SALT:  A Lesson in Chemistry and Nutrition


Page 284:

“Because the POW diet was severely deficient sodium, leaving many men crippled by muscle cramps and other ailments, the men developed a system for stealing and processing salt. As they worked, the men on the salt barges would secrete handfuls of salt in their pockets. In its raw form the salt was inedible, so the barge men would carry it up to camp and slip it to the POWs assigned to the steel mill. These men would hide the salt in their clothing and carry it to the mill, wait until the guard wasn’t looking, then drop lumps of it into canteens filled with water. At day’s end, they’d hang the canteens on the side of a coal-fire vat. By morning, the water would be boiled away, leaving only edible salt residue, a treasure beyond price.”


  1. Why isn’t SALT in raw form edible?
  2. Why does the evaporation process make it edible?
  3. How did the men know these things?
  4. How can this topic be explored using a Technology Integrated approach? Lesson Plans on SALT : Conductivity of Salt Solutions

NBC Learn :  Chemistry of Salt (NaCl) or Chemistry of Chrystals: Ice, Salt, etc

American Chemistry Society LEARN :  Why Does Water Dissolve Salt?  (

American Heart Association NUTRITION CENTER : Test Your Sodium Smarts Quiz (pdf)


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