87752 - Basics of Teaching of Chemistry

Course Unit Page


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

Quality education

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The aim of the course is to give students the necessary knowledge and skills to plan significant and effective courses for teaching chemistry at secondary school level. In particular, the students will be able to: understand the three levels of representation of matter that work in chemistry; put in context relevant topics of chemistry in their historical and epistemological perspective; addressing the main cognitive difficulties that learners encounter in learning chemistry; analyze and discuss the results of research in chemistry education; use of texts and school material for educational purposes; elaborate short educational sequences for the learning of chemical topics present in the ministerial guidelines; use a trans- and inter-disciplinary approach to teaching the discipline.

Course contents

  • Chemical contents in secondary school guidelines.
  • The representation of matter in chemistry: the triangle of Johnstone (the three levels of matter representation); the logical structure of chemistry and its implication in the teaching / learning of the discipline.
  • The role of models and modeling in chemistry teaching: the particle model and its didactic transposition.
  • The learning process, learning patterns and impact on chemistry teaching.
  • Nature and origins of alternative conceptions (misconceptions) in chemistry
  • The implications of didactic research in the process of educational transposition.
  • Aspects of research in chemistry teaching: literature repertoires [Virtuale - Teams].
  • Strategies for the learning of chemistry, and in general of the sciences, from a constructivist point of view: planning of educational activities [Virtuale - Teams].
  • The structure of textbooks for secondary school.
  • Digital technologies in chemistry teaching: spreadsheets, simulation web applications, etc. [Virtuale - Teams]
  • The potential of informal learning for learning.
  • The indications of the European Community: development of transversal skills necessary to address issues with great social impact such as gender issues; relationship between science and society, free access to research results; responsible research and innovation.
Prerequisites: it is necessary that students have a good knowledge of the topics covered in General Chemistry courses of the first year of any degree course in scientific or technologic discipline, a good knowledge of basic mathematical issues, and a good skill in using personal computer


Articles, book chapters and other materials from specialized literature will be provided during the course by the teacher and / or deposited on the Moodle platform.

Suggested books:

C. Fiorentini, E. Aquilini, P. Conti, R. Nencini, Stupirsi, Osservare Concettualizzare. Il curricolo verticale di scienze, Insegnare, Dossier, 2011.

A Guidebook of Good Practice for the Pre-Service Training of Chemistry Teachers, Edited by I. Maciejowska and B. Byers, 2015; http://www.ec2e2n.net/

V. Domenici, Insegnare a Apprendere Chimica, Mondadori Università, 2018

Teaching methods

From a methodological point of view, the different concepts will be presented in their historical-epistemological context, with the aim to point out the experimental nature of chemistry. The work in the classroom will be conducted, for some parts, adopting an active and collaborative teaching. Some topics will be completed or corroborated by individual or group activities supported on the Moodle platform.

Assessment methods

Learning assessment will consist in the evaluation and discussion of a final written report concerning the critical evaluation of a scientific paper in the field of chemical education chosen by the student among several ones proposed by the teachers at the beginning of the course.

Teaching tools

Blackboard, overhead projector, personal computer, video projector, power-point presentations, laboratory teaching equipment.

Office hours

See the website of Sergio Zappoli

See the website of Margherita Venturi