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Professor Jeffrey Grossman


11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Chemistry, Biology, Engineering

Regional Focus



Downloadable MP4/M4V

Drinking Water

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  • This recorded college lecture explains the importance of molecular orbital structures and orbital hybridization using the real-world example of filtering pollutants out of water.
  • Students will learn that access to clean drinking water is a critical issue for billions of people around the world and that water filtration, particularly desalination, is a difficult and expensive process.
  • Students will also learn that graphene is a promising material to use as a membrane in water purification due to its molecular structure.
Teaching Tips


  • The professor takes the time to set up the issue of water quality and establish the scale of the problem globally.
  • The video includes visuals like maps, graphs, and diagrams to aid in student understanding. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • Some content presented is copyrighted and is not in the public domain.
  • The video and transcript are available to download.
  • The video can be opened on YouTube to watch with closed captions or subtitles.
  • Students should already be familiar with atomic orbital shapes, molecular orbital theory, hybridization of orbitals, and sigma and pi bonding.


  • The chemistry topics referenced in this video are typically beyond the scope of AP, IB, or advanced high school chemistry courses. This resource is best suited for college-level students.
  • Before watching the video, teachers should discuss the orbital structures of benzene and graphene, paying particular attention to the pi bonds.
  • This video was recorded in 2018, and since then, there have been numerous advancements in the use of graphene as a membrane. Students can research how they are being used today and where scientists are looking to take these membranes next.
  • Many new technologies are being explored for desalination, which students can research and compare to graphene.
Scientist Notes
The module is on solid-state chemistry and it explains why drinking clean water matters. There is a huge water crisis around the globe and the health of human population are at risk. Although, there is relatively a negligible amount of freshwater which cannot meet our water needs, and again, desalinating and filtering the ocean water is quite expensive. That being so, there is a crucial need to protect our freshwater sources to meet the water demand from the growing population. This resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Science
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS-ETS1-1. Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
      • HS-ETS1-3. Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
    • PS1: Matter and Its Interactions
      • HS-PS1-2. Construct and revise an explanation for the outcome of a simple chemical reaction based on the outermost electron states of atoms, trends in the periodic table, and knowledge of the patterns of chemical properties.
    • PS2: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
      • HS-PS2-6. Communicate scientific and technical information about why the molecular-level structure is important in the functioning of designed materials.
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