Implementation of “Digital Learning Educational Resources (RED) in the teaching of Chemical Bonding” (SOI-IT-344)

Author: Luigia Palumbo

School/Organization: I.C.S. “Capozzi-Galilei” – Valenzano (Bari) – Italy

Chemical bonding represents the heart of the Chemistry learning unit, usually addressed in the second year of the Italian Lower Secondary School. As is not possible to have a direct observation and overcome a purely theoretical discussion, I decided to use the Learning scenario “Digital Learning Educational Resources (RED) in the teaching of Chemical Bonding (LS-EU-129)” focused on the use of web tool, production of models and narratives written by the students about chemical bonding. The activities were student-centered and allowed them to express themselves creatively. The lessons took place in a non-traditional way, as the teachers involved created a learning environment diversified in terms of activities and skills, which fostered inclusion and allowed everyone to make their own contribution according to their possibilities. The students have been involved in an innovative STEAM experience using their knowledge and soft skills into action for the creation of two products shared not only with the school community but also with the online community.

I followed the phases proposed in the learning scenario by Valentim Carla,  in addition to the theoretical concepts, I proposed the suggested sites to the students. However, I decided to change the last phase of the learning scenario, I showed the students a Europeana “Model of rock salt molecule”I asked the students if we use the term molecule for Sodium Chloride and we started to discuss. Reading the information related to the image they found that in 1883 the crystalline structure of Sodium Chloride was not known and through X-ray diffraction, it was discovered in 1914 by W.L. and W.H. Bragg. Afterward, I showed students  the pictures of Alexander Crum Brown  and William Henry Bragg and their biographies. 

Then, I decided to plan different paths for the two classes:

  1. the working groups created material models, representing the different types of covalent bonds, such as single, double, and triple, using polystyrene and wooden sticks (Graphite and Sodium chloride).
  2. The working groups of the other class created two skits:  one about ionic bonding. the students used Google documents to write the scripts, thanks to the collaboration of the Italian teacher.  Afterward, the students chose their roles and played on the school stage.

Graphite                                                          Sodium Chloride

The material models and the two skits were presented to the school and local community during the open days. Finally, we decided to film the two skits, setting up a semi-professional set at school, thanks to the Physical Education teacher. The two videos were uploaded to our school’s Youtube channel linked to our school website.

Starting from the photography of Sodium Chloride each student participated freely in the discussion, motivating his statements and finally reaching a shared conclusion.

The realization of theatrical activities has been highly motivating and exciting for the students. It represented a STEAM experience, in which several teachers collaborated for a common purpose.

The writing of a theatrical text on scientific concepts was a test to verify the skills achievement. The students were protagonists on the floor and in their learning process, playing the role of actors aware of their roles. Having played an active role during the open days, represented a strong driving force to increase the students self-confidence. 

I would advise teachers who intend to implement this learning scenario to focus on a final creative activity that will involve the whole school community, in order to spread a new way of teaching Science.

The assessment of learning was carried out in the traditional way through a written test and through their performance and laboratory activities. In addition to knowledge have evaluated: creativity, reflection, communication, scientific texts writing, and acting skills.

Europeana resources are very useful for reflecting on the learning objects and organizing debates, during which the students could demonstrate skills achievement and critical thinking. In addition,  Europeana resources are very useful to introduce in class history of Chemistry. I suggest to teachers interested to use Europeana resources in class, to introduce the students to copyright, in this way, the students will understand why we have to use the resources in different ways according to their copyright classification.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario? Digital Learning Educational Resources (RED) in the teaching of Chemical Bonding (LS-EU-129) created by Valentim Carla

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CC BY-NC-ND 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Upplandsmuseet.

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