94211 - Laboratory of Teaching Tools of Chemistry

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Moduli: Sergio Zappoli (Modulo 1) Dora Melucci (Modulo 2)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Teaching and Communication of Natural Sciences (cod. 5704)

Learning outcomes

The aim of the course is to provide both the knowledge and the methodological tools necessary to move in the field of chemistry teaching using an integrated, transversal and interdisciplinary approach, in particular with biology and geology. At the end of the course, the student will achieve the methodological aspects necessary to organize, individually and in a working group, a learning unit in the chemical sciences integrated with the biological and geological disciplines. In addition, the student will consolidate her/his familiarity with elementary chemistry procedures. In particular she/he: (a) uses chemicals safely; b) is able to collect and process experimental data of chemical nature; (e) comprehends the correlation between experimental observations and scientific principles; (f) is able to correctly set up a scientific report on a chemical process or procedure; (g) will be able to plan a learning unit integrated with experimental and observational procedures in the field of chemistry.

Course contents

The course is organized in six sections. Each of them will be linked to teaching units that have been developed, or that should be developed, by the other disciplines addressed in the integrated course

1) Introduction. Definitions and theoretical framework.The laboratory activity as a didactic simulation of the processes guiding scientific research. Identification of the main parts of the scientific process: identification of a problem, definition of a hypothesis, design of an experiment, data collection and processing, expression of the result, evaluation of the initial hypothesis. Communication of laboratory work: reports and short papers. Different modalities of laboratory activities used in the context of problem solving. The value of laboratory experience in improving learning

2) Characteristics and properties of the main inorganic compounds. Chemical transformations in the formation and dissolution of some inorganic salts. Solubility of salts and the effect of the acidity of the system (pH). Evaluation of the effect of pH on the solubility of some types of salts (carbonates, oxalates, sulphates, sulphides, chlorides). Types of bonds involved in crystal formation. Crystalline structure and its relationship with the properties of salts

3) Characteristics and properties of main organic compounds. Main functional groups and classification of organic substances. Chemical bonds and structure of simple organic compounds. Notes on nomenclature. The combustion of hydrocarbons.

4) Elaboration of experimental data. Basic mathematical and statistical concepts to estimate measurement uncertainty and propagation of errors. Gauss distribution; confidence interval; significant figures; significance test; calibration methods; linear regression; quality parameters of a measurement; test of statistical significance. Use of spreadsheets as a tool to represent and process experimental data.

5) Light-matter interaction. The electromagnetic radiation. Absorption and emission. The phenomenon of absorption of light radiation by molecules. Light-matter interaction for the purpose of qualitative and quantitative chemical investigation. Light absorption measurement systems: UV-VIS and NIR. The chemiluminesce.

6) From bibliographic sources to the classroom. The aim of this section is guide the student to the process that, starting from the searching and reviewing of various kind of sources, leads to develop a laboratory didactic unit on an interdisciplinary topic.

Laboratory activities

A lab activity is planned for each of the issues addressed in the lectures. Almost all the lab activities are introduced by their planning that will be conducted autonomously by the students, working in group and under the supervision of the teachers. The topics addressed in the laboratory will be: scientific method and laboratory experience; preparation and reactions of some salts; study of erosion processes; combustion: a particular oxidation reaction; data processing with spreadsheets; determination of substances of biological interest by spectrophotometry; design and application of a laboratory teaching unit




A very useful refererence could be:

Rinaldo Cervellati, Daniela Perugini. Guida alla didattica della Chimica nella Scuola Secondaria Superiore. Zanichelli

For the issues most related to the didactic transposition of laboratory activities articles, book chapters and other materials from the relevant literature will be provided by the teachers in addition to the lectures' handouts

Teaching methods

From a methodological point of view, the presentation of the various topics will be accompanied by their didactic transposition in a laboratory context with particular attention to possible inter and transdisciplinary links.

The work in the classroom will be in part conducted adopting an active and collaborative teaching method. Some activities will be carried out using a cooperative learning approach, giving maximum space to the autonomous planning of the work by the students. Some topics will be completed or enriched by means of individual or group activities supported on the Virtual and Teams platform.

Considering the types of activities and teaching methods adopted, the attendance of the lessons requires for all the students to partecipate to specific training on safety and health in study places: Modules 1 and 2 in e-learning mode and Module 3 in conventional mode. Information on dates and methods of attendance of Module 3 can be consulted in the specific section of the degree program website.


Assessment methods

Learning assessment will be evaluated by means of an oral exam, integrated with the other teaching modules (biology and geology). The discussion will start from one of the laboratory experience carried out during the course. Both the didactic methodological issues and the strictly disciplinary ones will be evaluated.

Teaching tools

Blackboard, overhead projector, personal computer, video projector, power-point presentations, laboratory teaching equipment, "Virtual" e-learning platform, online collaborative tools (Teams, Google Drive, One Drive)

Office hours

See the website of Sergio Zappoli

See the website of Dora Melucci


Quality education Climate Action

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.