Molecular animations can be beneficial as teaching tools for genomics education; however, barriers to their effective implementation remain. This article proposes informed design guidelines from the perspective of the animator that may assist others to effectively communicate scientific concepts to their respective audiences and communities.
In this paper, we describe the structure, development, and validation process of customized pedagogical kits (CPKs) for differentiated instruction (DI) in chemistry. The CPKs rely on the DI approach, comprising varied pedagogical activities (e.g., games, inquiry activities, puzzles, simulations, models) designed as treatments, to help chemistry teachers personalize their teaching according to students’ misconceptions. The kits are based on the response to intervention (RTI) model, where the teacher applies an ongoing evaluation to meet the individual student’s needs within an evolutionary flexible process of learning. Each kit includes a diagnostic task, its characterization, pedagogical treatments for diagnosed misconceptions, and an assessment task, to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatments implemented in the classroom. The kits are developed along relevant literature criteria for using DI strategies and are based on constant validation and ongoing assessment, as demonstrated in the Redox-reaction CPK development. The validation and impact of the CPK on students’ achievements are supported by 25 chemistry teachers that implemented the full kit in their classrooms. Furthermore, the CPKs developed in the present research have succeeded in resolving many of the difficulties and challenges mentioned in the literature as obstructing the implementation of DI.
Before March 2020, with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote instruction of science was only moderately developed compared with more traditional approaches for learning science. Since the outbreak, however, all formal education systems have been carried out in remote mode, and outreach activities that take place in a research or academic setting have usually been canceled, or there has been a search for innovative approaches to shift to digital space. Therefore, the development of learning and teaching strategies has currently focused on remote activities. In this study, a design-based approach was applied to transform an existing authentic science activity using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) from face-to-face to remote learning mode. The remote mode activity included the remote operation of the SEM by the participants. The goal was to formulate a general approach to transform authentic outreach activities from face-to-face to remote operation. To evaluate the design, we compared learners' perceived authenticity in the 2 modes and reflected on the process. Data were collected with a Likert-type questionnaire regarding participants' perceived authenticity. The results suggest that items of authenticity related to the experience of learning content have a positive potential for use in remote mode. The learners' experience of connecting with the scientists is an apparent disadvantage in remote mode. However, changes in communication technology or in the pedagogy of remote teaching is a promising direction for improving social experience.
Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, all teachers’ training courses scheduled for summer 2020 had to transition to online formats. For the arts-integrating course “Teaching Chemistry by a Creative Approach”, this shift jeopardized the course’s essence, since learning by this approach is based on creative, hands-on, and active learning. Here we describe how the course format and contents evolved from a planned face-to-face format to an adapted, successful online learning experience. Two main goals were considered during the adaptation process: (1) making available to teachers the theoretical and practical backgrounds necessary to internalize the arts-integrating approach through creative, active learning strategies, and (2) providing teachers with actual tools through which they can rethink and develop their own teaching materials to suit remote teaching by incorporating supporting neuropedagogical aspects. Evaluating the immediate and follow-up questionnaires, as well as the assessment of teachers’ course assignments, suggests that the online course successfully preserved the essence and the main objectives of the original course, that the course was useful for remote teaching, and that it seems to have had an impact on teachers’ practices. We attribute this impact to the well-thought-out process of adapting the course to promote creative, active online teaching and learning. In addition to modifying the course’s format, this process expanded the arts-integrating approach to acknowledge the inherent difficulties in learning chemistry, existing also while learning online. We propose this process as a model to be used by educators to rethink and adapt their own practices to improve distance chemistry teaching and learning.
Dr. Rachel Mamlok-Naaman, from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, is a distinguished researcher in chemistry education. This paper presents an interview that was conducted in light of her achievements and in recognition of her receiving the IUPAC 2021 award for Distinguished Women in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering.
Understandings of the nature of scientific inquiry (NOSI), as opposed to engaging students in inquiry learning experiences, are included in science education reform documents around the world. However, little is known about what students have learned about NOSI during their pre-college school years. The purpose of this large-scale follow-up international project (i.e. 32 countries and regions, spanning six continents and including 3917 students for the high school sample) was to collect data on what exiting high school students have learned about NOSI. Additionally, the study investigated changes in 12th grade students' NOSI understandings compared to seventh grade (i.e. 20 countries and regions) students' understandings from a prior investigation [Lederman et al. (2019). An international collaborative investigation of beginning seventh grade students' understandings of scientific inquiry: Establishing a baseline. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 56(4), 486-515. https://doi.org/10.1002/tea.21512]. This study documents and discusses graduating high school students' understandings and compares their understandings to seventh grade students' understandings of the same aspects of scientific inquiry for each country. It is important to note that collecting data from each of the 130+ countries globally was not feasible. Similarly, it was not possible to collect data from every region of each country. A concerted effort was made, however, to provide a relatively representative picture of each country and the world.
Using three-dimensional models in chemistry is a common teaching practice aimed at elevating the level of understanding of abstract concepts. However, the experience of using chemical models is still quite passive in terms of students’ input, requiring the students to utilize mainly visual, auditory, and some tactile information processing pathways. We present here a sequence of four short activities, which together constitute a change in the traditional teaching practice regarding molecular geometry. The goal is to offer a more active approach to working with models, one that involves multiple content processing pathways and exposes the learner to varied modes of learning. This set of activities was developed in line with the neuropedagogical literature while keeping in mind the brain mechanisms expected to affect learning and memory consolidation. We kept the activities simple so that implementation requires only minor adjustments to the routine practice, thus making this neuropedagogical approach accessible to chemistry teachers. A positive contribution of this kind of approach was evident from the scores of 10th grade chemistry students during consequent pilots.
Research based on educational data mining conducted at academic institutions is often limited by the institutional policy with regard to the type of learning management system and the detail level of its activity reports. Often, researchers deal with only raw data. Such data normally contain numerous fictitious user activities that can create a bias in the activity trends, consequently leading to inaccurate conclusions unless careful strategies for data cleaning, filtering, and indexing are applied. In addition, pre-processing phases are not always reported in detail in the scientific literature. As educational data mining and learning analytics methodologies become increasingly popular in educational research, it is important to promote researchers and educational policymakers' awareness of the pre-processing phase, which is essential to create a reliable database prior to any analysis. This phase can be divided into four consecutive pre-processing stages: data gathering, data interpretation, database creation, and data organization. Taken together, these stages stress the technical and cooperative nature of this type of research, and the need for careful interpretation of the studied parameters. To illustrate these aspects, we applied these stages to online educational data collected from several chemistry courses conducted at two academic institutions. Our results show that adequate pre-processing of the data can prevent major inaccuracies in the research findings, and significantly increase the authenticity and reliability of the conclusions.
