Teaching resources

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What can chemists learn from nature?

In these resources, students explore the popular flavour vanilla from the various sources that make it, to the economic and environmental impacts. Students will evaluate different pathways (KS3); how to evaluate 'green' chemical methods (KS4); find out more about how vanillin is made from benzene and discuss its impacts (KS5); and find out more about the technology that is being developed by researchers at the University of Oxford (KS5).

KS3 - Flavour Saver
KS4 - Green Vanilla
KS5 - Organic Pathways
KS5 - Biology to Technology
In this activity students find out about the chemical that gives vanilla its popular flavour - vanillin. They evaluate three different ways of producing vanillin artificially and learn about how to use Earth's resources sustainably.
In this activity students find out about the chemical that gives vanilla its popular flavour - vanillin. They evaluate three different ways of producing vanillin artificially and learn about how to evaluate how 'green' chemical processes are using the principles of green chemistry.
In this activity students find out about the chemical that gives vanilla its popular flavour - vanillin. They analyse the chemical pathway used to make vanillin from benzene and discuss the economic and environmental impacts of its manufacture.
In this biochemistry-based activity students consider why many industrial chemical reactions are being catalysed by enzymes. They find out about an important coenzyme, NADH and act in role as industrial chemists by evaluating the different ways of recycling it. The activity gives them an insight into research being carried out at the University of Oxford which brings together concepts from biology and chemistry.

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