From the classroom to the lecture theatre: Innovative ways to bring Chemistry and Chemical Research to Life

Draper, Sylvia and Colavita, Paula (2013) From the classroom to the lecture theatre: Innovative ways to bring Chemistry and Chemical Research to Life. In: 5th Eurovariety in Chemistry Education, University of Limerick, 3rd – 5th July 2013. “Smarter Teaching-Better Learning, Limerick, Ireland..


The process of scientific enquiry is difficult to initiate in a packed School curriculum. To help convey an understanding of it we have developed a specific (TY to 5th year) secondary school–based, outreach module as part of our structured postgraduate training programme. The module, now in its third year is a recipient of a 2012 College servicelearning, civic engagement award. Within the module, a group of self-selecting graduates are mentored to produce individual talks that explain what they do on a daily basis and the purpose of their on-going research. The students have developed novel, hands-on, studentcentred experiments to complement their talks and both talks and experiments have been deployed in a number of schools in the Dublin area via on-site School visits. The hands-on activities are supported by a 2012 Discover Science and Engineering award.1 Chemistry can appear as a demanding, dry and fact-laden subject even at third level where it is taught to a disparate group of students with wide-ranging, end-career goals and very different abilities in Chemistry on entry. To tackle this, the School introduced a team presentation exercise into the second year undergraduate curriculum (2002 onwards).2 The class (>260 students) is divided into teams of 8-10 and each group prepares a set of reports and subsequently a 20 mins presentation on a topic of their choice that illustrates the relevance of Chemistry to Life. The competition final, attended this year by over 150 secondary level school students and their teachers, was a lively and informative event

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