Lifelong Learning Programme

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Teaching Resources

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Giuseppina Caviglia
Comprehensive Institute Pra’
teacher involved
Virtual experiment: viscosity explorer 2012
Topics related to the resource
Concept of variable, variables that affect the viscosity, characteristics of the substances that are found in the liquid state, the state transitions.
Examples of learning objectives
- Deepening of the theme linked to the characteristics of substances and changes of state;
- intuitive understanding of what variable means, through the possibility to simulate and modify a phenomenon acting on variables that influence it;
- analysis of the phenomenon in relation to knowledge previously built;
- aware highlighting of the variables involved in the phenomenon.
Practical information regarding the use
of the site/simulation...
- Clicking on the link, it leads directly to the simulation, the use of which is explained in English at the bottom of the page, very briefly.
- In the menu you can choose the materials and the temperature of the liquid within the limits that keep the substance in the liquid state: the temperatures are written in numbers with the symbol °, and this makes easy and intuitive the use even if you do not know English
- You have to click DROP to drop the balls that pass through liquids and RESET to put the balls in place and redo the simulation. This is quickly discovered by the students even if they do not read the instructions on the bottom of the page.
Information about the class
Comprehensive Institute Pra’, primary school, 4° year (9-10 years), 24 students . During the first year of primary school, students were introduced to the meaning of substance homogeneous to the eyesight; during the second year they worked on state transitions; during the third year they worked on solutions.
Suggestion for use
At first it is necessary that students knows the meaning of substance and the state transitions of the matter.
A sequence of actions to use the simulation is the following:
1. free and individual exploration;
2. analysis of the simulation after that the teacher focused the attention of pupils on aspects to be deepened; in this case the use of the whiteboard is suggested;
3. organization of the class in small groups in order to use the simulation in a functional way (see objectives;
5. discussion about the opinions of each group while the teacher is summarizing at the whiteboard;
6. use of the discussion summary with the aim of producing individual maps that link the new concepts with the old ones
7. production of a shared conceptual map from the analysis of the individual maps (even with the whiteboard)
8. individual deepening on the single points of the above map in order to prepare the pupils to the study of new topics.
Insights into student
use / thinking
- The use of the resource is very intuitive, the English language is not an obstacle for children who had no problems at the time of free exploration. Teacher's intervention was necessary to bring pupils to overcome the playful aspect and make them concentrate on a functional use of simulation in the construction of new knowledge, connected to prior learning.
- Work in small groups (pairs or at most three children per computer) helps to control the use of simulation in order to discover the characteristics of the substances, the effects of heat on them or similar thus coming to few conclusions and links with the knowledge built into earlier stages of the course.
-The simulation puts children in front of the implementation of what was suggested, analyzed and studied earlier during the course, as to make it easier to understand and to provide references for a stable storage.
Teacher’s conclusions
- The resource allowed to link the concepts formed during previous experience, highlighting with strength variables involved in the phenomenon.
- Its use allowed the teacher to check the knowledge built in the earlier stages of the path.
- The use of Lim to run a functional test of the resource allowed not to waste energy and to help all students, even those in difficulty, to overcome the first moment of playful use of the resource.

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.