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
and provides the kits free of charge to schools in areas where it has field offices.
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: