chemistry article

Fluoride in Water Controversy surrounds the addition of fluoride to drinking water. Professional organizations (i.e. Center for Disease Control, National Health Service, National Academy of Science, and the American Dental Association) say that the proper amount of fluoride in the water can prevent and control tooth decay with no side effects. However, members of your community are fighting with community leaders to remove fluoride from the water. Inspired by Pinellas Country in Florida*, they continue the claim that fluoride has been added to the water supply in an attempt by the government to control the minds of its people. They also claim that the government has manufactured scientific data that shows how fluoride protects teeth from decay and cavities.

You have been asked as scientific members of this community to weigh in on whether or not fluoride protects teeth from acid erosion. To reach as much of the community as possible, you plan to write an article in the local paper to share your findings.

Your goal: using simulated teeth (water buffalo, eggshell or limestone chip) to provide evidence on whether fluoride protects teeth from acid erosion.

Your end product: an article in the local paper that uses your data to support or refute the claim that fluoride protects teeth from decay.

Lab Report (30 points)

Each person turns in their own report! NOT A GROUP PROJECT* To have a complete lab report, you must include ALL of the following:

1. Summary of experiment 2. Reflection 3. Data table 4. Calculations 5. Article for the local paper

Student groups may work on 3 and 4 together; however, the summary, reflection and article MUST be individual work. A complete report must contain ALL 5 sections (even if you worked on them as a group, you must attach your own copy).

Summary of experiment (Typed) The summary is a complete and concise description of your work. It must contain:

• Reason – why do we care about this work? Look to your scenario. Each has given you a bigger picture to use an inspiration for your work. Think about why is this research important.

• Research question – what problem are you solving? This will give the reader a better understanding of the scope of your work.

• Method – what approach did you take to answer the research question? This is a brief summary of your experimental design and the techniques you used. Don’t get bogged down in details, but give the reader a quick summary of what you did.

• Results – What was the answer to your question based on your observations? Describe key observation and include important findings.

• Conclusions/Implications – What is the general implications of your findings? This should reference your scenario and the goal of your experiment. Should fluoride be kept in the water? Can the energy yield of the industrial process be improved? Is there a way to effectively separate the recovered spill mixture?

Other considerations about the summary:

• No more than 400 words. • Be clear and concise. • Assume the reader understands scientific terms and chemistry; therefore, you do not have

to define terms or techniques (ex: suction filtration, acid, etc). • The summary must be typed. Include a word count in parentheses at the end of the

summary. (≤ 400)

Reflection (Typed) Answer the following questions:

1. What did you learn about the scientific process while working on this team project? 2. What did you learn about working as a member of a research team? 3. What is one way that this experience will help you in your future studies, research, or


Data Tables (Typed) Create tables with labels to organize your data and calculated values. Use the tables in the lab packets as guides. The tables should be easily understood and organized.

Calculations (Typed or Handwritten) This section also includes all your calculations. Calculations should be labeled so that the reader can follow your train of thought. If handwritten, it should be neat and legible.

Article for the paper (Typed) One of the most important jobs of a scientist is to convey their findings to others. These communications include: formal publications (i.e. journal articles, technical books, textbooks); presentations at professional meetings (i.e. posters, talks, discussion panels, roundtables); technical reports to granting/funding agencies; and communications with employers. Scientists also speak to the general public. It is important that, when we communicate our findings, we use language that is appropriate for the audience we are addressing. End product: an article in the local paper that uses your data to support or refute the claim that fluoride protects teeth from decay.

• The article should be no more than 2 pages, double spaced. • The article should be written for a general audience and not use technical terms or jargon.

The target audience for this article is interested people with limited chemistry knowledge. o If you use a technical term, you must define it for the audience.

• This article differs from your summary, because it is a less technical communication. o It requires you to think about how to explain a technical experiment to a general

audience. o To help, try explaining your scenario lab to a

parent/sibling/grandparent/relative/friend who doesn’t have experience in general chemistry.

• Your article should include: o Statement: Does your evidence support or refute the claim that fluoride protects

teeth from decay? o Brief description of the chemistry involved with fluoridation of teeth and your

experiment. § How it relates to acid erosion of teeth?

o Brief description of how you carried out your experiment. o Describe key findings of the experiment, numerical and/or observational, that

support your statement. § DO NOT include data tables. § Graphs/charts are allowed as long as they are necessary to support your

statement. o Write a conclusion based on your analysis.

§ Detail how these findings support or refute the claim that fluoride protects teeth from decay.

§ DO Not include personal beliefs