The authors analyze chemistry teachers' discourse in a WhatsApp group. This online communication platform is used for continually studying the communication behavior of leading chemistry teachers who are members of a professional learning community (PLC). They describe the network of chemistry teachers' PLC in Israel, which provides the context for the study. WhatsApp enables sustained ongoing, intensive interaction, and sharing of knowledge that is practical, directly related to the members' needs, and is participant driven and constructivist in nature. A theoretical perspective of teachers' knowledge and professional development (PD) was developed in 2015 by Gess-Newsome, which was applied to examine the mechanism underlying teachers' knowledge development.
If we adults compare our children’s science curriculum to what we studied three decades ago, we will usually find that the difference is small, even nonexistent. Yet, scientific knowledge is constantly accumulating and new fields are reshaping scientific research. The educational system and learning programs react slowly to these changes. One might ask why we should change a science curriculum that covers the chosen basic concepts of science well. To answer this question, we must first examine the contribution of introducing modern science into the school. Once this approach proves valuable, we should design a methodology to invigorate the school science curriculum with new scientific developments. Contemporary research encompasses numerous fields and has developed in many different directions. My research group has chosen to focus on one case of contemporary scientific research – nanotechnology, also known as nanoscale science and technology (NST) (Jones et al., 2013). In this chapter, I describe my 15-year research journey, with my students and colleagues, to develop methods and tools that will enable introducing NST into school science.
This chapter presents different nanoscale science and technology (NST) programs that were developed for high school students. The motivation to teach NST for school students is a question that often arises in academic science education circles. The programs that were included were ranked according to their main nanoscience concepts. Students should be taught about the properties of materials and should be allowed to identify and characterize them. They tend to think that if a property changes it means that one material was replaced by another. The nanoscale challenges this understanding by exposing people to properties that are size dependent as well. The concept of size-dependent properties includes four sub-concepts. The effect of the concept size-dependent properties led to the creation of new properties of known elements and materials. Educational researchers in Mexico showed that this concept can be approached successfully with a simple experiment and a very relevant topic.
This chapter addresses the challenges that educators at the precollege, undergraduate, graduate, and informal education levels face as they design and implement nanotechnology education programs. Educators have begun to identify those cross-cutting themes and big ideas that are associated with teaching about nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is typically defined as science and technology that takes place at the nanoscale in at least in one dimension – thus including films, wires, and particles. The survey respondents who taught at the primary-/ elementary-school level indicated that in most cases nanotechnology is not part of the school curriculum. Nanoscale science and technology is most often taught at the graduate levels and is often associated with ongoing research in these areas. Survey respondents noted that the interdisciplinary nature of nanotechnology is a challenge. Teachers’ extrinsic barriers to utilizing nanoscience laboratories relate to money and time.
In this Communication paper we describe how a research-based approach was applied in Israel to support high-school chemistry teachers, who continued to teach using technology during the COVID-19 pandemic. Within the TPACK (technological pedagogical content knowledge) framework for teachers’ knowledge in technological environments, we developed a questionnaire for chemistry teachers, with the goal to reveal the difficulties they encountered, their needs, and their means for sharing their knowledge, materials, and teaching strategies for online teaching. On the basis of the analysis of the collected data, we provided a research-based response that focused on the teachers’ needs when using technology to teach chemistry. Teachers’ needs, in terms of their knowledge, skills, and means of support, which were identified in the research and the activities that were developed in order to address them, are presented. We emphasized the research-based process that was applied to address teachers’ needs during the pandemic.
The Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel provides several programs, both for school students and teachers, to obtain insights and learn about modern research and analytical techniques. This chapter will provide an overview of three different programs and explore the approaches and their influence on the participating students (or teachers). The different programs differ in their goals and target population: religious students with no chemistry background, chemistry teachers and gifted students. The programs length varied from a two-day experience, two weeks in a research lab, or a year and eight months in a research lab for gifted students. We provide research results that helped us realize the different contributions of each program to the participants. Including three different programs in the same chapter provides the reader with different approaches of introducing students and teachers to active research chemistry laboratories that eventually support the outreach efforts of the research institute along with their educational contribution.
Recent technological advances have allowed for the use of computerized and online systems to achieve personalized student-centered learning and teaching in the classroom. One such prominent example is the PeTeL system (Personalized Teaching and Learning), developed by the Science Teaching Department of the Weizmann Institute of Science. In the present article, we describe the initial stages of the system's first implementation in chemistry classes, and show how it facilitates the hybridization of learning by combining online materials and offline activities. The research focuses on different hybridization models applied by chemistry teachers in their teaching, which demonstrate the efficacy of the PeTeL system in hybrid learning. Four case studies of a teaching unit dealing with melting points are discussed, and the considerations of two chemistry teachers using the system who adjust their teaching sequence to the personalized needs of their students in four different classes are presented. The results underscore the importance of providing teachers with the capacity and tools to personalize their teaching paths in a way that better supports hybrid teaching matching their pedagogical considerations. A new approach to the construct of hybrid teaching is proposed, considering it as a set of axes instead of one continuum.
The goal of this research is to provide a rich set of connections between two fields: (i) Nanoscale science and technology (NST) and (ii) topics from a common middle school physics curriculum. NST is emerging as one of the most promising new fields of the 21st century, which is one of the many arguments for including NST topics in secondary science education. A specially designed guided discourse with NST scientists was used to produce a map of connections between the two fields. During the discourse, the scientists were presented with two sets of concepts using a visual board and were asked to find connections between them. All suggested connections and the corresponding context offered by the scientists were arranged and presented as a rich set of connections. For example, (i) the NST concept of characterization methods is connected to mechanical forces and can be explained using the example of an atomic force microscope; (ii) the NST concept of size-dependent properties was connected to 7th grade inquiry skills by explaining the size dependence of accuracy, errors, and defects. This set of connections was validated by an experienced middle school science teacher in an open discussion regarding teachers adopting and implementing the resulting insertion points for the curriculum. This resulting set of connections can be used to enrich the curriculum within the NST field. It also provides a perspective on scientists' views regarding insertion of contemporary NST topics into physics middle school education.
A one-hour guided discourse was designed to support developing the outreach communication skills of physics experts with middle school students. The participants consisted of 12 physics researchers who conduct research in the field of nanoscale science and technology (NST). The guided discourse consisted of a professional development task for preparing the researchers to communicate their NST research. Each scientist was presented with two sets of concepts (NST essential concepts and middle school physics concepts) using a visual board and was asked to find connections between them. Before and after linking the two sets of concepts, the scientists were invited to describe their research. The findings showed that a change had taken place in the concepts the scientists used to describe their research: an increased use of concepts from middle school physics and a decreased use of complex scientific jargon. A qualitative examination of the results revealed different types of participants, based on the way the scientists were influenced by the task. Each of the three types of science communicators is presented as a case study. We suggest that this task can be applied to prepare scientists to communicate with middle school students.
A professional learning community (PLC) is one of the most promising means for promoting teachers’ professional development. For building a mature and strong community of educators, where members are more engaged, share practices, collaborate in their teaching, and make their teaching public, it is crucial to develop a real sense of community (SoC). A major factor in establishing a SoC is the integration of an online platform, which creates a new type of social space where members can learn and socialize across boundaries of time and place. WhatsApp is a widely used smartphone application that enables and enhances group communication as it knits together the community. In this study we examined the leading chemistry teachers’ PLC, which meets every other week. Between the meetings, the members use a WhatsApp group that provides an online communication platform. WhatsApp group discourse was analyzed throughout two academic years. It was found that the discourse can support the creation of four elements that are needed for creating a SoC. Supporting mechanisms underlying SoC development were identified, and accordingly, methods to be employed by the group leaders to strengthen the SoC were recommended.
This year (2019) represents the 150th year since the discovery of the periodic table of the elements (PTOE). In honor of this important event, we designed a PTOE chemical escape room (called ChEsRm) that is suitable for middle and high school chemistry students. The main idea behind this ChEsRm is that it is relatively easy and inexpensive for teachers to build in order to introduce the activity into as many chemistry classrooms as possible. The puzzles of ChEsRm include interesting facts regarding the elements, their every day use, and their properties, as well as the subatomic particles. Some involve actual experiments and other nonlaboratory activities. Participants are asked to solve a mystery: finding the cause of a mysterious death. Although most escape rooms use locks and keys, in this case the mechanism used to reveal the solution is different and more flexible. Here we provide a detailed description of all the puzzles and explain how to operate the escape room in a school lab.
The call for integrating systems thinking (ST) with chemistry education focuses on the growing role chemistry will play in meeting global challenges, such as those presented by the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. In this essay, we address two questions: How might ST help chemistry education address these global challenges? How might we prepare teachers to teach ST in their classrooms? To address these questions, we define these global challenges in terms of coupled human-natural systems, and we suggest a new way to integrate "the human element" into ST in chemistry education; namely, via the responsible research and innovation framework. We then demonstrate how this framework could be used productively to guide the professional development of chemistry teachers.
Two different approaches for chemistry education are presented in this paper: teaching and learning chemistry through contemporary research and using a historical approach. Essential dimensions in science education are used to study the differences between the two approaches. This includes the rationale of each approach, the scientific content, as well as students’ and teachers’ perspectives. At first glance, the two approaches look different and even contradict each other. However, a deeper investigation shows that there are common themes that connect the two approaches. Chemistry education is used to represent the historical approach and Nanoscale Science and Teachnology (NST) in chemistry education is used as the context for learning science through a contemporary research approach. The paper can be used by chemistry teachers as a preliminary guide for consideration of adapting one of these approaches in their class.
The chemical sciences integrate numerous pieces of structural data into families of compounds, and countless experimental results of reactive processes into ground rules. Collecting these pieces of information, analyzing them, and making the relevant contextual connections between them is in the heart of chemistry education. Here we emphasize the contribution of technology, and more specifically, chemical databases for enhancing these learning processes. Several important, open access, databases are described in detail and examples of using them in chemistry class are provided. In an era of continuous information revolution we hope that chemistry instructors will take the next step up, and acquire the professional skills needed to integrate the use of technology and chemistry databases in their classes.
The Maker movement has started to influence the field of science education. However, a tension exists between the movement's informal grassroots learning emphasis on open-ended personalized projects and the requirements of the formal and standardized science education curriculum. This study explores how high school chemistry teachers in Israel experienced a 32-h professional development (PD) course on "Chemistry Teachers as Makers" as a vehicle to suggest specific recommendations that might productively introduce the Maker approach into high school chemistry education. By analyzing the course syllabus, in-depth interviews of four participating teachers, teacher projects, and reflections of the two course instructors, the study explores how the teachers experienced the PD Maker course, i.e., what interested them, how they compared themselves to Makers, how they navigated their open-ended projects, and what they perceived as the pros and cons for introducing Makers into chemistry education. The findings present five overarching themes that emerged from the data analysis, which provide the background to the study's four interconnected recommendations. The study contributes to the research literature on bridging the gap between the informal learning emphasis of the Maker movement with the formal educational emphasis of high school science, with a focus on the professional development of teachers.
Imagine being locked in a chemical lab with 4 "bombs" that will detonate within 60 min unless you neutralize them. You now must use your brain, chemical knowledge, intuition, and need a bit of luck to neutralize the bombs and escape unharmed... This is the concept behind "chemical escape", an activity for high-school students, which brings the extremely popular genre of "escape rooms" into the chemistry classroom; it engages students in learning, increases motivation, and bridges the gap between classroom chemistry and the real world, as well as allows for teamwork and peer learning. A mobile escape room was designed and built in Israel; it consisted of lab-based activities and was suitable for high schools. To date, the activity has been introduced to more than 350 chemistry teachers who then implemented it to over 1500 students. An evaluation questionnaire was developed on the basis of students' statements of their experience of the escape room (bottom-up); the results indicate that the students were highly engaged and motivated during the activity, and there was an appreciation for teachers' efforts to run the escape room, an increased feeling of efficacy, and effective teamwork. In this paper we provide a detailed description of all the puzzles and an explanation of how to operate it in a school lab.
Despite the advancements in the production and accessibility of videos and animations, a gap exists between their potential for science teaching and their actual use in the classroom. The aim of this study was to develop and evaluate an approach to boost chemistry and biology teachers’ Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) and their confidence regarding the use of videos and animations in class, which are required for their effective implementation. Twelve experienced high-school chemistry and biology teachers participated in a professional development workshop including biochemistry and technological–pedagogical lectures along with video-editing instruction and practice. Teachers were provided with digital videos including high-resolution scientifically based animations and were encouraged to edit them based on their pedagogical experience and the needs of their class. We investigated how the workshop affected teachers' TPACK-confidence and TPACK. TPACK-confidence was assessed by pre- and post-workshop questionnaires and open-ended feedback questionnaires. TPACK was assessed by analyses of the edited digital videos and pedagogical considerations submitted by the teachers. It was found that teachers' TPACK-confidence was significantly higher following the workshop. There was also a development in the teachers' TPACK. They were able to recommend to use digital videos in a variety of classroom situations based on the technological pedagogical knowledge (e.g., as an opening to a new topic) and their TPACK (e.g., to visualize complex biochemical processes). We also found a development in their video-editing skills and their knowledge of how to use this technology effectively in biochemistry lessons. Results indicate that training teachers in using technological tools while providing them with relevant Content Knowledge and TPACK, and relying on their pre-existing Pedagogical Content Knowledge may assist them develop their TPACK and TPACK-confidence. This may promote the effective use of videos and animations in biochemistry teaching.
Chemistry teaching is undergoing a revolution! Aiming at helping chemistry lecturers to achieve more effective and engaging teaching, this special issue exposes the reader to modern pedagogies, cutting edge research in chemistry education, and novel ideas developed by leading chemistry education professionals. The cover picture was designed by Ziv Ariely, The Department of Science Teaching, Weizmann Institute of Science. Parts of the picture are taken from Shutterstock with permission.
Improving teaching and student learning in chemistry classrooms is an important goal that is constantly researched. Several comparative studies of science teaching have been carried out on different parameters, e. g. misconceptions which science teachers and students may have regarding the scientific concepts they learn and teach. Here we describe science teaching in general, and chemistry teaching in particular, in 12 countries including Israel. Different parameters are compared, including the hours that are devoted to science, the subjects included, the pedagogy, and teachers ' salaries. The survey covers all school levels: elementary school, secondary school and high school. At the high-school level, the comparison focused on chemistry studies. In this study the variances variables, such as the hours that are allocated for science teaching, did not show an appreciable effect on students ' achievements. It was also found that, in countries where chemistry studies at the high-school level are not mandatory, innovative pedagogies are more likely to replace the traditional chemistry teaching methods where chemistry is taught according to the structure of the subject based on basic concepts that underlie the curriculum. The study provided an additional support to the importance of the professional development of science and chemistry teachers and suggest that the autonomy that is given to them could influence the quality of science teaching and students ' achievements.
The authors analyze chemistry teachers' discourse in a WhatsApp group. This online communication platform is used for continually studying the communication behavior of leading chemistry teachers who are members of a professional learning community (PLC). They describe the network of chemistry teachers' PLC in Israel, which provides the context for the study. WhatsApp enables sustained ongoing, intensive interaction, and sharing of knowledge that is practical, directly related to the members' needs, and is participant driven and constructivist in nature. A theoretical perspective of teachers' knowledge and professional development (PD) was developed in 2015 by Gess-Newsome, which was applied to examine the mechanism underlying teachers' knowledge development.
Although understandings of scientific inquiry (as opposed to conducting inquiry) are included in science education reform documents around the world, little is known about what students have learned about inquiry during their elementary school years. This is partially due to the lack of any assessment instrument to measure understandings about scientific inquiry. However, a valid and reliable assessment has recently been developed and published, Views About Scientific Inquiry (VASI; Lederman et al. , Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 51, 65-83). The purpose of this large-scale international project was to collect the first baseline data on what beginning middle school students have learned about scientific inquiry during their elementary school years. Eighteen countries/regions spanning six continents including 2,634 students participated in the study. The participating countries/regions were: Australia, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, England, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Mainland China, New Zealand, Nigeria, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey, and the United States. In many countries, science is not formally taught until middle school, which is the rationale for choosing seventh grade students for this investigation. This baseline data will simultaneously provide information on what, if anything, students learn about inquiry in elementary school, as well as their beginning knowledge as they enter secondary school. It is important to note that collecting data from all of the approximately 200 countries globally was not humanly possible, and it was also not possible to collect data from every region of each country. The results overwhelmingly show that students around the world at the beginning of grade seven have very little understandings about scientific inquiry. Some countries do show reasonable understandings in certain aspects but the overall picture of understandings of scientific inquiry is not what is hoped for after completing 6 years of elementary education in any country.
If we wish to integrate modern science such as nanotechnology into the school science curriculum, we need to find the natural insertion point of modern science with the science, technology, engineering and math curriculum. However, integrating nanoscale science and technology (NST) essential concepts into the middle school science curriculum is challenging. The current study was designed to identify the insertion points of the eight NST essential concepts in the middle school science and technology curriculum. Middle school science and technology teachers underwent a course that included all eight NST essential concepts, aiming to help them understand the NST essential concepts in depth. Then, they were asked to identify a natural insertion point in the existing science and technology curriculum for each of the NST essential concepts. To support research validation, two different groups of teachers participated in two sequential stages of the study (the identification stage and the validation stage). The teachers in the identification stage identified the insertion points of all eight NST essential concepts in the subjects of the science and technology curriculum, which reflects the relevance of the NST concepts from the teachers' perspective in terms of pedagogical level. The majority of the identified insertion points were validated in the second stage. Forty-two insertion points of the NST essential concepts were suggested to be integrated in middle school science and technology curriculum. All the insertion points that were suggested in the identification stage were confirmed in the validation stage. Another 11 new insertion points were added at the validation stage. The connections to the different scientific subjects in the curriculum are as follows: 19 insertion points were suggested by the teachers in the chemistry part of the chemistry curriculum, 12 in the life science, four in the physics-energy, and seven in technology-systems and products. The results present the opportunity to expose middle school students to contemporary science using the existing science and technology curriculum. The study serves as an example of integrating NST concepts into a middle school science curriculum in Israel, but it can be applied in other science curricula worldwide, taking into consideration the topics included in each curriculum.
The European Union (EU) encourages science education to be oriented towards the concept of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), i.e. socially and ethically sensitive and inclusive processes of science and technology. Connecting RRI to prevailing concepts in science education, such as the Nature of Science (NoS), may facilitate the incorporation of RRI in curricula and classrooms. We carried out a conceptual comparison between the EU's RRI policy and a recent reconceptualization of NoS, known as the expanded Family Resemblance Approach. We discuss how the socio-institutional nature of science in that approach closely connects to the RRI and can provide a means for RRI teaching. To illustrate these opportunities, we present practical classroom approaches developed in the EU-funded project IRRESISTIBLE, and survey results on teachers' perspectives on RRI. The aim of this work is to understand better the potential implications of RRI to research and practice in science education.
Regular high-school chemistry teachers view gifted students as one of several types of students in a regular (mixed-ability) classroom. Gifted students have a range of unique abilities that characterize their learning process: mostly they differ in three key learning aspects: their faster learning pace, increased depth of understanding, and special interests. If gifted students are to develop their abilities and potential, and learn optimally in a regular classroom, the teaching must be adjusted to meet their special needs. Chemistry high-school curricula have built-in potential to cater to the special needs of gifted students. Chemistry learning entails laboratory work and comprehension of abstract concepts. In the classroom, the interactions between teachers and students are core events that trigger other class events. In the present study the interactions between teachers and gifted students in a regular classroom, which are specific for chemistry teaching, were studied. Two general categories of interactions with gifted students were found to be unique to the chemistry classroom: (1) interactions involving laboratory work and (2) interactions involving the challenge of teaching chemistry content. We found that since gifted students master abstract chemistry concepts quickly and with minimum scaffolding, no interactions regarding this aspect were reported. Gifted students do not need all the instruction time teachers usually devote to explaining abstract concepts in chemistry, concepts that are considered difficult for other students. The present study indicates the essential need of enhancing chemistry teachers' knowledge regarding teaching gifted students in the chemistry classroom. This includes knowledge about how gifted students learn in general, and its adaptation to the chemistry classroom and the chemistry laboratory according to academic and curricular needs of the gifted students.
