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Outstanding GCSE and A level chemistry resources

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Having taught GCSE and A level chemistry for 6 years and being an examiner I have developed a solid understanding of what makes a lesson outstanding and seek to share this with other teachers.

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Having taught GCSE and A level chemistry for 6 years and being an examiner I have developed a solid understanding of what makes a lesson outstanding and seek to share this with other teachers.
Fermentation GCSE chemistry - covers symbol equations and the two methods of making ethanol
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Fermentation GCSE chemistry - covers symbol equations and the two methods of making ethanol

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This is a thoroughly planned lesson on the production of ethanol by fermentation of glucose and hydration of ethene. It has differentiated resources and a variety of activities and exam question plenaries to check student understanding. There is an optional production of ethanol practical that could be included in this lesson or as a separate lesson. Students start by recalling the formulae for different substances then learn the symbol equations for the two methods of ethanol production. They then carry out a literacy activity where they sort the advantages and disadvantages of each method of ethanol production. The lesson concludes with an exam question plenary. The practical could be included before comparing the advantages and disadvantages of hydration versus fermentation. Please rate this resource and leave feedback.
Entropy lesson - A level chemistry - outstanding
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Entropy lesson - A level chemistry - outstanding

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This is a lesson on entropy for A level chemistry that has been thoroughly planned and resourced. The lesson starts by getting students to classify reactions as endothermic or exothermic. This is required knowledge so please read through these before the lesson and make sure that students have covered this content. This starter activity could be printed and laminated to be used as a card sort. The concept of entropy is introduced along with the first and second laws of thermodynamics. A stack of Jenga bricks or a stack of cards could be used to illustrate that disorder is a more likely arrangement (gases) than order (solid). The custard powder combustion demo is used to illustrate that entropy changes in the system help predict whether a reaction is spontaneous (whether it happens). Details of how to carry this out can be found online at the RSC wiki and other websites. Students then are introduced to the three formulae needed and complete a worksheet that I have created where they calculate entropy of a system, entropy of the surroundings and total entropy. This is used to predict whether the reactions happen (i.e. whether there is a positive value). Note that balanced equations have not been provided and students at this level should be capable of writing these and sharing them with the class. Markschemes are provided for the entropy calculations. The lesson ends with a comparison of the importance of entropy and enthalpy. Please rate this resource and leave feedback.
Dingbat engaging starters for science KS3 to KS5
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Dingbat engaging starters for science KS3 to KS5

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These are a series of dingbats that I have created as engaging starter activities. They work really well as a short punchy starter that students answer on whiteboards before the 4 minute song finishes that students hear as they walk in (e.g. Bon Jovi, Olly Murs). The words are keywords that are referred back to in lesson. There are dingbats for KS3, KS4 and KS5 on these topics: photosynthesis, respiration, compounds, hydrocarbons and carbonyls (A level). Students could post it note their answers with their names and stick them on the whiteboard next to the image. Please leave feedback.
Equilibrium A level chemistry - rate and yield
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Equilibrium A level chemistry - rate and yield

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This lesson forms part of an AS chemistry equilibrium scheme of work and follows on from two lessons on equilibrium reactions and writing expressions for Kc. The lesson starts with a recap of Kc. Students then learn how to work out the units for Kc. Please note that from experience I have found that weaker students (grade C downwards) struggle with this so please take a lot of time to check that students feel comfortable and confident. A GSCE indices questions worksheet has been provided to support weaker students. The lesson then moves on to explaining the compromise conditions used to make ammonia in the Haber process. I show the Daniel D Dulek TED talk video here. It is absolutely excellent and stretches the students. Video questions are provided. The lesson concludes with students calculating Kc. The video is YouTube embedded so please download this video before the lesson as many schools do not allow staff access to YouTube from a school computer. Please rate this resource and leave feedback.
Work done questions and answers worksheet with formula triangle - for foundation GCSE students
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Work done questions and answers worksheet with formula triangle - for foundation GCSE students

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This is a worksheet on applying the work done formula (work done = force x distance) with questions and answers. It uses formula triangles to make the content accessible for lower ability students. The final two questions are more challenging as students need to convert from kiloNewtons to Newtons. The conversion is given at the bottom of the sheet. Please rate this resource and leave feedback.
Transition metals High School Chemistry tarsia - use as lesson starter, plenary or revision
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Transition metals High School Chemistry tarsia - use as lesson starter, plenary or revision

