Former IOCD Work On Micro-scale Science In Teaching Chemistry
For many years IOCD undertook a project in micro-scale science, led by Alexandre
Pokrovsky, who had a distinguished career at UNESCO where he was formerly Director of the
Division of Basic and Engineering Science. Dr. Pokrovsky played a leading role in UNESCO's
development of its Global Microscience Project. IOCD supported this programme and is extremely
grateful to Dr. Pokrovsky for his long-standing and tireless efforts to promote the practical
development and use of micro-scale approaches around the world.
Subsequent to the winding up of its Global Microscience Project in 2015, IOCD embarked on a new
phase of work to catalyse the uptake of micro-scale science approaches in particular countries. This
work was led by James Cosentino and John Bradly.
The panels below explains the aims and objectives of micro-science approaches and highlight some of
How Do You Teach Science If Your Students Have No Laboratory?
Practical laboratory work is often extremely limited in low- and middle-income country (LMIC)
science courses due to the poor availability of equipment, chemicals and lab facilities. To overcome
these difficulties, John Bradley, then a chemistry professor at the University of Witwatersrand, S Africa
, developed portable micro-scale kits
involving miniature pieces of apparatus that teachers could use in the classroom enabling with very
small quantities of chemicals, enabling chemical reactions to be conducted and experiments observed
at first hand even in very poorly resourced schools.
Bradley's effort was such a success that he was honoured for his inventiveness and courage and he
succeeded in attracting various international organizations to help him develop and disseminate his
concept to underprivileged areas around the world. The
at the University of Witwatersrand continues to promote micro-scale science and hosts one of a
global network of
UNESCO-Associated Centres for Microscience Experiments
that form the
Global Microscience Project
with IOCD, UNESCO, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and the
International Foundation for Science Education (IFSE).
The kits and materials are designed to be easily adaptable to different national curricula. At the
present time, English versions of the available microscience materials provide coverage of all
educational levels: from primary to all of the secondary level (and university/tertiary level in
some cases). These materials include chemistry, physics (micro-electricity resources) and biology
teaching. There are also many language versions available of specific microscience materials,
indicating world community interest to develop the project further. UNESCO provides global access to
the guide for teachers and the student manual on its website
and provides the kits free of charge to schools in areas where it has
Cameroonian students using RADMASTE™ Microchemistry Kits
The reduction of copper(II) oxide using the RADMASTE™ Basic Microchemistry Kit
Educators learning to use the RADMASTE™ Microelectricity Kits.
Using the RADMASTE™ Molecular Stencil to
enhance understanding of the Particle Model.
|(All photos courtesy of Beverly Bell)|
Under the auspices of UNESCO, IUPAC, IFSE and IOCD, more than 80 countries have benefited from
introductory microchemistry workshops and training courses, all of which have had positive review by
local experts and teachers alike. In some countries, UNESCO- Associated Centres have been
established to further develop the microscience project. Production of kits has started in Kazan,
Tatarstan in Russia, due to the efforts of Alexandre Pokrovsky, a former UNESCO scientist who is now
an IFSE officer and a consultant to IOCD for the Global Microscience Project.
To find out more about the Global Microscience Project, visit the following websites: