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“Chemistry is Toxic, Nature is Idyllic” – Investigation of Pupils’ Attitudes

Authors: Daniela Krischer, Philipp Spitzer, and Martin Gröger

Abstract: Although many natural phenomena are based on chemical processes, most people think that chemistry and nature are strict contrasts, with chemistry as the evil and nature as the good aspect of the scale. At the University of Siegen, we carried out different quantitative and qualitative studies to gain a detailed impression of this antagonism. To get insight into the pupils’ unconscious attitudes towards chemistry and nature we collected data with a semantic differential scale. In order to investigate the pupils’ view of chemistry and nature we used a questionnaire with open questions. The results reveal the expected antagonism and show interesting ideas of the pupils regarding their concepts of nature and chemistry.

We present an attempt to overcome this antagonistic view: Teaching chemistry in nature can be an opportunity to immediately experience and interpret chemical phenomena in order to close the gap between chemistry and nature and build a personally meaningful, exciting and motivating way to chemistry. In the discussion part, two possibilities for this kind of innovative chemistry education are presented. 

Journal: The Journal of Health, Environment, & Education

Volume: 8

Pages: 7–13

Link to the article (opens a new window):

Krischer et al. (2016) Chemistry is toxic