Research in didactics studies the phenomena of teaching and learning. It highlights the importance of the teacher’s role as a mediator between the student and knowledge and aims to enrich teaching practices and explain the transformations undergone by knowledge during learning-teaching sequences.

The “Chemistry and Education” project team was created on January 1st, 2017 following the reintegration of Karine Molvinger within the ICGM after 6 years spent at LIRDEF (Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Research in Didactics, Education and Training) where she converted to chemistry didactics.

Karine Molvinger and Rose-Marie Ayral devote 100% of their research time to this project team. Both stemming from research teams in materials science, they provide support in solid state chemistry and materials chemistry, both in terms of pedagogical architecture (progression and articulation of required knowledge) and the identification of emerging technological applications developed within the ICGM.

Project Team Members:
Karine Molvinger (CRHC CNRS), Rose-Marie Ayral (CRHC CNRS), Jean-Sébastien Filhol (Pr. UM), Frédéric Lemoigno (M.C. UM). Other researchers from the ICGM and even from other Institutes occasionally participate in projects.


Research activities
Intervention in the discovery unit "Chemistry: Magical Science"

At the University of Montpellier, practical work entitled “Magic Science Chemistry” has been established in first and second years (L1 or L2) by a team of teachers including Jean-Sébastien Filhol, member of the ICGM didactic project team. The principle of Magic Science Chemistry is to use the pretext of synthesis of compounds with remarkable properties and spectacular effects such as superconductors, phosphorescents, ferrofluids, precious stones…, to transmit to students not only technical skills, also associated with chemical risks, but also practical aspects (search for information) or tools for the oral presentation of a work.
Here, the impact of this training on the elements of motivation and autonomy of students (objectives displayed by the teaching team) as well as on the knowledge and skills acquired, was studied. The construction of the concept of chemical bonding at the transition from high school to university is specifically adressed.
It has been noted in recent years that master’s and/or doctoral students do not master some basic concepts of chemistry. This project studies the transition between secondary and higher education in the particular case of the concept of chemical bonding in order to observe the continuities or ruptures that may exist in the transition between these two levels of education.
In addition, the level of abstraction of the chemical bond makes it a difficult notion to grasp and understand. Its teaching and learning from high school to university, especially in the First Scientific class with Lewis’ model and in the first year of Bachelor’s degree at the University where the model of frontier orbitals coexists with that of Lewis, are evaluated in this study.
This project stems from the ICGM’s activities in materials chemistry and is based on notions of chemical bonding that are important to study in order to promote student involvement and improve their level of teaching and learning.

Escape game - Integrated Training ExIT 

This project brings together 12 researchers and teacher-researchers from different laboratories in Montpellier and two educational institutions (Faculty of Science and ENSCM). It is based on the implementation of new mechanisms to raise students’ awareness of security issues.
This project is an opportunity to develop a pedagogical consortium to federate and raise awareness among chemistry education stakeholders about innovation and pedagogical transformation. For this purpose, an escape game and video capsules on the notions of safety and chemistry useful in practical work are created. In parallel, a quantitative didactic study is also conducted to know the real impact of this approach. This project obtained funding from the I-SITE MUSE (Montpellier University of Excellence) in 2021 during the AAP TakeOff#4 in support of pedagogical innovations.

Device for experimentation and structuring of scientific knowledge around saponification.

This project is based on a collaboration with the University of Yaoundé (Cameroon). The aim here is to work on the problem of science education in Cameroon where it is done exclusively theoretically. The difficulties associated with this teaching as well as remedial solutions are studied.
This project aims to highlight the impact of experimentation on the distinction of macroscopic/microscopic levels in chemistry. It proposes practical work around the saponification reaction (reaction easily accessible experimentally) in order to study the impact from a didactic point of view and to consider the development of alternatives to current teaching.

Other actions promoted
  • Olympiad in Chemistry
  • Vulgarization through school-based interventions
Selected articles

The implementation of an investigative approach in elementary school: a case study, K. Molvinger, Spirale- Revue de Recherches en Éducation, 2017, 59, 49-78.
Integrating Lecture and Laboratory Work for a Materials Chemistry Course to Engage and Motivate Students through Highly Visual and Intriguing Syntheses, K. Molvinger, R.M. Ayral, J.S. Fihol, J. Chem. Ed. 2020, 97, 3, 866-872.
Using games to build and improve 10th Grade students’ understanding of the concept of chemical bonding and the representation of molecules, K. Molvinger, G. Lautier, R.M. Ayral, J. Chem. Ed. 2021, 98, 2, 319-329.