Chemistry curricula at secondary and higher secondary level introduces students to various core concepts in chemistry. In fact, early introduction of particulate nature of matter in the textbooks, often makes chemistry abstract in nature. The interconnections of chemistry and real scenarios are seldom represented in textbooks, especially in Indian context. Thus, learners of chemistry often fail to understand how core concepts of chemistry work in real situations. Even the problems presented in the textbooks are rarely based on the actual situations/context. Thus, often students perceive chemistry as a difficult subject.
As part of Indian National Chemistry Olympiad (INChO) programme, we are making efforts to develop context based problems. Whenever possible, these problems are related to every day situations, novel applications of chemistry, frontier research area or history of chemistry and has lot to offer for chemistry education at secondary, higher secondary and undergraduate level. While solving such problems, along with understanding how the first principles of chemistry work in various situations, learner also needs to understand the modeling of real complex situations and the approximations applied or witnesses how the concepts have evolved in chemistry. In our opinion, such experiences are useful in changing the perceptions about chemistry and thus needs to be presented to the learners.