Laboratory activities have long had a distinctive and central role in the science curriculum, and science educators have suggested that many benefits accrue from engaging students in science laboratory activities. A major and comprehensive review of the laboratory as an effective instructional technique was recently published by Hofstein & Lunetta, (2004; Lunetta Hofstein & Clough, 2007)). For more than 30 years the chemistry group was involved in various aspects of development, implementation and evaluation of the chemistry laboratory in the context of chemistry learning in Israel. (These efforts were summarized recently in an invited review paper (Hofstein, 2004).
In the last six years the chemistry group in the Department of Science Teaching has developed a new program consisting of about 100 inquiry-type experiments to be implemented in the chemistry laboratory. While conducting the experiment the chemistry students are involved in experimentation and observation, in asking relevant questions, in selecting a certain scientific problem for further investigation, then hypothesizing, and planning an experiment in order to provide an answer to the selected problem. The program was accompanied by intensive and comprehensive professional development of the chemistry teachers (Hofstein, Shore, & Kipnis 2004: Hofstein, Kipnis, Navon & Mamlok-Naaman, 2005). More recently .Taitelbaum (Taitelbaum etal, ) investigated the process of CPD conductinf inquiry experiment and Katchevitch (katchevitch et al, 2013) researched the development of argumentative skills during and following inquiry laboratories in the classroom.
Dkeidek (Dkeidek et al, 2011) compared the classroom learning environment of Jweish and Arabic 11th grade high-schools in Israel.
The inquiry laboratory was studied to determine its impact on the classroom- laboratory learning environment. The study revealed that the learning environment is more satisfying, more goal-directed, more open-ended and more integrated into the chemistry subject matter taught in the classroom compared with the traditional "cookbook"-type traditional laboratories (Hofstein, Levy Nahum, & Shore, 2001).
Industrial ChemistryThe chemistry group operates a center linked to the chemical industry. The center is involved in procedures and activities to enhance cooperation between the educational system in Israel and various industries in the country. Thus far, the center has developed a series of learning materials (textbooks, films, and other learning accessories) for the students and background materials for the teachers to enhance their knowledge of the technological applications of chemistry. In addition, an internet site on industrial chemistry was developed (Kesner, Freilich, & Hofstein, 2003) as a source for information on industry and on the relevant aspects of chemistry.