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Chemistry for Juniors - Sci-Spy
National Centre for Technology in Education
scoilnet for RTE
Web Site/Portal, Downloadable material
Problem solving, Peer education
Fundamental Chemistry, Life Chemistry, Materials Science, Environmental Chemistry
Primary School
Sci-Spy is a science initiative aimed at primary school children in 5th and 6th class. It comprises 29 short TV programmes (each 6 minutes in length) and an interactive website with factsheets, interactive games, quizzes and experiment sheets on a huge range of science topics. Most importantly, Sci-Spy shows that science is all around us in our everyday lives!
The content for Sci-Spy was created in consultation with Irish teachers. Sci-Spy will support teachers and students in the adoption and delivery of the primary science curriculum in Ireland.
Sci-Spy is part of a collaborative project between the National Centre for Technology in Education and RTÉ. This collaborative project is entitled IMMERSE — Innovative Multimedia Educational Resources for Students and Educators. It has set out to develop innovative, interactive, curriculum-relevant resources for students and teachers in the Irish education system.
The chemistry content includes topics like Materials, Acids, DNA, the Philosophers Stone.
Each topic has an introduction, fact-sheet, experiment, quiz and web links for further investigations.
This is a colourful web-site with just the right mixture of text and illustration to attract the attention of younger students. It could be used in the classroom or for project work.
Limerick Institute of Technology

Comments about this Publication

Your comments are welcome

Date: 2012.10.09

Posted by Arnaldo Fernandes (Portugal)

Message: SCI-SPY - (Chemistry for juniors - Sci-Spy) is one of the few resources that are primarily oriented to the school population of the basic education. The documentation provided for teachers is also an important tool to help the use of this digital resource. The way the videos are produced – in a short and motivating way, provide resources that, if well exploited, can increase the interest and motivation of students to learn chemistry and other branches of science.
To the extent that most of the videos start from real situations of people’s everyday life, this is, thus, an innovative resource that can be more easily understood by students. In this way, they can associate this material to concrete situations of their lives or their environment.

Date: 2012.10.03

Posted by Ilaria Rebella (Italy)

Message: The resource is an easy-to-use and well-structured website, where you can choose the topic within 5 great areas whose contents are among those expected for pupils of primary school. Each topic is divided into an introduction, a summary part, an investigation of the phenomenon, quizzes, web links and a pdf file for the teacher with suggested activities for classroom work. The resource, however, is a bit too superficial in contents that are certainly within the reach of children in primary school, but in some cases they are even trivialized and it risks instill misconceptions that it's hard to eradicate (e.g. sweetened tea, which was presented as a solution, reinforces the concept of the common non-scientific meaning of the word "soluble" and that away from an understanding of chemical concepts, a similar argument is the concept of water vapor as "droplets" or the concept of absorption as the "disappearance" of a substance in a other)
I think that the interest in chemistry can grow only to the extent that students are able to understand it so that they should not carry out acts of faith toward the teacher or the book and, therefore, to understand its importance in everyday life. This resource can respond to these needs because it is based on the scientific method (observation of everyday reality, formulation of hypotheses, exploration of the phenomenon / experiment, testing hypotheses and conclusions), provided that the conclusions are found by children on the basis of the results obtained, the their sharing through group discussions and plenary sessions coordinated by the teacher and at the end compared with the 'factsheet', discussing any differences. In this way you face any misconceptions in a critical manner on the basis of what has been observed, if necessary planning new experiments for the suspicion. The children realize that not everything that is written is necessarily correct and that the surest way to understand and be able to manipulate the world around them is to know in detail its features and its laws.
As I explained above, it is a good way to start, then a lot depends on how it is used: if it is used in a critical way, starting from exploration proposals to get to the considerations made by the children to compare with those of the site, certainly leads students to a more critical attitude and to have good skills on the topic, as well as encourage them to investigate issues that arise in the study of the phenomenon. Instead I do not think that speed is a positive aspect of the process of teaching / learning, as it is too often synonymous with superficiality.
I do not think that the site proposes an innovative teaching approach, because many schools already implement methods related to the exploration of the phenomenon, the hypothesis testing and teaching laboratory, but I think it is innovative in relation to reality still widespread, at least in Italy , in which there is transmissive teaching.

Date: 2012.09.27

Posted by Doumkou Fotini (Greece)

Message: This is one of the few teaching resources that could really be useful for teaching basic science, involving themes related with chemistry in primary school. As a teacher I found the section “For Teachers” really very useful because it really gives practical advice and interesting ideas on how to present the subject in class so that to attract and maintain students’ attention. Except of the “For Teachers” section I found this site very useful because it is set up in a way that it can be used not only as an addition to the teaching process but it can constitute the teaching process on its own. The student could start by knowing nothing on the subject, read the factsheet, watch the video and then take an interactive quiz.
I do believe that this teaching resource can increase students’ interest towards chemistry. It contains the right amount of text and the right amount and quality of colour, animation and sound. The videos are quite short and really interesting to watch. I especially appreciated the fact that the interactive quiz also contains an explanation for the correctness of the answer. It would be even nicer if for every wrong answer it did not immediately show which is the correct one but instead give an additional hint.
I do think that this resource can help students to understand better and faster. The site does present chemistry from the point of view of its numerous applications in everyday life. It proposes very nice and easy to perform experiments and the information given in the factsheet contains a lot of chemistry by completely avoiding symbols. In this way, it is really useful for teaching chemistry in primary school.
In my opinion, this teaching resource makes use of traditional teaching tools in a new unique manner. In this sense, it does contain the element of innovation. Overall, I found it an attractive, easy-to-use resource that could really help us in our efforts to create and maintain interest and motivation.

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.