021 650 1837 info@cchange.ac.za


chemRoots logo for business plan

The c*hemRoots project will develop and distribute curriculum-aligned support material, in the form of a series of teaching resource kits for grade 8-12 science teachers, throughout South Africa. The material is intended to support science teachers in teaching key chemistry concepts using hands-on practical activities, while focussing on conceptual understanding. National distribution of the material will take place through training workshops in collaboration with the provincial education departments, local science centres, and existing organisations working in the science education field. A series of short courses will be designed to provide longer-term teacher support beyond the timeline of this project. The project is a DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Catalysis c*change initiative, supported and guided by the Department of Chemical Engineering, the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, and the Schools Development Unit at the University of Cape Town.


The overall objective for the c*hemRoots Project is to produce and distribute curriculum-aligned chemistry teaching kits on five different topics to high school science teachers in all nine provinces in South Africa. This will involve:

  1. Development of curriculum-aligned teacher support material, in the form of a series of teaching kits, which includes practical activities and accompanying teaching strategies to teach fundamental concepts in the chemistry curriculum.
  2. Piloting of the draft material with practicing science teachers in various teaching contexts, especially in the township environment, through the network of the Schools Development Unit at UCT to ensure a useful and appropriate product.
  3. Manufacturing anddistribution of the kits to teachers in all nine provinces through national roll-out workshops where teachers will engage with the material.
  4. Development of a community of science teachers in South Africa by developing a web platform where teachers can exchange ideas, new applications and experiences and ask questions related to the use of the kits
  5. Development of short courses based on the kits, through collaboration with the UCT Schools Development Unit, to extend the use of the material beyond the project timeline.


It is the c*hemRoots Project’s mission to develop and actively distribute curriculum-aligned resource materials which allow high school science teachers to more effectively teach fundamental concepts in chemistry. It is our belief that more effective teaching will positively influence the number of students choosing Physical Sciences as a subject in grade 10 and improve performance in the final examination in grade 12. Increased performance at school level translates into more students who are eligible for access into engineering and science programmes at tertiary level. A better conceptual preparation at school level also increases success at university, which results in a healthier foundation from which universities and the private sector can grow both a highly-trained workforce, and a new generation of academics.


If you want to get involved, assist with funding or just want to learn more, do not hesitate to contact us under nico.fischer@uct.ac.za or view our business case.


Former activities of c*change

To support the role out of a new science syllabus in South Africa c*change in partnership with industry developed under the lead of René Toerien a resource package supplying additional materials for grade 11 and 12 learners in the fields of Chemical Industries and Mining and Mineral Processing. The contents of the resource packs are aligned with the chemistry curriculum in South Africa and provide teachers with classroom-ready resource materials to complement the teaching of these new sections in the syllabus. The content is multi-­faceted and includes information sheets for project work, animations, videos, practical work, quizzes, worksheets and posters. By 2014 some 6500 resource packs have been distributed and 64 nationwide roll-out workshops were held.

IN addition c*change has provides support for young and upcoming African researchers to compete and excel in the global environment. To this end initial discussions with the SynCat Academy (www.scientificleaders.com) about a strategic partnership were held at the 2015 c*change symposium. In January 2017  a two day workshop was realized at UCT presented by the SynCat Academy.