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A Química das coisas (The Chemistry of Things)
Paulo Ribeiro Claro (Universidade de Aveiro), Science Office and Duvideo Filmes.
Science Office and Duvideo Filmes.
Web Site/Portal, Downloadable material
Basic, Medium
Peer education
Lower Secondary School, Upper Secondary School
English, Portuguese
"The Chemistry of Things" is a media project dedicated to present the chemistry hidden in our lives, showing how the recent scientific developments can result in the improvement of the welfare of modern society. Each TV episode, available for download at the website, is devoted to a theme. The first series titles are the chemistry of Tattoos, Salt, Breakfast Cereals, Alcohol, Post-its, Nail Polish, Laptops, Contact Lenses, Decaf, Detergents, Sleep and Love.
This digital resource is very well written, scientifically rigorous, with a beautiful design and attractive animations. It is not interactive.
As each episode lasts 2-3 minutes, it can be used as a thematic introduction and a factor of motivation in classroom.
Additionally, the authors also make available smaller videos, usually animations, that can be used independently by the teacher. For example, related to the episode “The chemistry of breakfast cereals”, two smaller videos can also be downloaded: one about the Periodic Table of Elements, highlighting iron and, another, about the metallic iron oxidation in the stomach originating iron ions - a form usable by the body.
The site has Portuguese and English versions. But the videos have the option of introducing subtitles in several languages: Bulgarian, English, French, Greek, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Slovak, Spanish, Turkish, etc.
Instituto Politécnico de Bragança

Comments about this Publication

Your comments are welcome

Date: 2013.02.07

Posted by Katarína Hricová (Slovakia)

Message: In my opinion this is a great teaching help which can be used at all schools. It is finally something that shows students that chemistry is really all aroun us with emphasise on their own environment: chemistry of love, cereals, drugs, tatoos, make-up, chemistry of sport, investigation, waterproof clothes, various kinds of plasts and etc. Those are the topics which are attractive for students and which increase their interest about chemistry. Form is also very important because teaching videos can be something very attractive and inovating for students. Individual episodes about problems dedicated to chemistry and environment are presented in an understandable, illustrative and attractive way. A moderator was also a good choice, she is young, has a clear expression, is good looking and uses a body language what increases the level of attractivityand by this way she gets an attention to a topic with which she is dealing. Using of computer animation, illustrations and an appropriate visualization enables easier understanding of a content. Duration of episodes is in a balance – 15 minutes is a very good choice because it is optimal for concentration of young people. I suppose that one of the reasons of disinterest and insufficient motivation of students is that we are not able to show them chemistry in an attractive way and we are no table to mediate for students the fast development of chemistry in our daily life. Some of the episodes contain another videos and they develop and complete certain topic. They offer another infomation on web pages. Those information can be used as an introduction to some other topics to get attention of students and increase their motivation for gaining other knowledge, about crops. Students are motivated to solve various tasks, eg.writing of scientific reports, notes, essays about certain topics and at the same time they are thaught to use other informational sources. Structure of the web page is appropriate for teaching at every high school. I personally will certainly use this source in my lessons. This source is a good didactic and methodic help for students and teachers.

Date: 2013.01.18

Posted by Andrés Parra (Spain)

Message: It is a very interesting, very rigorous and well-designed resource with curious animations. I consider that by being short it is able to introduce and constitute an important motivational factor to start lessons in the classroom. The quality and utility of the resource is strengthened if in addition we bear in mind that videos allow the translation of subtitles to different languages, which makes it a tool that can be used in different countries.
What can undoubtedly be of great use to achieve increasing students´ interest in chemistry is taking on topics that are close to them and that which they come into contact with on a daily basis, namely: the chemistry of love, cereal, drugs, tattoos, makeup, the chemistry of sport, criminal investigation, etc. All of these are attractive topics for adolescents and will increase their interest in chemistry.
This resource can be a great help to better and more quickly understand many aspects of chemistry by showing students that everything that is around them – what they eat, what they wash with, what heals things, what transports things, etc. In short, the same life is chemistry.
I believe that regarding the topics presented here, they are very-well selected and are quite innovative for their subject matter, content and video graphic constructions/structures. Additionally, some animations can be downloaded by the professor and they can also serve as an important assistant that on many occasions helps to bring students closer to chemistry and to motivate them to learn.
Other similar resources found on this website are:
-Che cos\'è la Chimica?WhatisChemistry?.Gustavo Avitabile, UgoCaruso, Giovanni Maglio, Antonello Merlino, Delia Picone. 2007.

-Chemistry at Home.Salta,K.; Gekos, M.; Koulougliotis, D.; Petsimeri, I.2012.


