Swimming Pool Chemistry

Summer’s here and that means it’s time to head for that clear, cool, and refreshing pool! Did you know that children swallow at least 37 mL of pool water each day they swim for 45 minutes or more? Do you know how many microbes can fit into just 1 mL of water? A lot!

Here are a few resources to acquaint your students with some of the microbes we aim to kill with chlorine as well as the properties of chlorine. Several factors, such as pH and temperature, affect its activity. Due to its noxious quality, hands-on activities with chlorine are not possible. However, you and your students might want to model and simulate the chemical activity of chlorine. Or, you and your students could create case studies in small groups to trade and analyze using their new knowledge.

CDC: Healthy Swimming
The What? Where? Why? How? and Who? of recreational water illnesses (RWI).

Internet Scout Report for Physical Science: Chlorine
A list of several related web sites. We suggest Chlorine Chemistry, which presents 10 chlorine chemistry questions. Answers do not appear on the same screen, giving students a chance to think about them. The Question of the Day links to How Does Chlorine Bleach Work?. Scroll down and click on How Does Chorine Work to Clean Swimming Pools?

This engagingly written, one-page article provides a brief history of humans’ use of chlorine and highlights some common, useful compounds of chlorine, expanding student conceptions beyond pool water disinfectants. This article is from Chemical & Engineering News accessed through the American Chemical Society.

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We want and need your ideas, suggestions, and observations. What would you like to know more about? What questions have your students asked? We invite you to share with us and other readers by posting your comments. Please check back often for our newest posts or download the RSS feed for this blog. Let us know what you think and tell us how we can serve you better. We appreciate your feedback on all of our Middle School Portal 2 publications. You can also email us at msp@msteacher.org. Post updated 4/09/2012.