Total Estimated Duration:
The Big Idea (global relevance)
The human stomach makes hydrochloric acid to digest food. However, too much stomach acid causes health problems such as heartburn and acid reflux. Many over the counter and prescription antacids have been developed to treat this problem. Most of these products use inorganic chemical compounds to neutralize stomach acid. With an increasingly health conscious population, treatment of this problem through natural organic substances is gaining more attention. What natural organic foods are effective at neutralizing stomach acid and could be potential remedies for excess stomach acid?
- What causes acid indigestion and how is it treated?
- What health problems are associated with acid indigestion and heartburn?
- Is there a safe and effective natural treatment for acid indigestion?
- What advantages and disadvantages are there in using natural antacids for treatment of acid imbalances in the stomach?
Design an antacid from a natural organic food that will neutralize the same amount of acid as an over the counter commercial antacid.
Show several old antacid commercials:
- 1950S ANIMATED ANTACID COMMERCIAL.mp4
- 1969 Alka Seltzer Spicy Meatball Commercial.mp4
- Rolaids 'Spells Relief' Commercial (1976).mp4
- 1998 - Commercial - Original Alka Seltzer - Antacid & Pain Relief Medicine.mp4
- New TUMS commercial - CHICKEN WING.mp4
Ask the question: From your understanding of these commercials, what are antacids designed to do and what is their composition?
- Does the substance or substances have an appealing taste?
- How readily available is the substance or substances?
- How effective is the substance at neutralizing acid?
- Are there any side effects or allergies associated with the substance(s)?
- What are the health advantages and disadvantages of the substance(s)?
- Will the substance be able to replace an over the counter antacid?
- Does the substance require any special preparation or storage?
- What is the substance’s shelf life?
- How do you know the substance is still safe to use?
ACS (Real world applications; career connections; societal impact)
A (real world Application) – Millions of dollars each year are spent in buying products or getting medical treatment for acid indigestion and heartburn. Many health issues arise because of these maladies. In this unit, students will explore the effectiveness of organic foods that can act as natural antacids. This will encourage students to investigate the causes and treatment of these medical problems and stimulate thought about their diet and health.
C (career connections) – Careers impacted by this unit will include chemists and chemical engineers. Other careers that could be impacted by this unit include medical and dietary professionals. By completing this unit, students will better understand the role that chemists (developing the product), chemical engineers (manufacturing the product) and medical and dietary professionals (utilizing the product play in improving human health.
S (societal impact) – Most people have either experienced acid indigestion or heartburn in varying degrees or have friends or family that have talked about heartburn. Many remedies have been developed to treat these problems, including prescription and over the counter medicines and dietary restrictions. More emphasis has been placed on chemical solutions to these problems than to natural solutions. With a more health conscious society today, this unit focuses on natural organic products that might possibly be used as an antacid. This unit allows the student to explore some of the chemistry involved in finding organic foods that can help society address the problems associated with acid indigestion and heartburn.
This unit has a design project called Natural Antacids where students design an antacid from a natural organic food that will neutralize the same amount of acid as an over the counter commercial antacid. Students investigate the chemistry of antacids, research and test existing antacids, brainstorm ideas for organic food products that will neutralize acid, select and test organic foods for their acid neutralization capacity, and present their research results and natural antacid though a group presentation.
Unit Academic Standards
- Identify questions and concepts that guide scientific investigations;
- Design and conduct scientific investigations;
- Use technology and mathematics to improve investigations and communications;
- Formulate and revise explanations and models using logic and evidence (critical thinking);
- Recognize and analyze explanations and models; and
- Communicate and support a scientific argument.
- Chemical reactions
- Types of reactions
- Lab reports
- The natural antacid
- PowerPoint presentation
CEEMS is funded by the National Science Foundation, grant #1102990
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.