Lifelong Learning Programme

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Chemistry at Home
Salta,K.; Gekos, M.; Koulougliotis, D.; Petsimeri, I.
European Commission - Lifelong Learning Programme
Web Site/Portal
Basic, Medium
Problem solving, Experiential learning, Self-learning
Fundamental Chemistry, Life Chemistry
Lower Secondary School, Upper Secondary School
English, Greek
Prerequisites: This teaching resource does not require any special software for functioning and has free access.

Contents and Task Description: The teaching resource is divided in two thematic areas related with applications of chemistry at home: a) Chemical substances in Foods and b) Cleaning Products at home. Each of the two thematic areas is organized in four main sections, namely Introduction, Activities, Exercises and Relevant links. The Introduction section includes a short text with information on both the chemical concepts and the real life applications of the relevant thematic area. The text contains hot words with links to interesting related sites and also colour images. The Activities section contains two activities of increasing level of difficulty (denoted as Step 1 and Step 2). Each activity refers to an experimental procedure that can be easily reproduced at home or in a school laboratory because the materials needed, are easily found in a grocery store. The activities do not require any special chemicals or scientific instrumentation. The level of difficulty refers to the chemical concept behind the activity and not to the realization of the activity. The Exercises section is a set of two interactive multiple choice tests (one for each activity). Each question contains five possible answers and by clicking at each answer the reader gets an explanation of why it is wrong (if wrong) or a congratulating comment with explanation (if correct). The reader has to find the correct answer to each question in order to proceed to the next one. Finally, the Relevant links section includes a carefully chosen collection of links to additional related information. The links are other websites, articles, books and videos.

Aims: The educational package aims in making chemistry more amenable to the average public by the possibility of easy-to-do experiments which bring out the presence of chemistry in numerous aspects of our everyday lives. The proposed activities and exercises aim in increasing chemical literacy and also in helping the readers develop basic scientific qualities such as logical and analytical thinking. Finally, the material aims in attracting public attention to the wonderful world of chemistry and to in enhancing the motivating to learn chemistry and science in general.

Use in class: The material provided can be easily incorporated in the class practice because the proposed experiments are very easy to perform without any special requirements for specialized chemicals or instrumentation. In addition, the teacher can use the material for assigning and setting up small experimental projects that the students could do at home and subsequently report the results in class.
This teaching resource is a valuable source of educational material which is scientifically reliable and at the same time presents chemistry with a friendly manner. The language employed in the texts has been carefully chosen in order not to include special chemical terms and be easily understandable by the non-scientist. The proposed experiments can actually bring chemistry at home and motivate people to engage themselves in behaving as little scientists. They are easy to perform successfully by using cheap materials that can be found in an average grocery store. The exercises have high pedagogical value since they are designed in order to achieve learning by giving explanatory hints and they are interactive in nature. The educational package would have even larger value if the proposed activities were accompanied by a video. In addition, the Greek public would benefit more if the Greek version was also fully available in interactive hypertext mode and only in pdf version.
TEI of Ionian Islands

Comments about this Publication

Your comments are welcome

Date: 2013.06.16

Posted by Olga Maria Cabrita Nunes (Portugal)

Message: This is a resource for science dissemination that can be explored in the context of the classroom, or as an autonomous activity for students.
The subjects covered are of interest, especially in the chemistry area. It is very user friendly, presenting six major themes: Chemistry in Every Day Life, Chemistry at Home, Materials for Special Uses, Chemistry and Environment, Chemistry and Art, Chemistry in Science Fiction. For each theme, several materials are available: a theoretical introduction, exercises and applications with addresses and links to relevant information that complements the existing one.
This resource has an appealing design, uses a simple language and presents a great variety of scientific information relevant to chemistry teaching. It can be very useful for teachers as a motivation strategy or to illustrate aspects related to the teaching contents. For the student, it allows independent research activities to support their work in the discipline of chemistry, at different school levels.

Date: 2013.02.07

Posted by Maria Fabianová (Slovakia)

Message: The web page Chemistry is All Around Us is appropriate mainly for students of elementary schools. It consists of a basic curriculum of chemistry for students of 6. – 9. year of elementary schools. The curriculum is divided according to the topic: Chemistry in Everyday life, Chemistry at home, Materials for Special Uses, Chemistry and environment, Chemistry and Art, Chemistry in Science Fiction. It is a good example of the fact that the chemistry is all around us. Each of the topics is divided into other parts: study text with hyperlink to Wikipedia, activities (mainly in 2 steps) and exercises in a form of questions with possibility of choosing an answer, a big amount of links to videos, web pages and publications dealing with a topic. Individual topics are very well processed. We were bit disappointed with the amount of activities – there could be more of them, more activities focused on practice of students and dealing with difficult tasks with connection to projective teaching. In experimental activities there are experiments in which common substances are used and which a student uses every day. A student can realize that experiment also at home. An experiment in chemistry helps to better understanding of a curriculum. The web page is useful also for teachers, it can be used in teaching even though you can find more complex processing of a topic on the internet. Chemical terminology is at a lower level because it is focused on students of elementary schools.

