Crystallography and the kindergarten - a correction?

Jane Insley


Christoph Meinel attributed the shift in chemical thinking required by the introduction of organic chemistry in the latter half of the 19th century to the influence of model making. He argued that this was enabled by the widespread availability of construction toys for children, based in the educational work of Friedrich Fröbel. I suggest that Fröbel’s ideas about toys were influenced by his own experiences in chemistry, most particularly by his time as assistant to the foremost crystallographer of the day, Christian Samuel Weiss. I base this on the startling similarity between illustrations in one of the most important crystallography texts of the 1820s and in Fröbel’s Pedagogics.


Model making; crystallography; chemistry

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.

The Online MPhil/PhD in Education from the UCL Institute of Education, University College London. Become a doctoral researcher without the need to give up your work or personal commitments.

For more information about doctoral research at the UCL Institute of Education, go to

ISSN 2049-9558
Link to us!