J.M. Fernández Novell1, C. Zaragoza Domènech2

1Universitat de Barcelona (SPAIN)
2Institut Obert de Catalunya (SPAIN)
Our civilization is based on the ability of transforming substances and exploiting the results. Chemistry is the field of science dedicated to the study of matter and transformation of substances. In the history of chemistry, there have been many important moments; humanity has discovered many ways in which to modify substances. The information produced in the field of chemistry has considerable repercussions in our daily life.

Essential objectives for chemistry education at undergraduate level are the use of scientific explanations for a better understanding of the world as well as a productive participation in scientific practices and discussions. Nowadays it is very important to be able to work in a group. At university, students need to learn how to work in groups, both small and big groups, to prepare themselves for the cooperative interaction between people. In addition, motivation, attention and learning are essential aspects for education and for chemistry education.

To address these points authors have designed a strategy called “Chemical Thinking”. The main purpose of this initiative was to focus on students enrolled in chemistry subject in their first year at Barcelona University. These students have prepared, written and presented works about chemical concepts including and explaining some experiments. Several examples presented here are: the Hypothesis on the origin of life; abiotic synthesis; lactic and alcoholic fermentations; distinguished women in chemistry. Students have to identify hypotheses, explore the experimental approaches, analize the data and hold some intelligent and critical discussions in each work.

The presentations were aimed at giving an introduction to the field in general and the study of chemical reactions in particular. Students enjoy collaborating and helping others and they opinion was important to reinforcing this activity. Finally, this educational tool has increased the interest and the study of chemistry among students.