68011 - Elements of Chemistry and Chemistry Teaching

Course Unit Page


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

Zero hunger Clean water and sanitation Affordable and clean energy Responsible consumption and production

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student will: (a) understand the importance of the Chemistry, not only because it is a central science which enables to understand all the other scientific disciplines, but also because Chemistry is “our everyday life", by showing that it is all around us and in us; (b) understand, by using the comparison between language and Chemistry, the concepts of atom and molecule and know how to use them correctly; (c) be able to apply the scientific method to the observation of reality to explain the "why" and "how" of everyday life; (d) know how to build educational courses addressing topics of Chemistry particularly suitable for developing an interdisciplinary approach, such as water, light, energy; (e) know how to prepare simple experiments to be carried out in the classroom or in the laboratory to accompany the theoretical explanations.

Course contents

The aim of the course is (i) to clarify the concepts of atom and molecule by using a comparison between language and chemistry; (ii) to show that Chemistry gives an answer to many "why" and "how" of the everyday life; (iii) to demonstrate that, despite the common opinion, chemistry is a fascinating discipline strongly related to our everyday life; (iv) to explain that Chemistry (and also science in general) must not be confused with all the harmful effects which derive by a bad use made by men.

Furthermore, because Chemistry is an experimental science, another aim of the course is to show how it is easy to invent or find simple experiments to clarify the addressed theoretical aspects. A teacher, particularly of scientific disciplines, must always remember that it is more useful and exciting "to find out by ourselves" the facts rather than to listen their bare descriptions.

After having examined some of the fundamental concepts which are unavoidable to understand the discipline, during the course specific topics related to everyday life (e.g. light and colours, food, cosmetics, energy, water, etc) will be dealt with. It will also be shown how these topics can be explained in the primary school by use of simple experiments. Because the time available for the course is few, every year it is possible to discuss only some topics which will be chosen accordingly to the interest of the attending students.


Science labs: an interdisciplinary lab and disciplinary labs (only for students who started their graduate course in/after A. Y. 2016-2017)

Starting from A. Y. 2018-2019, science labs have been revisited and improved, resulting not only in the reorganization of the disciplinary laboratories but also in the realization of interdisciplinary laboratories spanning over Physics, Chemistry, Ecology and Biology.

Given the 360° education required for primary school teachers, these laboratories were planned to be both interdisciplinary, thus involving the four scientific disciplines, and multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary as well: maximum effort will be put into highlighting links with non-scientific knowledge, in order to clarify that there is no dichotomy between sciences and humanities.

The main goals of this rearrangement of the scientific education of teachers are to:

• stimulate curiosity towards scientific themes;

• highlight the ethic and social impact of science and technology;

• communicate the importance of delivering a scientific education starting from the lowest school levels;

• provide conceptual and practical tools mandatory to plan and carry out science-based activities with pupils.

Science labs focused on single disciplines are activated as well, after being improved following aforementioned goals and rationales.

The interdisciplinary laboratory deals with a topic underpinning all the scientific disciplines involved in the master degree with the aim of showing that the same issue can be investigated under different frameworks, each related to a different discipline, and how we can obtain “a big picture” of a given issue by integrating all the different aspects. Disciplinary laboratories, dealing with Physics, Chemistry, Ecology, and Biology, are strictly interconnected with lectures: these classes have the specific purpose of “putting into practice, showing, and touching” some of the course’s topics.

Students will be divided into small work teams and will carry out simple experiments. The lab teacher will conduct also the discussion of results. Suitable experiments have been laid down so that they can be easily reproduced at pre-primary and primary schools.

The following disciplinary laboratories have been planned:

“Light and color”

“Touching DNA”

“Light and sight”

On the other hand, the planned interdisciplinary laboratory is:

Not just HtwoO: The unexpected features of water

Students must follow two laboratories: the interdisciplinary laboratory and one of the disciplinary laboratories of their choice. All these classes will take place at the Opificio Golinelli (via Paolo Nanni Costa, 14 – Bologna), and their scheduling will be communicated before the beginning of the course. A disciplinary laboratory and an interdisciplinary laboratory will be scheduled in summer.