The chapter describes a reform in the Israeli education system that has significantly influenced chemistry teaching and learning. In this reform 30% of the final high-school chemistry grade was replaced by alternative assessment methods. These new standards of the nation-wide evaluation left the teachers with a great challenge, since they have neither knowledge about alternative assessment nor the experience to use it. In order to meet the chemistry teachers' needs, a professional development (PD) course was developed, emphasizing the use of student-curated exhibitions as an example of the alternative assessment method. This chapter describes the professional development course and includes a description of its different components. A research study that was conducted captured the teachers' perspectives regarding the use of student-curated exhibitions for alternative assessment. Teachers' challenges are described as well as the way they realize the advantages of using this approach and its adaptation to their school culture after they had an opportunity to self-curate an exhibition in the course. We found that the need to replace the evaluation methods encourages the chemistry teachers to deepen their knowledge of evaluation and assessment, and to understand the limitations and advantages of traditional evaluation and alternative assessment. Teachers also realized the strong reciprocal connection between the three components: teaching, learning, and evaluation.
Facebook is the most commonly used Social Network Site (SNS) in the world. In this paper we explore students' attitudes towards the use of SNSs as a platform for learning chemistry and provide recommendations based on students' preferences regarding what should be done in the Facebook groups and what the teachers should not do (Thou shall nots) in an educational Facebook group with their students. We evaluated the extent to which students use SNSs in general and their attitudes toward the presence of a medium for learning chemistry in their SNS in particular. We found that the active Facebook groups for learning chemistry are perceived overall as a contributing experience for students' learning, and there was a positive correlation between the chemistry learning activity in the groups and the attitudes of students toward using Facebook groups for learning chemistry. Both parameters have gradually increased over the two-year study period.
The purpose of this article is to trace the development, validation and use of a questionnaire for evaluating teacher and student attitudes regarding Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). RRI is a framework, developed by the European Union, which provides general standards to guide the development of trust and confidence of the public regarding advances in science and technology, and the development of their participation in these advances. The article traces the development of the RRI framework and focuses on its educational component, whose goal is to sensitize teachers and students into "RRI-based thinking" about past and current scenarios regarding the development of science and technology advances. The use of the RRI questionnaire is demonstrated through the presentation of teacher and student data taken before and after the implementation of RRI-based modules, developed in the EU-funded Irresistible Project. Based on this work, we suggest that the RRI questionnaire can be used to assess the development of attitudes regarding RRI across diverse populations of teachers, students, scientists, consumers and other members of the general public.
The high-school chemistry curriculum is loaded with many important chemical concepts that are taught at the high-school level and it is therefore very difficult to add modern contents to the existing curriculum. However, many studies have underscored the importance of integrating modern chemistry contents such as nanotechnology into a high-school curriculum. When students are exposed to nanotechnology, they perceive chemistry as more relevant to their life, more modern than the chemistry they usually study at school, and consequently, their continuous motivation to study chemistry and related subjects increases. In the current study we identified topics in the high-school chemistry curriculum in Israel into which the essential nano-scale science and technology (NST) concepts can be integrated. Insertion points for all 8 NST essential concepts were found. We discuss the importance of ways by which chemistry educators can implement the results for updating the chemistry curriculum, thus making it more modern and relevant to the actual chemistry research that is conducted.
The goal of this research was to examine how Israeli chemistry teachers at high school level use Facebook groups to facilitate learning. Two perspectives were used: Teachers' TPACK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) and the self-efficacy beliefs of chemistry teachers for using CLFG (chemistry learning Facebook groups). Three different case studies were chosen and qualitative and quantitative research tools were used to learn about the teachers' self-efficacy beliefs and knowledge. More specifically, a validated questionnaire for measuring teachers' self-efficacy beliefs for using Facebook and for integrating Facebook into teaching was developed. We show that the initial beliefs (not based on a real acquaintance of Facebook) were replaced by more realistic efficacy-beliefs after the teachers started to work with the CLFG and that the technological support provided to each teacher, together with their mastery experience, supported the development of strong self-efficacy beliefs regarding the use of CLFG. Teachers' TPACK was investigated by analyzing their interviews and the interactions in their CLFG. We found that the notion regarding what constitutes learning in the CLFG had not changed during the experiment but rather, the teachers knew better how they can facilitate this leaning. In addition they better integrated links to videos and visualizations that supported understanding abstract chemistry concepts. Interestingly, the intervention that was conducted did not influence teachers' perceptions of learning; however, it was found to serve as an additional tool for supporting their self-efficacy beliefs by providing vicarious experience for the teachers. We therefore recommend performing a longer intervention in the future.
Responsible Research and Innovation has become a core concept in many of the Horizon 2020 programs. In this article the concept of RRI is discussed in context of secondary education, and the interpretation used within the project "Irresistible" is introduced. In the article several ways in which RRI can be incorporated in science classrooms are discussed, connected to the teaching of contemporary research taking place in universities as well as recent innovations coming from industry. The presented modules are designed in groups in which teachers work together with researchers, science educators and science center experts. As one of the educational approaches used in the modules, students created exhibits in which both the scientific content as well as the RRI concepts related to the content are demonstrated for the general public. These exhibits have been very successful as a learning tool.
Chemistry is related to almost every material, question, and topic. Chemical reactions take place in every living organism, in the environment, and in the industrial production of all the different products we use. Still it has a negative connotation for many laypersons. Educational links between contexts and the multi-perspective facets of chemistry aim to develop a better foundation for citizenship and responsible research and innovation (RRI). This chapter will give reasons for and explore such approaches of context-based learning in chemistry.
Recent efforts in the science education community have highlighted the need to integrate research and theory from science communication research into more general science education scholarship. These synthesized research perspectives are relatively novel but serve an important need to better understand the impacts that the advent of rapidly emerging technologies will have on a new generation of scientists and engineers including their formal communication with engaged citizenry. This cross-national study examined postsecondary science and engineering students' (n = 254 from five countries: Austria, Finland, France, Israel, and USA) perspectives on the role of science communication in their own formal science and engineering education. More broadly, we examined participants' understanding of their perceived responsibilities of communicating science and engineering to the general public when an issue contains complex social and ethical implications (SEI). The study is contextualized in the emergent technology of nanotechnology for which SEI are of particular concern and for which the general public often perceives conflicting risks and benefits. Findings indicate that student participants' hold similar views on the need for their own training in communication as future scientists and engineers. When asked about the role that ethics and risk perception plays in research, development, and public communication of nanotechnology, participants demonstrate similar trajectories of perspectives that are, however, often anchored in very different levels of beginning concern. Results are discussed in the context of considerations for science communication training within formal science education curricula globally.
Responsible research and innovation (RRI) stands at the center of several EU projects and represents a contemporary view of the connection between science and society. The goal of RRI is to create a shared understanding of the appropriate behaviors of governments, business and NGOs which are central to building trust and confidence of the public and other stakeholders in research and innovation. In this paper we describe a 4.5 hour lesson, "The Story of Lead,'' which was developed for teaching RRI to high school chemistry students, based on the historical story of lead. The lesson is part of a larger module. The lesson connects the chemistry curriculum, related to the scientific aspects of lead, to the 6 RRI dimensions. We describe the progression of the lesson, provide relevant links and teaching materials, and present responses of teachers, after they tried out the lesson. The RRI dimensions are compared to prior work done in the field of Socioscientific Issues (SSI). Based on this evidence, we suggest that the lesson can be a good introduction to the topic of RRI in chemistry classrooms.
