Developing chemistry teacher knowledge for teaching contemporary topics in chemistry and nanotechnology

Leading team

Dr. Ron Blonder

Postdocs and students

Sohair Sakhnini

Shelley Rap

Naama Benny


My research focuses on various pedagogical aspects involving the interaction of chemistry teachers and their students with contemporary science. In the research, conducted in the context of a nanotechnology course I developed together with Prof Reshef Tenne (Blonder, 2011), I found that in an advanced course even thorough learning of the contents (namely, the first two stages in the three-stage model) is not enough for developing PCK. Special attention should be paid to the third stage concerned with transfer of CK to PCK (Blonder, 2010, 2011). In studies that we conducted on full implementation of the three-stage model in advanced chemistry courses, we found that it is very effective (Mamlok-Naaman, Blonder, & Hofstein, 2013), and that the teachers who completed the Rothschild-Weizmann Program were able to integrate new content into their teaching (Blonder & Dinur, 2011; Blonder & Sakhnini, 2012). We also have preliminary results showing that teaching the contemporary nanotechnology field to high-school students positively affects students' continued motivation to learn chemistry and science (Blonder & Dinur, 2011; Blonder & Sakhnini, 2012). In a longitudinal study over five years, which followed the teachers who took the course, we found that the teachers developed high self-efficacy that influenced their teaching and their status in their school organization. More specifically, these teachers started to implement alternative teaching methods, which were introduced in the nanotechnology teachers' course, and as a result of the development activity of the nanotechnology module. Most of the teachers were able to transfer these teaching methods to their chemistry teaching. We suggest that although nanotechnology is outside the science curriculum, it was used in this study as a means to carry out a change in the way chemistry teachers teach the chemistry curriculum.

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