Each laboratory provides 1 CFU, meaning 8 presence hours and 17 homework hours. In fact, laboratories involve not only the active participation of students but also a “final product”. After the completion of the laboratory experiences, where some disciplinary aspects are investigated and some strategies for stimulating scientific knowledge are proposed, the planning of a didactic activity is requested (which might be useful during school trainings as well).

Students will be graded by lab teachers with -1, 0, or +1 (on a 30 scale). The grade obtained in one of the disciplinary laboratories will add to the final score of the Physics course, while the grade obtained in the interdisciplinary laboratory will add to the final score of the integrated Chemistry and Ecology course. These grades will be available up to the completion of the grading procedure. Student cannot register for any disciplinary exam (Elements of General Biology, Elements of Chemistry and Ecology, Elements of Physics) unless they have attended both a disciplinary laboratory and an interdisciplinary laboratory.

Science labs: an interdisciplinary lab and disciplinary labs

(only for students who started their graduate course in/after A. Y. 2016/2017)


(on behalf of the Teaching Board of the Single Cycle Degree of Primary Teacher Education on 06/16/2021)

The unprecedented situation associated to the sanitary emergence prompted some modifications to the well-established plan of laboratories, only for the academic year 2021/2022 and only for scientific laboratories (disciplinary and interdisciplinary). Recall the complicated logistics, some turns of scientific laboratories will take place at the Opificio Golinelli (with no remote attending), while other will be delivered online through Microsoft Teams only.

Specifically, during April/May 2022 there will be 5 disciplinary laboratories (two Chemistry laboratories, two Physics laboratories and one Biology laboratory) and 7 interdisciplinary laboratories entirely held at the Opificio Golinelli (with no remote attending). Moreover, there will be 1 entirely online disciplinary laboratory for each discipline and 1 entirely online interdisciplinary laboratory. During July, there will be 1 entirely online Biology disciplinary laboratory and 1 entirely online interdisciplinary laboratory.

The choice will be up to the single student, who will be allowed to select the desired participation option. This is strictly associated to the laboratory date: it will not be allowed to take part in a laboratory held at the Opificio Golinelli through Microsft Teams, nor will it be allowed to take part in an online laboratory from the Opificio Golinelli. All scientific laboratories are equivalent in both flavors, and the same presence, participation, hand in, and assessment rules will hold. In every applicable date, the student will be admitted to an online laboratory (either disciplinary or interdisciplinary) only providing the positive reply of the AQ commission, which retains the right to reject or approve the request (as explicitly stated on the Website of the graduate course).



Il Laboratorio di Scienze (Ed.: Margherita Venturi) Collana "I Laboratori", Tecnodid, Napoli, 2006

Chemistry! Reading and writing the book of nature, Vincenzo Balzani and Margherita Venturi, Royal Society of Chemistry, Gld Edition, London 2014

Energia, Risorse, Ambiente, Vincenzo Balzani and Margherita Venturi, Zanichelli, Bologna, 2014

Lectures notes and handbooks will also be handed in by the person in charge of the course.

Teaching methods

The course will be developed through frontal lessons, discussion and design of simple experiments concerning the themes addressed in the course. Active participation to the lessons will allow each student to consolidate theoretical learning and to see its concrete implications in the contexts of kindergarten and primary school.

Assessment methods

In order to sit the exam, it is necessary to register via the Almaesami application, in accordance with the deadlines.

The verification of learning takes place only through the final exam, which verifies the acquisition of knowledge and skills expected through the development of a single written test for the module of Chemistry and Ecology.

During the written test, the students will be asked to produce a paper summarising and describing a teaching unit designed and adapted for a specific class of the Infant or Primary School. The topic will be selected by the teacher from those presented in class and will have to be approached from both an ecological and a chemical point of view.

The final assessment is based on the written exam to which the laboratory marks are added.

The evaluation is in thirtieths and the minimum grade to pass is 18/30.

For non-attending  or previous years students, the examination procedure is the same as for all other students and must comply with the above indications.

Teaching tools

Personal computer, projector, power-point presentations, educational equipment for laboratory.

Office hours

See the website of Lucia Maini