The internet has influenced all aspects of modern society, yet likely none more than education-opening new possibilities for how, where, and when we learn. Nanoscience and nanotechnology have developed over a similar time frame as the rapid growth of the internet and thus the use of the internet for nanoscience education serves as an interesting paradigm for internet-enabled education in general. In this chapter we give an overview of use of internet in nanoeducation, first in terms of available resources, then by describing the technological, philosophical, and pedagogical approaches. In order to illustrate the concepts, we describe as example a for-credit nanoscience curriculum which the authors developed recently as part of an international team.
One of the challenges, nanoscience and technology (NST) encounters is education. Dealing with this challenge resulted in many educational programs, curricula, and modules in the area of NST. However, in order to establish an adequate basis for developing the educational aspect of NST there is a need to determine the NST concepts that should be taught. To address this issue, it is required to map the essential concepts constructing NST and to design suitable educational programs upon these concepts. In this chapter we review studies that were conducted to address this need.
This study focused on teachers' transfer of a variety of teaching methods from a teaching module on nanotechnology, which is an example of a topic outside the science curriculum, to teaching topics that are part of the chemistry curriculum. Nanotechnology is outside the science curriculum, but it was used in this study as a means to carry out a change in the way chemistry teachers teach. The participants in the study included nine high school in-service chemistry teachers. Three research tools were used: (1) semistructured interviews that were conducted with the teachers, after they had finished teaching their nanotechnology module, and follow-up semistructured interviews that were conducted 2 years after the teachers had taught the nanotechnology module , and teachers' assessment and evaluation of their own teaching method, determining how the nanotechnology modules influenced the students who learned according to this program. The data collection process continued for 5 years. Most of the teachers indicated that they continued teaching the nanotechnology module that they designed and all of them stated that they integrated the unique teaching methods into their teaching of chemistry. High efficacy beliefs were built based on the self-evaluation process that was part of the teachers' professional development program. Teaching self-efficacy beliefs and organization efficacy beliefs was found to contribute to teachers' sustainable changes. The findings in the current research are only limited to the topic of nanotechnology; however, we believe that similar results can be obtained for any modern scientific topic that is outside the high school science curriculum. We suggest that more research should be done to determine whether the same findings emerge by using the same approach but on another topic.
The goals of this study are to map applications of nanotechnology that are recommended to be taught in high-school science and to identify the 'need-to-know' essential nanoscale science and technology (NST) concepts for each of the selected nanotechnology applications. A Delphi study using a community of experts was used to address these goals. Five nanotechnology applications that should be taught in high-school science were found to be important and reached a consensus by the Delphi-study experts: (1) nanomedicine, (2) nanoelectronics, (3) photovoltaic cells, (4) nanobots, and (5) self-cleaning. It was found that teaching these five nanotechnology applications should be based on all seven NST concepts, and therefore, these applications can be used as an appealing context for teaching the essential NST concepts. The different recommendations between the two communities of experts emphasize the importance of involving teachers and scientists in the process of designing a scientific curriculum. Identifying the applications of nanotechnology that should be taught in high-school science and identifying the connections between the applications and the essential NST concepts constitute an important step that supports designing a context-based nanotechnology program before it is integrated into a high-school science curriculum.
We examined how social network (SN) groups contribute to the learning of chemistry. The main goal was to determine whether chemistry learning could occur in the group discourse. The emphasis was on groups of students in the 11th and 12th grades who learn chemistry in preparation for their final external examination. A total of 1118 discourse events were tallied in the different groups. We analyzed the different events that were found in chemistry learning Facebook groups (CLFGs). The analysis revealed that seven types of interactions were observed in the CLFGs: The most common interaction (47 %) dealt with organizing learning (e.g., announcements regarding homework, the location of the next class); learning interactions were observed in 22 % of the posts, and links to learning materials and social interactions constituted about 20 % each. The learning events that were ascertained underwent a deeper examination and three different types of chemistry learning interactions were identified. This examination was based on the theoretical framework of the commognitive approach to learning (Sfard in Thinking as communicating. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2008), which will be explained. The identified learning interactions that were observed in the Facebook groups illustrate the potential of SNs to serve as an additional tool for teachers to advance their students' learning of chemistry.
Intellectually gifted students think and learn differently from other students in the classroom. It is important to teach them appropriately because excellence does not emerge without appropriate help. However, the interactions between gifted students and their teachers in a regular classroom have not been extensively studied. The current study focuses on this important factor, which could either promote or hinder the development of gifted students.
The current study aims at better understanding the factors that promote and hinder chemistry teachers in teaching a gifted student in their regular chemistry class. In addition, it provides evidence of ways that teachers perceive a professional development course dealing with a gifted student in a mixed-abilities science classroom. Eighty-four photonarratives were collected from 14 chemistry teachers that participated in the course about teaching a gifted student in a regular classroom(41 promoting, 43 hindering factors). Factors that concern chemistry education specifically as well as general practices were raised by the teachers. The teachers were asked to "take a picture" (namely, of an external object or person); they considered most of the factors to be internal factors that are dependent on themselves and therefore concluded that they have the power to influence them. The internal factors can be addressed in the PD course; however the external factors should be managed by the school principal and district educational administration.
The present research is part of a longitude research study regarding the questioning behavior of students in the inquiry chemistry laboratory in Israel. We found that students who were involved in learning chemistry by the inquiry method ask more and higher-level questions. However, throughout the years, we have observed that differences between the two groups of students, control and the inquiry, have been reduced. The results of our study indicated that the gap between the Jewish and Arab students regarding their questioning ability is minor and inconsistent. If we assume that the source of this difference lies in the culture and different standards for teachers' qualifications in the two sectors, our current results suggested that the differences between chemistry teachers in the two sectors are now diminished. Teachers from both sectors utilized the inquiry program as part of their teaching repertoire, and the students in the two sectors learned the inquiry skill of asking questions.
Nanoscale science and technology (NST) is an important new field in modern science. In the current study, we seek to answer the question: What are the essential concepts of NST that should be taught in high school'? A 3-round Delphi study methodology was applied based on 2 communities of experts in nanotechnology research and science education. Eight essential concepts in NST were identified. Each concept is accompanied by its explanation, definition, importance and includes subcategories that compose it. Three concepts emerged in the Delphi study, which were not identified before: functionality, classification of nanomaterials, and the making of nanotechnology. Differences between the concepts suggested by the 2 communities of experts were found. The results of this study serve as a tool to examine different nanotechnology programs that were reported thus far and to make recommendations for designing a NST program for high school students that includes the essential concepts.
