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Kamis, Februari 03, 2011

THE ADVANTAGES OF LEARNING CHEMISTRY IN DAILY LIFE

By : Dania Puri Oktaviani

Chemistry is defined as a natural science that studies the composition, structure, and properties of matter, as well as the changes it undergoes and the energy accompanying the process. In fact, matter and its changes are all around us, for example combustion fuel in vehicle involves change in matter (chemical reaction) that is followed by a release of energy (used to move vehicle) and besides that the universe and its content, which comparisons of water, land, air, and living organism, are composed of matter. Everything about matter and its change are studied by chemistry. Chemistry plays a big role in many aspects of our lives. So, based on the facts that there are many advantages of learning chemistry not only for our education but also for our daily life, for this reason we should learn chemistry.

First of all, chemistry alters the way we see how the phenomena work, actually many phenomena can be explained logically by chemistry. For instance, we know the work of ulcer drug like antacid in our stomach. When our stomach is empty, our kidney will produce too much gastric acid and make us suffer from stomach ulcer. When we consume antacid which is commonly contained aluminium hiydroxide or Al(OH)3 as a base, it is designed for acid build up in your stomach, and when an acid (stomach acid) is mixed with the base (antacid) it causes a neutral substance in your stomach, and that's how our stomach ulcer can be cured. Another example, we know how to know the work of iron corrosion and how to prevent it. When iron is immersed in water or when humidity from the air condenses on an iron surface, the oxygen dissolved reacts with iron causing the formation of iron oxides. As the result when dry iron oxides has the reddish-brown flaky character we called it rust. One of the ways to prevent iron corrosion is by isolating the iron from its environment. Iron can be isolated by coating it with a protective paint like anti-rust paint so there are no spaces for iron to react with water and oxygen.

Second, chemistry influences us on thinking and decision making. For example, we are learning how to think logically and systematically when doing experiment. There are steps in an experiment: plan the experiment, collect the data, process and analyze the data, make a conclusion, and the last is prepare a report. These steps help us to think logically and systematically. Moreover, we will able to use natural resources well. Natural resources can be renewable or nonrenewable. If frequently used, nonrenewable materials such as aluminum will be used up. Knowledge of chemistry helps to prevent this condition by seeking alternative materials. For example, the invention of plastic composite as alternatives for aluminum used in the aviation industry and the recycle of used aluminum cans to obtain raw aluminum material for industry. In the meantime, chemistry is used to seek ways for renewing and boosting of renewable materials, such as the development of fertilizers to increase food production.

Third, chemistry prevents us from dangerous of drugs and other dangerous materials. For example we know how to use drugs like antibiotic effectively. The steps of use antibiotic are : read literature of antibiotics carefully, take the medication for the entire prescription, and only take antibiotic prescribed for you. If we don’t follow this steps, you can suffer from side effects of antibiotics include stomachache, headache, diarrhea, nausea, measles etc. Another example we are able to choose an original and good material because knowledge of chemistry helps us to know the component of products. We can know addictives material that added in our food like formaldehyde which is sometimes still added to salty fish, tofu, and chicken as food preservative although it’s forbidden because of the risk of nose and throat cancer with high consumption over a period of 5–10 years. With chemistry we can compare the food that doesn’t consist of borax and food that consist of borax with look at their physical appearance or with chemical test. For example the characteristics of tofu that contains formaldehyde are: the texture is chewier, not easy destroyed, more durable and not easily rot, and tofu is smelly because it contain formaldehyde.

Although learning chemistry have many advantages for our daily life, there are many students who feel that learning chemistry is very difficult and no benefits. They think that chemistry is far from their daily life. At the same time, their chemistry teacher can’t show the relationship between the topics in chemistry and just give them some equation to be solved or material to be memorized. Consequently, they don’t like to learn chemistry. On the contrary, learning chemistry isn’t difficult if we can relate our daily life and the topic in chemistry.

The solutions to make learning chemistry easier for us are: first, chemistry teacher must be able to start their lesson by showing the chemistry phenomena in daily life. Second, chemistry teacher must be able to show the macroscopic, microscopic, and symbolic about chemistry. Third, chemistry teacher must be able to manage the class so all the students will focus to their lesson.

In short, learning chemistry is very useful and important for our daily life not only for our education. Chemistry alters the way we see how the phenomena work, influences us on thinking and decision making and prevents us from dangerous of drugs and other dangerous materials. Because of that chemistry teacher must have a good skill to teach chemistry so we can enjoy learning chemistry.

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