On the transformation of research on teaching and learning about the sub-micro world in chemistry education into feasable classroom practice
Along two cases, this paper provides insights into the relationship between empirical research in chemistry education and innovations in classroom practices. The example is teaching and learning about the particulate nature of matter. The paper describes the need for innovation in chemistry classrooms justified by a study based on 28 interviews with experienced chemistry teachers. These interviews covered the teachers’ personal practices for how to deal with sub-microscopic concepts in lower secondary school chemistry education. The study revealed that the teaching approaches operated by the teachers in Germany often represent inconsistencies in both teachers’ knowledge base and PCK. This paper then contrasts the results with insights into a 15-year classroom innovation and continuous professional development project based on Participatory Action Research in which a group of teachers accompanied by university educators developed an alternative approach for dealing with sub-microscopic concepts. This approach is characterized by a coherent curricular structure for dealing with the particulate nature of matter, atomic structure and bonding theory during the whole course of lower secondary chemistry classes.