful links.

Scientific Background

This lesson helps build a high-level understanding of the different processes behind 3 dye technologies: 2 derived from natural resources (tānekaha red and Tyrian purple) and 1 derived from fossil fuels (mauveine). You and your students can gain more detailed knowledge by reading this scientific paper, coauthored by Rangi Te Kanawa. Screenshot of the journal article

Further Reading:

Learning Standards Chart
Click...?below to see how lessons address each standard.

Target Standard(s)

Skills and concepts directly taught or reinforced by this lesson

Dimension: Geometry and Measurement

How does the lesson address this standard?

Students will synthesize multiple sources of information stemming from: a complex graph of how the unit price of 3 dye technologies scales with production; group discussions; and consideration of different pros and cons for each technology.

Dimension: Listening, Reading, and Viewing

How does the lesson address this standard?

Students will become experts in one of the 3 dye technologies covered by reading a complex text. They will then use their understanding to fill out a concept map of inputs and outputs for the technology involved.

How does the lesson address this standard?

Students will work together with group members to fill out all 3 concept maps, each based on a different complex text based on a dye technology (Tyrian Purple, Tānekaha Red, and Mauveine)

Dimension: Material World

How does the lesson address this standard?

In Part 3, students will perform a detailed cost/benefit analysis of 3 dye technologies, based on the cost, scalability, sustainability, and cultural significance. Two dyes are naturally-derived; one is synthesized from fossil fuels.

Connected Standard(s)

Skills and concepts reviewed or hinted at in this lesson (for building upon)

Dimension: Geometry and Measurement

How does the lesson address this standard?

Students will interpret curves on a complex graph of how the unit price of 3 dye technologies scales with production to inform a detailed cost/benefit analysis.

Dimension: Listening, Reading, and Viewing

How does the lesson address this standard?

Students will become experts in one of the 3 dye technologies covered by reading a complex text. They will then use their understanding to fill out a concept map of inputs and outputs for the technology involved.

How does the lesson address this standard?

Students will work together with group members to fill out all 3 concept maps, each based on a different complex text based on a dye technology (Tyrian Purple, Tānekaha Red, and Mauveine)

Dimension: Nature of Science

How does the lesson address this standard?

Students will work together with group members to fill out 3 concept maps showing the inputs and outputs of each dye technology: Tyrian Purple, Tānekaha Red, and Mauveine. They will also participate in class discussions and individual reflection based on this group work.

How does the lesson address this standard?

In Part 3, students will perform a detailed cost/benefit analysis of 3 dye technologies, based on the cost, scalability, sustainability, and cultural significance. They will make a recommendation for which dye to use, based on this analysis.

How does the lesson address this standard?

Throughout the lesson, students will learn about different technologies (developed beginning 4,000 years ago) have impacted different societies, and how our growing understanding of chemical processes has increased access to dyes (and colourful fabrics), while causing other environmental and cultural challenges.

How does the lesson address this standard?

Students will incorporate new vocabulary associated with dye technologies and analyze complex graphs.

How does the lesson address this standard?

In Part 3, students will perform a detailed cost/benefit analysis of 3 dye technologies, based on the cost, scalability, sustainability, and cultural significance. They will make a recommendation for which dye to use, based on this analysis.

Dimension: Material World

How does the lesson address this standard?

In Part 3, students will perform a detailed cost/benefit analysis of 3 dye technologies, based on the cost, scalability, sustainability, and cultural significance. Two dyes are naturally-derived; one is synthesized from fossil fuels.

Dimension: Social Studies

How does the lesson address this standard?

Students will learn about mātaraunga Māori (traditional knowledge) related to the making of a red dye from tree bark, as well as the ancient practice of making Tyrian purple from marine snails. They will reflect on and discuss the cultural significance of these dyes and contrast with modern synthetic dyes.

How does the lesson address this standard?

Students will learn how dye technologies were discovered, passed down, or rediscovered, and reflect on their cultural significance and sustainability.

How does the lesson address this standard?

Students will consider the sustainability of each dye technology in the cost/benefit analysis.

How does the lesson address this standard?

Students will learn how dye technologies were discovered, passed down, or rediscovered, and reflect on their cultural significance and sustainability.

How does the lesson address this standard?

In P2, students will do a card sort activity that has them think about the steps and costs involved with producing the first garment using each dye technology. They will then synthesize and expand this knowledge to understand how an entrepreneur balances various concerns to choose a technology that meets the diverse needs of a particular target consumer.

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Lesson Author and Creative Director:

Matt Wilkins, PhD

Lesson Author and Graphic Design Consultant:

Stephanie Castillo, PhD

Education Consultant:

Madelyn Leembruggen

Sponsor and Producer

Matthew Cowan, PhD

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0.1.0 Lesson initialized

April 27, 2023