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This is a fun High School Chemistry tarsia for revision of transition metals and is suitable for more able students. There are 16 triangles with 18 pairs of questions and answers that make a parallelogram. I suggest that the A4 tarsia is printed on card and then the outline is cut out. Students can then quickly cut out the individual triangles. Included are the following topics: transition metal uses, transition metal properties, magnetic metals, catalysts, aqueous copper ion colour, pH of iron hydroxide vs iron nitrate. The tarsia software is free to download but there is not currently a version for Mac computers.
Atomic theory GCSE Chemistry tarsia - use as starter, plenary or revision
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Atomic theory GCSE Chemistry tarsia - use as starter, plenary or revision

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This is a fun yet challenging GCSE Chemistry tarsia for comparing different theories of atomic structure. There are 18 triangles with 21 pairs of questions and answers that make a kite shape. I suggest that the A4 tarsia is printed on card and then the outline is cut out. Students can then quickly cut out the individual triangles. Included are the following topics: names of scientists such E.R. Rutherford and J.J. Thomnson who played important roles in developing atomic theory, isotopes, electron shells and the periodic table, charge on subatomic particles and comparisons of the main models. The 'fjsw' file can be opened and modified with tarsia software. The tarsia software is free to download but there is not currently a version for Mac computers.
Enthalpy change of combustion - predicting using bond enthalpies and practical
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Enthalpy change of combustion - predicting using bond enthalpies and practical

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This is a lesson in the third lesson in a scheme of work on energetics for the first year of A level chemistry. Students use bond enthalpy data (required learning) to predict the enthalpy of combustion of methanol, ethanol and propan-1-ol. Please check that you have these chemicals available for practical use. Students carry out a calorimetry practical and then calculate the enthalpy change of combustion (covered in a lesson on Q = mc delta T - see my other resources). It is suggested that each pair of students use a different chemical and carry out repeat experiments in order to work out an average value. Different groups then share their results. Students compare their theoretical values with actual values and come up with reasons as to why these values differ. Praise may given to groups that take care to reduce error in their experimentation and produce actual values that are close to the predicted values. There are homework questions that can be e-mailed to the students as a PowerPoint. Please rate this resource and leave feedback.
Alkenes GCSE - 2016 specification - includes tests with bromine, chlorine and iodine + practical
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Alkenes GCSE - 2016 specification - includes tests with bromine, chlorine and iodine + practical

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This is a chemistry lesson designed for the 2016 specification for the exam board AQA. The updated specification specifically makes reference to chlorine and iodine and so the results of alkene tests with these halogens has been included. There is a practical that is based on a RSC practical. Instructions and safety advice for the practical are included in the lesson. Please only carry out the practical in a room with windows that is well ventilated. The lesson starts with a recap of cracking - this is taught previously in my scheme of work. It then moves on to alkene formulae. The students then carry out the alkenes and bromine water practical. They then write word and symbol equation for the tests. More able students can identify the functional groups in the molecules. The lesson finishes with a fun plenary using whiteboards. Please rate this resource and leave feedback.
Photosynthesis GCSE tarsia - challenging
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Photosynthesis GCSE tarsia - challenging

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This is a fun yet challenging GCSE Biology tarsia for revision of photosynthesis. This can also be used as an assessment for learning tool at the end of the lesson. There are 16 triangles with 18 pairs of questions and answers that make an equilateral triangle. I suggest that the A4 tarsia is printed on card and then the outline is cut out. Students can then quickly cut out the individual triangles. Included are the following topics: organs of a plant, minerals, formulae of chemicals in the photosynthesis symbol equation, limiting factors and chlorophyll. The 'fjsw' file can be opened and modified with tarsia software. The software is free to download but there is not currently a version for Mac computers.
History of the periodic table GCSE tarsia - use as lesson starter, plenary or revision
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History of the periodic table GCSE tarsia - use as lesson starter, plenary or revision

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This is a GCSE chemistry tarsia for revision of history of the periodic table. I suggest that the A4 tarsia is printed on card and then the outline is cut out. Students can then quickly cut out the individual triangles. Included are the following topics: nationality of Dobereiner, Newlands and Mendeleev, law of triads, law of octaves, atomic number, gallium, number of natural elements and number of elements known to Mendeleev, grouping of the elements. The 'fjsw' file can be opened and modified with tarsia software that is free to download. Please note that the software does not work on Mac computers.
French ER verbs present tense tarsia - jouer, parler, regarder - use as starter, plenary, revision
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French ER verbs present tense tarsia - jouer, parler, regarder - use as starter, plenary, revision

