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Title of the Experience
Introduction in organic chemistry
Name of the teacher
Mária Fabianová
Country where it took place
School typology
High Secondary School
Thematic Area
Experience typology
Teaching in class
Type of contact
Description of the Experience
Opis skúsenosti So far I have not find out whether students can adequately recognize what connects and what divides organic and inorganic compounds. Luckily organic chemistry can be explained quite clearly and simply as the chemistry of carbon compounds where C (carbon) is the dominant component, while at the same time it is an exceptional element. It is capable of forming 4 chemical bonds. At this point I write on the blackboard C and I show around four lines as –ch, the ties. This acts as an axiom, because the full chemical explanation is not possible at their level. It has no meaning for the students, rather it would discourage them. Carbon, in terms of frequency of occurrence in the organic compositions, is followed immediately by hydrogen and oxygen. That is what the students must remember. Then I draw from the literature of M.Holub who was an immunologist, but also an excellent science popularizer.
I tell the students that in the laboratory they "split the human body into a change", found all the elements it contains and what amounts of each one there is. On the basis of current prices they quantified the value of the human body as the sum of the prices of all these elements. The total amount turned out to be about 8 U.S. dollars. It is an amazing paradox to the fact that life of man can not be expressed in monetary value and thus the relevance of the elements in the compounds, what function organic compositions have and how overwhelming whole it creates is perplexing. I remind that we know more about the sun than the activity of our brain. Usually we get to the concept of "soul" but we could not find an answer to its value.
To give them at least a little closer idea of a boring science I say that even love between people can be, to a certain extent, explained by a chemical formula. If man is intensely and passionately in love that lasts a certain period of time, his body excretes large amounts of a chemical compound called phenylethylamine. Then I wrote down the formula on the blackboard and told them this is love. Obviously it is simplified, but the girls were fascinated and asked whether it can be bought at the pharmacy or get through some grocery shop. Then they asked me what they should eat to be happy, so we went over what happiness is. It was a very interesting debate and to advise them at least a little, I recommended them to eat chocolate, which affects the organism. Experts have confirmed it. Other properties of organic compounds are: sensitivity to heat (invention of a refrigerator), flammability - petrol, volatility etc. We can do experiments that prove that organic compounds do not lead electricity. We need only an electric current, an ordinary flashlight, two wires and a small bulb. When immersed in water the lamp does not light up, even if it is a closed circuit.
An interesting topic at the end of this issue area includes sources of organic compounds, particularly plant and animal resources. We start to analyze what clothes we wear that is made of cotton, if or if not is the handbag made of leather… We can talk about the world's most prestigious cosmetics that uses only natural resources and therefore its price is based on it as well. It took a very long time to analyze the smell of strawberries so it could be artificially manufactured.
One animal- an ostrich can be used completely full, from feathers to the bones, as a source of organic compounds and substances.
There is not enough space here to mention all that can still be said about the topic. It all depends also on the current situation in the class. Students ask a lot of questions, many answers are surprising for them. I evaluate this experience positively.

Comments on this Teachers Experience

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Date: 2014.11.22

Posted by Anita Krismanel (Latvia)

An interesting approach for a new item, a good experience.
I often resortet to even more universal method where the pupil himself establishing awareness model using their childhood expierences of different, well- understood areas. They may be emotion, payment system, games principles, etc.

Date: 2014.10.16

Posted by Nevenka Kostova (Bulgaria)

I am very much impressed by this practice of the colleague. Here even an important moment associated with the age of the students is captivated - their emotions, especially of girls. The difficult to understand chemistry takes on new meaning - its not just science, not just chemical reactions and complex compounds (some of which are written in a few lines) but it is also pleasant sensations and experiences (the science of love). Students easily acquire new knowledge when they are very interested or very closely related to something else, what is more familiar from their everyday life and what is a stronger emotion for a student than the sense of love. For me this is a great idea that I would love to use in my work.


Dissemination Seminar in Florence

31 October 2015 The seminar has been held in ITIS “A. Meucci” one of the schools involved within Goerudio project activities. Its main aim was to promote the results of the project toward a broad sample of stakeholders even overcrossing the number of people directly involved in the production of project outcomes. This purpose has been totally achieved especially thanks to the participation of students and teachers coming from different schools or from other classes instead of those ones directly involved within the project activities.