Understanding nanoscience and how nanotechnology works has proven challenging for high school students, especially if it is not one of the core concepts specified in the national science curriculum. Out-of-school activities can be adopted as a method for teaching the fundamentals ofnanotechnology. This paper presents two cases: one from Germany and one from Turkey, where high school students attended one-day out-of school activities on understanding the working principles of Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), including the related concepts of size and scale, and intermolecularinteractions. In the German case, a teaching experiment group work activity included an educational AFM and introduced the students to this technique by using different kinds of media such as teaching models. The out-of-school activity in Turkey was designed to include guided-inquiry activitieswhere students were asked to predict individually, work in groups, conclude individually, and discuss and conclude in groups. The results of the analysis showed that students easily understood the working principle of AFM, gained a deeper understanding of the concepts of size and scale, butalso had difficulties in matching the right scale dimensions of objects, especially on the sub-micro level.
Nanotechnology has been recognized in the 21st century as a new and modern science field. It is therefore necessary to update school science by integrating nanotechnology-related concepts into curricula for students in order to prepare an educated workforce and a responsible generation that will make scientifically literate decisions. The current study examines a unique way to address the teaching of the concept "the making of nanotechnology," one of eight essential concepts of nanotechnology that should be taught in high school and at the undergraduate level, which were identified by a recent study. The concepts' definition and explanation are presented. The main goal of the study is to learn how students' participation in a one-day nanotechnology conference "NanoIsrael 2014" 1 influences their perceptions regarding the concept "the making of nanotechnology". We compared students who had previous knowledge of nanotechnology and those who lacked it. The results of the study showed that the students' participation in the conference influenced their emotional perspectives, their knowledge concerning nanotechnology, as well as their curiosity and interest in science. The conference also influenced the students' motivation and future plans. Differences between the two groups were found mainly regarding their understanding of the basic concepts of nanotechnology.
The 21st century presents many challenges for chemistry educators. Chemistry as an evolving entity is not reflected in the existing high school chemistry curriculum and the Web 2.0 generation is still learning in the previous century. My goal is to promote the modernization of both – chemistry contents and chemistry teaching pedagogies by promoting the chemistry teachers community.
Whether one examines teachers' effectiveness from the perspective of a legislator, parent, principal, or student, the main goal is to prepare teachers who have a strong knowledge base related to science, knowledge of effective teaching strategies, the ability to teach, and a desire to make a difference in the lives of their students. The underlying construct that influences each of these factors is teachers' self-efficacy.
The 21st century presents many challenges for chemistry educators. Chemistry as an evolving entity is not reflected in the existing high-school chemistry curriculum. The goal of the current study is to examine teachers’ perceptions regarding introducing advanced topics in chemistry for high-school students by using a poster exhibition of contemporary organic chemistry. Four different groups of chemistry teachers participated in the study. The groups differ in their Content Knowledge (CK), and their experience in using the poster exhibition. The poster exhibition served as an effective means of support for teachers when high-school students were introduced to contemporary chemistry topics. CK was found to be an important component that positively influences teachers’ self-efficacy for using the poster exhibition in their class. However, the teachers’ CK was insufficient; the feelings of ownership and mastery experience are also important influential components that should be considered.
This paper describes the rationale and the implementation of five laboratory experiments; four of them, intended for high-school students, are inquiry-based activities that explore the quality of water. The context of water provides students with an opportunity to study the importance of analytical methods and how they influence our everyday lives. It also provides an opportunity to expose students to scientific methods (e.g., inquiry) and behavioral responsibility that could influence their future lives as citizens. The inquiry-based activities consist of two parts. In the preliminary experiment, an analytical technique was introduced and the students learned analytical skills. On the basis of these, preliminary experiments, the students designed inquiry-based laboratory experiments involving relevant questions and decision making. Students explored parameters concerning water quality from different sources and had an opportunity to evaluate the data critically and to answer questions such as the following: Should we drink bottled water or tap water? How is the water quality monitored? What does water contain? The experiments involve qualitative and quantitative analyses of water salinity, water hardness, and the presence of organic compounds (volumetric versus spectrophotometric analysis of chloride in water), as well as determining water hardness by EDTA complexometric titration and water filtration.
In this chapter, we present four different professional development programmes for in- and pre-service teachers and the accompanying research in the area of nanoscience and technology. First, we will present a review of the literature to lay out the field of conditions and approaches introducing nanoscience and nanotechnology into programmes for in- and pre-service teachers. This introduction will be followed by the four projects. The first study explores the goals and preconditions of introducing nanoscience into pre-service teacher education programmes; the second reports experiences from a programme for pre-service teachers. The third programme offers teachers authentic insights into research facilities. The fourth project reports about the design of an in-service teacher training programme focusing specifically on the use of models to teach and learn important nano techniques, such as atomic force microscopy. Those exemplary projects have been accompanied by different qualitative and quantitative research approaches which will also be outlined. The results of all four programmes clearly show the need for further investigations and course developments, based on the pre- and in-service teachers’ needs. They also give hints on successful tools and structures that could be used in other programmes on nanoscience, in modern scientific areas of interest for education as well.
Nanotechnology has been touted as the next industrial revolution' of our modern age. In order for successful research, development, and social discourses to take place in this field, education research is needed to inform the development of standards, course development, and workforce preparation. In addition, there is a growing need to educate citizens and students about risks, benefits, and social and ethical issues related to nanotechnology. This position paper describes the advancements that have been made in nanoscale science and nanotechnology, and the challenges that exist to educate students and the public about critical nanoscience concepts. This paper reviews the current research on nanotechnology education including curricula, educational programs, informal education, and teacher education. Furthermore, the unique risks, benefits and ethics of these unusual technological applications are described in relation to nanoeducation goals. Finally, we outline needed future research in the areas of nanoscience content, standards and curricula, nanoscience pedagogy, teacher education, and the risks, benefits, and social and ethical dimensions for education in this emerging field.
Traditionally, most teachers, both during their pre-service training as well as during their in-service experience, are exposed to only the conceptual structure and processes of chemistry. However, teaching chemistry most effectively necessitates both content knowledge as well as pedagogical content knowledge. Regarding the content knowledge, it is suggested that in the teaching and learning of chemistry, students should be exposed to recent investigations, namely the “frontiers of chemistry,” as well as inquiry-based problems. This approach to high school chemistry places great demands on chemistry teachers. In order to cope with the problems mentioned above, a special program for enhancing chemistry teachers’ content knowledge as well as their pedagogical knowledge was launched at the Weizmann Institute of Science. The program, which was designed for chemistry teachers, consists of three steps, in which the teachers attend (1) course lectures together with the regular MSc students, (2) a follow-up tutoring lesson which was prepared especially for teachers by one of the staff scientists and elaborates on the course lecture, and (3) a workshop coordinated by a researcher from the science teaching group, in order to apply the scientific knowledge to the educational field.
