Author Faculty (Discipline)


Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2006

Publication Details

This article was originally published as:

de Berg, K. C. (2006). What happens when salt dissolves in water? An introduction to scientific argument and counter argument drawn from the history of science. Teaching Science, 52(1), 24.



There is an increasing demand being placed on teachers to use episodes from the history of science in their teaching/learning activities in science classes but there is a dearth of material available to teachers that are suitable for such activities. This paper outlines two models of salt dissolution drawn from late 19th and early 20th century chemistry and some of the arguments advanced for each model at the time that are suitable for the senior chemistry classroom. Its suggests that teachers create a fifteen-minute Interactive Historical Vignette using the content of the solution controversy to teach students how scientific knowledge is formed. Chemistry is thus not just exposition and explanation but can be seen as a dynamic process of knowledge construction so important in helping our students understand something of the nature of science.


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