Example problem PBL Basic Chemistry: Case of magnesium deficiency

Tony and Dody read an article in newspaper about incident between student of SMAN … high school and journalists in Jakarta.

Students from SMA ..high school in South Jakarta assaulted five journalists from various media organizations who staged a protest against an attack earlier last week on a TV journalist implicating the students at the school.
On Friday, some students grabbed a video cassette owned by Trans7 journalist, Oktaviardi, when he recorded a brawl between students from SMA .. and SMA … More journalists came to the school on Monday to stage a protest and ask the school to take responsibility for the incident.

After reading this article, Tony and Dody were in deep conversion analyzing this incident. Tony told Dody that such violence behavior can be caused by mineral deficiency, especially magnesium from the earth alkaline metals group. He said that nutritionist have found nutrition diet can prevent the violence behavior. He explained this based on the an article written by Dr. Mark Sircus about magnesium defisiency.

Magnesium deficiency causes serotonin-deficiency with possible resultant aberrant behaviors, including depression suicide or irrational violence. The Department of Family Medicine, Pomeranian Medical Academy, states that dietetic factors can play a significant role in the origin of ADHD and magnesium deficiency can result in disruptive behaviors. Even a mild deficiency of magnesium can cause sensitiveness to noise, nervousness, irritability, mental depression, confusion, twitching, trembling, apprehension, and insomnia. Magnesium deficiency, even when mild, increases susceptibility to various types of neurological and psychological stressors in both animals and healthy human subjects.

However they still have many questions about alkaline earth metals. Do you think you can give them information regarding these metals?

Assignment 1:

  1. What health conditions that caused or triggered by magnesium deficiency?
  2. Can you describe several important functions of magnesium in the body?
  3. What minerals are important for body metabolism?
  4. Why these metals in group 2 of Periodic table are called earth alkaline metals?
  5. Can you describe the characteristic of these metals, electron configuration and their electrochemical activity? Briefly explain how ionization energies and redox potentials are related to their reactivity.
  6. Can you explain their chemical properties and their salt stability?
  7. How can we obtain earth alkaline metals for industrial use?

Tony and Dody try to understand more about the earth alkaline metals by solving the following problem:

Assignment 2:
A mineral called dolomite with formula MgCO3. CaCO3 is a mixture of insoluble magnesium and calcium carbonates. This mineral can be used to produce calcium sulfate and magnesium sulfate, which are used in manufacture of building materials and fireproofing fabrics.

  1. What is dolomite? What are the applications of MgSO4 and CaSO4 in industry?
  2. If you have 84.5 g of MgCO3 and it is all reacted with sulfuric acid in excess, how many gram of MgSO4 you can obtain?
  3. If all MgSO4 from question no.2 can form hydrated salt MgSO4.7H2O, how many gram of this hydrated salt obtained?
  4. How do you explain about water crystallization? What are other examples of hydrated salts other than MgSO4.7 H2O?

To learn more about chemical reaction, Tony and Dody write the equations on the following chemical reactions:

Assignment 3:

  1. When dissolved beryllium chloride reacts with dissolved silver nitrate in water, aqueous beryllium nitrate and silver chloride powder are made.
  2. When isopropanol (C3H8O) burns in oxygen, carbon dioxide, water, and heat are produced.
  3. When dissolved sodium hydroxide reacts with sulfuric acid (H2SO¬4), aqueous sodium sulfate, water, and heat are formed.
  4. When fluorine gas is put into contact with calcium metal at high temperatures, calcium fluoride powder is created in an exothermic reaction.
  5. When sodium metal reacts with iron (II) chloride, iron metal and sodium chloride are formed.

As they try to answer all questions, they found that they have collected a lot of information regarding alkaline earths metals, especially magnesium element. Do you think they can make a good summary report that cover all this information?

Articles: The Jakarta Post, Jakarta, Mon, 09/19/2011 and http://www.life-enthusiast.com/index/Articles/Sircus/Magnesium_and_Calcium/

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