The first part of the chapter aims at offering some general background information about multiple meanings and models in chemistry and chemistry education. A number of students ' difficulties in understanding these issues and factors that offer insight in their difficulties are also given. The second part of the chapter aims at providing three clusters of useful suggestions for the practice of teaching. The first cluster consists mainly of content-related suggestions for teaching multiple meanings and models, while the second cluster mainly covers student-related suggestions for teaching these issues. The third cluster regards suggestions for identifying students ' (alternative) conceptions after teaching. Some suggestions are rather specific while others are more general; the latter allows teachers to adapt and elaborate them for use in the specific situation of their own classroom.
The goal of this research was to examine the change in the skills, Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) and self-efficacy beliefs of chemistry teachers regarding video editing and using YouTube videos in high-school chemistry lessons, as a result of a professional development program that focused on editing YouTube videos and the accompanying teaching pedagogy. Sixteen experienced chemistry teachers participated in a professional development course regarding video editing skills and the use of videos in chemistry teaching in Israel. Research tools consisted of (1) a pre-post questionnaire, (2) interviews with teachers, (3) an analysis of the videos they edited (which were part of the course assignment), and (4) follow-up interviews conducted ten months after the end of the course. It was found that teachers improved their skills and developed a unique TPACK that combines videos with chemistry teaching needs. Self-efficacy beliefs were found to be high for most of the teachers: they all trusted in their ability to integrate videos in their chemistry teaching but not all of them were confident in their video editing skills.
Discussions held in the chemical education community have generated a variety of reports and recommendations for reforming the chemistry curriculum. The recommendations refer to teaching chemistry in the context of real-world issues. This has been suggested as a way to enhance students' motivation. It is suggested that real-world problems emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of chemistry and the relevance of chemistry to the students' lives. An attempt was made to incorporate these recommendations into the teaching of chemistry by teaching analytical chemistry together with environmental chemistry. A unit incorporating analytical chemistry in an environmental context was developed, in which the students learn concepts of a specific environmental issue. The unit "I Have Chemistry with the Environment", consisting of two modules, was developed on the topics of drinking-water quality, and the greenhouse effect. The research questions focus on the change in the attitudes and perceptions of the students toward chemistry and environmental issues, after learning the environmental unit. The results indicate that the students underwent a significant change in their awareness of environmental issues. All the students mentioned that the unit influenced their everyday-life perceptions of environmental issues and that their awareness of environmental issues increased. Another important finding was that more students found that learning the "I Have Chemistry with the Environment" unit encouraged them to learn chemistry. They indicated that they especially appreciated the feeling that they could discover things by themselves. Clearly, the students found that learning the unit was relevant to chemistry learning as well as to their personal lives. Researchers believe that such a program may promote education for sustainable development.
A nanotechnology module was developed for ninth grade students in the context of teaching chemistry. Two basic concepts in nanotechnology were chosen: (1) size and scale and (2) surface-area-to-volume ratio (SA/V). A wide spectrum of instructional methods (e.g., game-based learning, learning with multimedia, learning with models, project based learning, and storytelling and narratives) was implemented to support students' understanding. Students' interviews and the content of students' final projects were used and analyzed to learn how using a variety of teaching methods influenced students' understanding of basic concepts in nanotechnology. In addition, the study examined which methods enhance students' understanding and which do not, according to students' perceptions. Students felt that most of the teaching methods facilitated their learning, with the exception of two activities: the Hungarian cube, and nano effect simulation; these two activities were very abstract and confused the students. Finally, we formulated recommendations regarding methods for teaching nanotechnology in the future.
The Scientific Revolution established science as a source for the growth of knowledge. During the 19th century, the practice of science became professionalized and institutionalized in ways that continued through the 20th century. As scientific knowledge rapidly increased in society, it was incorporated into many aspects of the characteristics and functions of nations and states. A chain of advances in knowledge, which have always complemented each other, has marked the history of science. Technological innovations bring about new discoveries, which lead to other innovations, which inspire new possibilities and innovative approaches to long-standing scientific issues and open questions
In this paper we describe the learning process of a group of experienced chemistry teachers in a specially designed workshop on molecular symmetry and continuous symmetry. The workshop was based on interactive visualization tools that allow molecules and their symmetry elements to be rotated in three dimensions. The topic of continuous symmetry is a new field of study that provides a quantitative description of the distance of a specific structure from perfect symmetry. Using novel online tools, teachers were able to perform these calculations with the emphasis on the chemistry, rather than on the mathematics of the calculations. Our results show that even a very basic knowledge of symmetry and continuous symmetry opens up new ways of thinking about and looking at molecules. The addition of visualization tools creates a deeper understanding of molecular structure. Moreover, even though molecular symmetry is not a mandatory part of the chemistry high-school curriculum in Israel, familiarity with concepts of symmetry can help teachers understand and explain other topics, such as chirality and the polarity of molecules. Our results indicate that highly advanced content can influence the way teachers think, understand and teach. This experience can shed light on curriculum choices for teachers' education.
In order to help teachers to bring their students into contact with the frontiers of chemistry, a special program for enhancing chemistry teachers' content knowledge as well as their pedagogical knowledge was launched at the Weizmann Institute of Science. The program, which was specifically designed for the chemistry teachers, consists of three stages, in which the teachers attended (1) the course lectures, together with the regular M.Sc. students, (2) a 'Follow-up' tutoring lesson, which was prepared especially for them by one of the staff scientists and was aimed at elaborating on the course lecture, and (3) a workshop coordinated by a researcher from the science teaching group, in order to apply the scientific knowledge to the educational field. The model reduced the teachers' anxieties resulting from taking academic scientific courses; they gained modern and advanced scientific content knowledge, and succeeded in applying it in their teaching.
The study describes the process of adopting new curriculum materials, which had been developed in the PARSEL project in several European countries, into the local educational science classroom of another country. The goal of the PARSEL project was to raise the popularity and relevance of science teaching by enhancing students scientific and technological literacy and by identifying suitable teaching/learning materials, based on relevant context-based educational approaches. All PARSEL materials are organized in a website and are freely accessible by science teachers around the world. In order to increase the teachers ownership towards the new materials, a "bottom-up" approach that included a teacher workshop for modifying the PARSEL modules for the needs of teachers was implemented. The teachers used the modified modules in their classes and reflect upon the whole process, after it was completed. Data have been collected using various research tools, such as, teachers questionnaires, teachers interviews and teachers focus group interviews. The results indicate that the "bottom-up" process increased teacher ownership towards the PARSEL modules and helped the teachers to align their teaching with the philosophy and the teaching style of the PARSEL project. It was also indicated that the students found the modules to be popular and interesting. (Contains 1 figure and 3 footnotes.)
This paper describes the implementation of an open-ended inquiry experiment for high-school students, based on gas chromatography (GC). The research focuses on identifying the level of questions that students ask during the GC open inquiry laboratory, and it examines whether implementing the advanced inquiry laboratory opens up new directions for students' questions. We found correlations between students' achievements and the level of their inquiry questions, and showed that the GC open-ended inquiry laboratory engaged students with different abilities and helped them deepen their understanding in various ways, according to their different levels.