Date: 2013.02.07

Posted by Iveta Slobodová (Slovakia)

Message: Despite of its name it is a valuable source of scientific information for teachers. These information can be used in a classroom because they fit into a new curriculum. It helps students to understand certain terms, explain some answers and it can motivate them to solve various exercises where they get various kinds of tools and help. Descriptions of daily chemical experiments are very interesting. Materials for each experiment can be easily found at home or in a school laboratory. Content of individual topics is expressed through specific vocabulary which fits to level of education of students. Levels of interactivity are good and there are interesting parts with some videos which explain the importance of chemistry in the real world. Using of web and access to its individual parts is very good which is because of the good level of hyperlink environment. Strong or agressive acids or dangerous materials are notu sed so there is no problem with the safety and students can do each experiment also at home. This enables students to work in their own speed and supports individual learning. Students can watch their own experiments and by this way they can build their own knowledge what helps them in better understanding of a topic. They can also check up relevant links, videos, books and articles dedicated to a certain topic. This is a very inovative didactic approach because a student can easily do an experiment on his own and anywhere he wants and gets relevant results. In my opinion it is a new approach which is recently used in teaching of scientific subjects. This is called “self focusing” of teaching which means that a subject is much more orientated at the real world which means dramatic decrease in theoretical content. It is focusing on daily science which studies actions, tools and materials according to daily life. This can make accademic environment worried but everyday life does not only motivate us but it also enables us to be more motivated to teaching and to be closer to interests of students. At the basis of this the didactic tools and helps are included in lessons. This disrupts classical image of that the chemistry can be trained only in laboratories with specific materials. When chemical exercises can be done at a small place or at home it increases the interest and motivation of students. It is not about giving up scientific terms because also at this web chemical formulas are used and explained so simple equations are used and completed of other explanations.

Date: 2013.01.22

Posted by Ana Martín Lasanta (Spain)

Message: I think this website can be very useful for introducing general concepts and / or basic class (water cycle, metal alloys, acid-base reactions, organic compounds ...). Although the various blocks that seem (and Daily Life Chemistry, Chemistry and Art, Chemistry and Environmental Chemistry at Home ...) are very general, I think the contents are made fairly rigorous. It also proposes a pair of \"labs\" per block that allow students to see that what they are studying them helps to understand the world (they are very simple experiments and almost everyone can do in a school lab). In addition to the theoretical and practical introductions, each block has multiple choice exercises for students to evaluate themselves and a section of links to other Internet resources (videos, books, articles, other websites ...) that students can use to deepen in a topic or find material for bibliographic work.

Although the contents may not fit neatly into any specific teaching unit, I think the layout of the page is current, attractive and easy to understand and use, which at first is essential to get the attention of the student. Beyond aesthetic considerations, think proposes practical activities that are the forte of this website. Are striking (see the formation of CO2, purify water, make toothpaste, and evaluate the characteristics of absorbent materials ...), and the events they describe can be related in a very intuitive with theory. The claim of the aesthetic with the fun of the experimental could be a good combination to increase the interest of students who have some concerns about the science, and even arouse such curiosity in those who believe it is useless.

It can increase the interest of students towards chemistry because all blocks are very graphics (have multiple images, diagrams, videos partners in the links section ...) and the information is written in a clear and detailed to follow the idea. But it does not propose a new teaching approach because the combination of a good theoretical introduction to practices has always been used. What I think is that information is quality and practices are very well-raised (objective, material, experimental procedure, findings, conclusions, details that pay attention).

Date: 2012.12.04

Posted by Manuel Fernández González (Spain)

Message: The document that I am going to make comments on, explores new teaching approaches. That is why we can say it is innovative, although other people have been talking about it in the last few decades.

Science teaching, in this particular context, has reached such didactic orientation that nowadays it has become really important. It is present in very modern approaches including constructivist framework (like CTS) and scientific alphabetization that are useful tools for the Science for Public Understanding (SPU) subject. This subject is taught in different European countries (e.g. in Spain is called CMC). It implies a break with the traditional science-self-focused teaching system so that our subject opens up to the real world. This implies a dramatic reduction of theoretical contents. We also need to focus on “everyday science” which studies phenomena, tools and materials we are in touch with during our daily life.

As far as academic life is concerned, everyday life not only motivates us but also it allows us a more motivated teaching and to be closer to students´ interests. The analysed file takes us to daily Chemistry and shows all possible didactic resources afore mentioned. Some of the samples provided have already been used by other authors. No matter what kind of teaching is practiced it is quite easy to include the file within any programme. It will help to overcome the overspread impression that chemistry is only practiced in laboratories and with special products. Moreover, once checking out that certain experiences (or experiences) can be carried out with little equipment, their interest and motivation will increase towards that particular part of science.

It may be highlighted out that authors did not come to the point when introductions of different areas were concerned. They seem to be excessively long and not explanatory enough, that is why students are not keen on it. It can be emphasized that authors do not want to use scientific terms. However, they make use of chemistry formula. So, why not write a simple equation that could save any further oral explanation? It would have been more suitable to start up with a brief presentation and then start talking about experiences so that these could be the ones that need theoretical principles. However, that would not be “problem solving” (as indicated on the information provided), because they do not start from a problem. On the other hand, it would have been really helpful to offer different types of exercises on each activity, rather than one.

Date: 2012.10.22

Posted by Lília Maria Braz (Portugal)

The resource "Chemistry at home" is a valuable source of scientific information for application at home. On the other hand, I may say that it is not very useful for teachers, at least for direct application in the classroom, as the chemistry contents that compose the school curricula, that many times can be assisted by simulations and other similar digital tools, are not clearly related to the topics presented in this resource.
In the case of students, it can help them to understand certain concepts, enlighten them with some answers, as the language has a low level of scientific difficulty. Additionally, it may motivate students to solve exercises, due to the clues/help tools available.

Date: 2012.10.04

Posted by Seda Çelik (Turkey)

This resource is a good example of the implementation of chemistry in our daily lives. Visuals used in that web site are very beneficial. It describes our lives connected to chemical cycles such as carbon cycle and water cycle. Teachers can benefit from the visuals used in this website. Academicians can follow academic publications from website. It includes links relevant to the area, so that a person interested in that area can search for much variety. Project partners are also mentioned in the “Partners” part. Some parts have activities and exercise parts that learners can benefit. And some bilingual sections are available such as English/Bulgarian. Case studies from different countries are presented in PDF form for the readers. The language used is a fine tuned one. Readers do not get bored with millions of confusing terminological elements. The introduction parts are generally appealing which raise curiosity for the visitors. There is also a training part from which school students or adult learners can benefit. In that section 6 main areas are presented. Each area has 2-3 topics. Topics and areas are well organized. It also has news section by which you can follow new things about project. The students can use this site, its language and its other subparts are beneficial for both students and adult learners who are willing to learn about chemistry. It is also a material resource for teachers for chemistry class. Its daily life aspect is unquestionably a positive side.

Date: 2012.10.03

Posted by Nadia Zamboni (Italy)

Message: The resource can certainly be useful and usable in basic education, mainly in the lower secondary school. The content is expressed with a specific vocabulary appropriate to the educational level of the pupils; the levels of interactivity are good; there is an interesting section with some videos that explain the importance of chemistry in the real world that surrounds us.
The good usability is certainly related to the ease of access to the various sections of the hypertext structure: sometimes, web pages with too many sections may be an obstacle to learning processes conveyed through multimedia tools.
It can increase the students’ interest toward chemistry for two main reasons:
contents contain appreciable and significant references to the chemistry in everyday life and thus very close to the real contexts of students;
proposals for laboratory activities are well detailed and easily reproducible in a school without a well equipped laboratory, in addition, experimental activities are supported by feed-back interactive tests, allowing a good share of the procedures used and consolidation of knowledge of concepts.
The resource can help students learn significantly thanks to the well-structured graphics and simple network structure; in my opinion, a learning resource is useful in the learning process when it can be easily explored by students and that does not depend so much on the knowledge of the content, but the ability to capture relationships within it. If the resource is easy to manage it’s possible to obtain best results in terms of construction of knowledge, because greater will grow learners autonomy in finding the contents and then in the reworking of concepts.
The educational innovation in the approach is not actually in the resource, however rich multimedia material and suggestions for work, but in its potential: the teacher can use it in different ways, supporting students’ self-approach, or using it unstructured, that is, extracting the parts fit in with a learning path properly planned.

Date: 2012.10.03

Posted by Funda BALCI (Turkey)

Message: This is a good example that chemistry is all around. We are doing chemical experiment while cleaning our home. There are some task descriptions of some daily life experiments. Materials in each experiment are easily found at home or school lab. They are not strong acid or base so there is no safety problem. Students can do experiment at home too. It allows students to work at their own pace and encourages initiating and learning independently. Therefore, students observe the experiment and construct their knowledge. That helps students understand better. Also, students can check the relevant links which direct us to video, book and articles related to topics. I think it propose an innovative didactical approach because student can don experiment anywhere and get results. Then, watch the video in hot word links and compare the results. Therefore, students can construct their own knowledge.

National Reports on successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry The national reports on chemistry successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry are now available on the related section of the project portal. The reports presents examples of successful experiences in the partner countries and the results of testing of ICT resources with science teachers.