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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.