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This is a fully differentiated tarsia puzzle for conjugating French ER verbs in the present tense. It is a fun kinesthetic way of revising verb conjugation. It gets students to more fully understand spoken and written language by helping them appreciate that 'I play' is the same as 'I am playing' . This sort of revision activity is particularly useful for boys. There are 18 pairs of questions and answers written in 16 triangles. When properly assembled a large equilateral triangle is formed. Answers are provided as well an 'easy start' that provides 4 of the 16 triangles as a starting point for weaker students. The 'group 1 metals A4 2 page' is an A4 tarsia that has 8 triangles per page. I suggest that these are printed on card and students cut them out. They are great for AFL. end of lesson plenary or plenary. If the writing of the A4 tarsia is too small then use the medium version.
Group 2 nitrates and carbonates - AS Chemistry
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Group 2 nitrates and carbonates - AS Chemistry

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This is an engaging AS Chemistry lesson on the group 1 and 2 nitrate and carbonate decompositions and has grades C to A. The starter is fire writing using sodium nitrate solution. Please read CLEAPPS safety and Royal Society of Chemistry advice on this compound and the practical. For grade C students describe the reactions. For grade B students explain the decompositions and for grade A they evaluate their answers. An extra activity such a diamond 4 could be included for students to rank their answers. Please rate this resource and leave feedback.
Expanding brackets fun High School Mathematics tarsia - use for lesson starter, plenary or revision
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Expanding brackets fun High School Mathematics tarsia - use for lesson starter, plenary or revision

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This is a fun expanding brackets fun High School Mathematics tarsia. There are 16 triangles with 18 pairs of questions and answers that make an equilateral triangle shape. I suggest that the A4 tarsia is printed on card and then the outline is cut out. Students can then quickly cut out the individual triangles. The question and answer pairs are designed to be very similar so that students need to carefully think about what they are expanding and simplifying. The 'fjsw' file can be opened and modified with tarsia software. The tarsia software is free to download but there is not currently a version for Mac computers.
Polar covalent bonding lesson - A level chemistry - covers polarity, covalent vs ionic bonding
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Polar covalent bonding lesson - A level chemistry - covers polarity, covalent vs ionic bonding

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This is a comprehensive set of differentiated lesson resources that cover polar covalent bonding. Within the lesson are Pauling electronegativity values that can be used to determine the extent of covalent bonding between two atoms. The lesson begins with a recap of ionic and covalent bonding definitions from GCSE. There is then a discussion on electronegativity differences between atoms. Students then carry out the kinesthetic task where put different comments about bonding on a scale from pure covalent to pure ionic. This scale can be printed on A3 paper. The comments can be printed on A4 paper. There is then a peer editing question task and plenary exam questions with markschemes. Please rate this resource and leave feedback.
Atomic theory GCSE - outstanding lesson
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Atomic theory GCSE - outstanding lesson

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This is a comprehensive lesson on atomic theory designed for the AQA GCSE specification. The starter is a recap crossword on atomic structure (assumed knowledge). The lesson then takes a chronological journey from the ancient Greeks to alchemy to the Enlightenment and then the 1800s/ early 1900s where Rutherford et al developed the modern model of the atom. The theory activity works really well with all ability and shows that there is little or no evidence to support the early cubic model but there lots of evidence to support the GCSE Bohr model. The lesson finishes with a 6 mark question that is peer marked using a marking grid. Please rate this resource and leave feedback.
Metals alloys lesson GCSE - independent learning through role play, creative task and using data
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Metals alloys lesson GCSE - independent learning through role play, creative task and using data

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This is an independent learning lesson on alloys for GCSE chemistry. It is designed to promote independent learning and higher level thinking through role play, designing an aeroplane and justifying the choice of metals used by using data from a data table. The lesson starts by getting students to think about what three properties metals used to make the worlds fastest jet engined plane (SR-71 Blackbird) would need. Students could be shown a short video from YouTube to prompt their thinking and write their answers on post-it notes. They they then discuss what alloys are and could be asked identify the alloys in the metal trump cards pack (this would need to be printed in advance). They are then introduced to the 4 person role play task where they design an aeroplane. Limit their on this task to around 20 minutes. At the end they could either present their work or answer the 6 mark exam question at the end of the lesson. There is a student-friendly marking grid provided. The lesson menu is available for weaker students. Please look carefully at each of the resources provided before the lesson and decide which ones would best suit your group and length of lesson. Please rate this resource and leave feedback.