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Professor Jeffrey Grossman


11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Chemistry, Biology, Engineering

Resource Type

  • Videos, 9 minutes, 14 seconds

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.
  • 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: Forces, Interactions, Motion, and Stability
      • 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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