Sub-unit 1 is not related to industrial processes directly, but it can be connected to especially community plants e.g. by the following activities:

  • Students can search for products and how they are described and produced on the internet, connecting the products they have found in their house to producers and selling companies / stores.
  • Teachers can decide to connect the “household detective” activities about analyzing substances to a visit in a water plant / wastewater treatment station to compare different ways of chemical analyses.

Sub-units 2 and 3 are already based on co-operations with industry, here with the example of the Henkel Company. Students will learn not only about the chemistry of such things as  cleaners or fibres, they will also learn about how and why they are produced and optimized in certain ways.

Industry can provide information on different levels, for example through

  • websites or booklets about the historical development of a certain product;
  • a real or virtual visit to a plant producing a certain product;
  • real or podcasted interviews with experts working in the production or the management, giving information on how and why decisions are taken and a new process is initiated and more.


Background information on the company:

Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, a multinational personal care company, was founded in 1876 in Aachen as Henkel & Cie by Fritz Henkel and two other partners. Today the company is headquartered in Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, in Germany.

Henkel has three worldwide operating business areas which are Laundry & Home Care, Cosmetics/Toiletries and Adhesive Technologies. The company employs about 48,000 employees worldwide. Globally it holds leading market positions both in the consumer and industrial businesses. Its most famous brand is Persil, the first commercial laundry detergent. Other well-known brands are Schwarzkopf and Loctite, for example.

Henkel products range from household cleaning products (laundry detergents or dishwashing liquid (Persil, Spee, Vernel/Silan, Somat etc.)) over personal care products (shampoo, toothpaste, hair colorants etc. (Schauma, Fa, Diadermine etc.)) to adhesives, sealants and surface treatment products for consumer and industrial purposes.


In regard to possible links to industry, most activities deal with analyzing or working with an industrial product (either directly such as finding out about household cleaners or analyzing different pieces of textiles, or indirectly such as consequences of acids on organic materials). Following are exemplary activities showing a connection to specific types of ICK:

  • students are analyzing household cleaners (subunit 1) as products from industry --> ICK type 3
  • students can discuss whether home-made cleaners (soaps) are “better” than industrial products (--> products made by chemical industry are often considered “bad” in the media; they will find out that home-made soaps cannot be “free of chemicals”, as is a popular advertising slogan) --> ICK type 1 (link to industry, discussing social perception of products/science)
  • possible visit to a community water treatment plant or production facility for cleaning agents --> ICK type 2
  • students will learn about how and why cleaners/fibers are produced and optimized in certain ways (subunits 2 & 3) --> ICK type 5
  • activities on acids --> ICK type 1 (link to industry through using products for experiments)
  • activities on designing the ideal fibre/cleaning agent --> ICK type 4 (incorporating chemical knowledge and social/historical issues, dealt with in prior activities)