Project Details Chemistry in the classroom

Project No.:
2017-040-1-700
Start Date:
19 December 2017
End Date:
Division Name:
Committee on Chemistry Education
Division No.:
050

Objective

The project seeks to increase the interest in studying Chemistry (and other STEM subjects) amongst the young learners (primarily at secondary education level) through the introduction of modern learning technologies. Through increased interest in Chemistry, it also seeks to raise awareness of IUPAC and its goals and aims amongst the young community.

Rationale:
Problem 1: In many industrialized countries, there is currently a recruitment crisis in STEM subjects, particularly in chemistry disciplines and careers.
Problem 2: IUPAC, as an organization is extremely poorly recognized amongst young people. Making them aware of IUPAC’s goals and contributions to society will be a massive benefit to the future and sustainability of IUPAC.

Description

Despite the fact that young people are great consumers of modern technological products, they are not willing to be producers. They are very hesitant to choose science, and chemistry in particular, as a subject in school, or future studies and careers mainly due to the inherent difficulty in the language of chemistry. The traditional teaching methods in all science subjects are failing to engage a new generation of people. The internet revolutionized our access to information but it also imposed a problem in that the current young learners don’t want to read as much as the previous generations. They want to learn from videos and games or require some level of interaction with the learning material. We [society] are usually very slow to recognize this shift in the ‘learning attitude’ and we are even slower to adapt to the changes. The net effect however is that this contributes to decreasing student uptake and interest in studying STEM subjects. This is particularly evident in the US and across the whole of Europe, where we see a shortfall of science graduates (Note: young people in Africa and Asia show more positive attitudes to Science and Technology studies).

In this project, which continues a long tradition of projects aiming to improve Chemistry Education [“PhET Interactive Simulations: Transformative Tools for Teaching Chemistry” Moore, E. B.; Chamberlain, J. M.; Parson, R.; Perkins, K. K. J. Chem. Educ., 2014, 91 (8), 1191; “Simulations and Interactive Resources” Martin, J. S. J. Chem. Educ., 1994, 71 (8), 667], we aim to produce a series of interactive animations, where learners engage with the information via making a series of choices, which determine the outcome of the animation. The animations will cover key concepts in chemistry that students find particularly challenging such as spectroscopy, red-ox reactions, concept of moles and concentrations but will also emphasise the interdisciplinary nature of chemistry and its applications to health/medicine/environment.

The project seeks to raise awareness about the goals and aims of IUPAC. The animations will be used by the science teachers as a supporting learning tool directly in the classroom, thus targeting and inspiring the complete generation of young learners (also making a whole generation of people aware of IUPAC and its contributions to society). The timeline of the project is two years and within year 1 of the project we aim to produce the animations, accompanying teaching resources and assessment materials for teachers and students, and perform a pilot study locally within the UK, led by subject specialist teachers in secondary education. Following that, we aim to optimize the learning material based on student and teacher feedback and make it available worldwide and in many different languages.

Progress

Page last updated 29 Dec 2017