The first-year course, Chemistry in Nature and Society, of the Chemistry Course in the PUCC is meant to encourage students to explore the relationships between chemical phenomena and the basic concepts of the discipline, promoting a critical approach in the management of scientific data, the use of adequate scientific terminology and teamwork. In 2011, the chair decided to integrate the SL methodology focus on the development of didactic activities for fourth-grade primary school children in highly-vulnerable institutions. The proposal had as a partner the Scientific Center of the Culture Centre in La Pintana city council, one of the most vulnerable city councils in the metropolitan region of Santiago.

Students, organized in groups, researched relevant topics from the fourth-year curriculum and developed challenging teaching activities to promote meaningful learning of those topics. Then these activities were done with children from public schools.

The application of the methodology enabled chemistry students to work on the development of generic skills, such as teamwork and social engagement and, at the same time, to acquire significant learning regarding the objectives related to the subject. The evidence shows that the three pillars of the university SL model are present in the course: meaningful learning, quality service and values education.


I’ve learnt, apart from the topic we were assigned, to work as a team, to socialize, to share ideas, to face problems and seek solutions. (Student)

The activity gave me the opportunity to learn technical aspects of the subject, everything that the work involved, reports, presentations, a new vision of science, but also human learning in the sense that we’ve become aware of the reality of those children who live in one of the poorest communities in Santiago, how they live, the reality of their parents, their situation at school, which helped me to value more the reality I live in. And also that together we were able to achieve certain goals. (Student)



Del Río, R. (2016). Application of service-learning methodology in a course of Chemistry. RIDAS, Ibero-American Journal of Learning and Service, 2, 172-179.


  • Name: Service-Learning in a Chemistry Course

  • Region: Latin America

  • Country: Chile

  • State/Department: Santiago

  • University: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUCC)

  • Area or School involved: Center for Research in Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (CIEN-UC). Inorganic Chemistry Department, School of Chemistry.

  • Place of implementation: Santiago, Chile

  • Partner organization: Centro Científico de la Casa de la Cultura [Scientific center of the culture centre], La Pintana City Council (Santiago).

  • Start date of experience: 2011

  • Responsible for the experience: Prof. Rodrigo del Río

    Keywords: chemistry, generic skills, primary education, teaching