-Chemistry in Action!Peter Childs, Hon. Editor. on-going.

-Chemistry in the kitchen.

-Medicines and You.Marion Palmer (educational consultant). 2006…

Date: 2012.12.04

Posted by Magüi Viñas Armada (Spain)

Message: The Project “A Quimica das Coisas” is a very practicable tool for introducing students to the world of chemistry.

It will assist students to realize the importance of the subject they are going to study and help to motivate them because it shows how chemistry is involved in the simplest aspects of our lives.

Nowadays no one can imagine life without plastics, chemical antibiotics or the comfort of modern fibres. The truth is that chemistry is all around us, is part of our lives and is taken for granted.

The web site, as an introductory aid for teachers will be very useful at the beginning of the course. It will introduce students to the subject of chemistry and hopefully motivate them to embrace a topic which is normally outside their day to day lives and one which is very often considered to be a difficult one.

I consider that one of the reasons for students’ failure and lack of motivation is because recent developments in chemistry are not reflected in the way in which they contribute to every day life and the welfare of society.

The web site talks about the confusion surrounding words such as chemical, toxic, irritant and carcinogenic but fails to explain the meaning therefore leaving students with little or no understanding.

It is often thought that chemistry contributes to all diseases of the modern world and that all chemicals are artificial or un natural but that Nature itself is not made of chemical substances or compounds.

This teaching resource however, does not explain how students can overcome the obstacles of learning chemistry, neither does it show how to increase the understanding quickly to enable students to relate this subject to modern day life.

In conclusion, I consider it to be well presented but should only be treated as an introduction and I would like to include it in the classroom as an interactive resource for motivating and giving students a basic understanding of the subject of chemistry.

Date: 2012.10.04

Posted by PETER RACHEV (Bulgaria)

Message: Description: This product contains videos presenting applied Chemistry knowledge. The episodes cover a wide range of topics: tattoos, salt, crops, alcohol, coffee, sleep, love, etc. Along with the facts, the videos contain animations showing substance structures and the way they function in chemical and biological terms. Another important aspect of this product is the brief information on modern technologies and their day-to-day application. Some episodes contain extra videos, developing and supplementing the given topic. The website offers various opportunities.The information presented could be used as an introduction to some course topics in order to grab students attention and boost their motivation for knowledge acquisition; an example of this is the video about crops. Students may be given assignments involving the writing of scientific memos, reports and essays on the topics discussed as well as the use of other information sources. The website structure makes it suitable for almost the whole course of study – from class 7 to class 10. The aim of this project is to attract students' interest and to boost their motivation for acquiring the basics of Chemistry. The website has a Portuguese and an English version but Bulgarian subtitles can be added as well and this is one of its main advantages. The English version is suitable for classes that major in English. I will definitely use this program in my lessons. From a scientific point of view, the information in it is correct. The website also has a high pedagogical value – the wide range of Chemistry knowledge provides a number of opportunities didactically as well as methodologically.

Date: 2012.09.28

Posted by Maria Nikolova (Bulgaria)

Message: The teaching resource is particularly useful as it shows how relevant chemistry is to our everyday life and how recent scientific findings can improve modern society. Each TV episode is available on the website to download. The issues include Chemistry of Tattoos, Salt, Alcohol, Nail Polish, Liquid Crystals in Laptops, Contact Lenses, Decaffeinated Coffee, Detergents, Sleep and Love, etc. The greatest advantage of the resource is that students become familiar with the wide use of chemistry in life and realize that rational living in modern world is impossible without general knowledge and basic chemistry literacy.
The teaching resource provokes students’ interest, curiosity and desire to learn about things, thus generating motivation in them. The certainty that chemistry is all around us supposes greater interest in studying the subject. Explaining the wide popularity of chemical products in life raises the possibility of choosing chemistry as a field of future career for students of enhanced interest.
The TV episodes are closely related to the subject material. The problems concerning chemistry and environment are presented in a perfectly comprehensible, illustrative and attractive way. The clear speech of the presenter, her appearance and use of body language add to focusing attention to the problems she addresses. The presence of computer animation, illustrations and adequate visualization allows easier understanding and assimilating the content. The length of the episodes is also of great significance. The fifteen-minute episode is quite reasonable as it is the optimal concentration span in young people.
Chemistry is an experimental study. A rule of thumb is to follow the path from perception and observation to speculation and comprehension of subject material. Modern technologies provide inexhaustible opportunities of teaching chemistry, such as using multi-media presentations, TV and interactive lessons, work in a virtual laboratory, modeling of objects and reactions, etc. The subject material described is part of the innovative approaches to teaching chemistry. The topics of the films are selected carefully according to specific problems. They include issues related to the life of people, especially young people, thus stimulating their interest in chemistry as the science of their days. Another asset of the films is the presenter, a young, good-looking woman. It has been found that young people assimilate information easier, if presented by their peers. Each word the presenter says is attentively listened to. The attractive visualization through animation, models, pictures, video, etc. bring the problem matter closer to the student’s mind. The films take enough time to explain a problem without being boring. They can be used as part of the teaching process or as a separate video lesson depending on students’ needs.
Apart from being an innovation in school teaching, this resource can be greatly used by people of different age who have interest in environmental chemistry. It contributes to carrying out the lifelong-learning mission.

Date: 2012.09.27

Posted by Mairead Glynn (Ireland)

Message: Over the past number of weeks I have been using the website (the chemistry of things) as a teaching tool in my chemistry classes.
This teaching resource has several useful aspects. The videos are attention-grapping and of relevance to students’ everyday lives. This is extremely important in motivating students’ interest in chemistry. One aspect of the website that reduces its usefulness is the fact that junior students would not be able to concentrate on the subtitles and the visual aspect of the presentations simultaneously. Weaker students would also have difficulty reading the subtitles at a sufficient speed. This serves to narrow the student demographic to which it can apply. More able senior students would not face these problems and the website is extremely useful for these students.
This resource has particular relevance to students’ everyday life discussing topics such as the chemistry of nail polish, love and waterproof clothing. The website shows how chemistry is an element of everyday life and makes some intangible concepts seem more real to the students. When students are able to see that chemistry is not simply information in a book but a core concept to the world around them they are more likely to be interested in the subject.
While this resource is useful in gaining students interest it does not help students understand the core concepts of chemistry any better or faster. The topics described barely touch on any of the topics on the present chemistry course and when it does it does not explain them in any depth. What is useful about these videos is that they are only 150 seconds (approx.) in length and leave ample time to link the concept described in the video to the relevant section of the chemistry course.
Resources such as this website represent a welcome change in the way in which chemistry is taught at secondary level. It is useful in taking equations and chemical structures out of books and making them seem more relevant to students. However, some simple issues serve to undermine the effectiveness of the website. The subtitles are white against a white background and are hard to see using a projector in the classroom. While I understand this resource was developed in Portugal, the audio element of the videos is one of the most important to students. The effectiveness of this website would be increased greatly if students could hear as well as view the videos.
Overall I find this resource useful in my teaching and generally improves the students’ interest in chemistry.

Date: 2012.09.06

Posted by Kappatos Stamatios (Greece)

Message: And now…Here’s a teaching resource with impressively useful and instant application in Greek (at least!) High Schools, Lyceum and Technical Education High Schools.
This extremely helpful website contains analyzed issues from almost every aspect of everyday’s interest(s), according to the science of Chemistry.
There are references to waterproof clothing, nail polishing, chemical basis of love (…Ok!! Other emotions are referred too, but students / teen-agers are more interested in the awakening of this new positive feeling!) coffee, food and more...
As students are getting very familiar to the use of PCs, Laptops, mobile technology and the other (common?) goods of our civilization, and become active consumers from their (more and more) early ages, “Now’s the time!!” (as a good old Jazz Song suggests!) for them to solve their out coming questions, wonders and problems caused from curiosity for these new products (“How do these things work? ”) !
These questions, are those that usually everybody is eager to find an answer about (as sooner as possible), but (almost!) everybody (again!) gives up trying (to find THE answer!), during the flow of everyday’s routine. Only a few (but dedicated) are willing for a more intensive search. But we want as many as possible, aren’t we? So…here’s (again!) a big handful of help. Every issue (of the ones described here) is illustrated with the use of an inspired video which contains (in most of them) clever selection of possible “in deep” cases!
Videos are download-able and can accept Greek subtitles. So there’s a great potential of an almost instant use in Greek classrooms! Personally, I’m going to use this website as a main teaching resource through out this year, and I’ll keep informed (and updated) everybody who’s interested!! Students’ interest towards Chemistry is expected to be in a greater scale, as all topics illustrated, shows that our Science (Chemistry and Chemistry Teaching) isn’t completely cut off from what is usually called “common peoples’ real life”, but is in (a very) close contact with it!
Though the use of videos cannot be said that it proposes an innovative didactical approach, the “work behind the scenes” for the making of these high quality documentaries, promises good results in introducing students to new subjects and topics about chemistry, and it is a convenient opportunity for extended discussion and interest increase. The whole project is counted as a positive approach to what this website is made for, and a similar effort adjusted in the Greek Educational System (and reality!) should be encouraged.

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.