A total of 448 first-year university students participated in the study at the beginning of
the academic year 2009/10. A paper-pencil liquid crystal questionnaire (LCQ) comprising
20 items was used to evaluate students’ general conceptions related to liquid crystals, their
properties and to the state of matter in general. The results show that 2/3 of students are
not familiar with liquid crystals at all, and the conceptions about liquid crystals of the
remaining 1/3 of students are very weak. Students achieved on average only 1.5 points
(19 % success) out of 8 on the items testing their conception about liquid crystals. The
students’ achievements in the LCQ depend on their gender, their self-assessed knowledge
on liquid crystals and on their field of study. Based on the results of the LCQ, learning
units were developed to stimulate students’ knowledge development about liquid crystals.
The learning units in which students learn about liquid crystals synthesis (chemical
aspects) and properties (physical aspects) were put in the framework of everyday life.