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Outstanding GCSE and A level chemistry resources

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(based on 457 reviews)

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.
Iodoform reaction - A level chemistry - includes RSC practical
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Iodoform reaction - A level chemistry - includes RSC practical

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This is a thoroughly planned lesson on the iodoform reaction that may should take a total of approximately 2 hours (2 lessons). This forms part of a scheme of work on carbonyl compounds. The RSC practical that is included works well. Please carefully read through the safety advice provided by the RSC and take care when disposing of the products. The starter recaps previous learning where students match up different carbonyl compound tests with their observations and the species being tested for. The lesson then moves into a discussion of what the iodoform reaction tests for and students identify compounds that would test positively. Whiteboards could be used for assessment for learning. The students might then carry out the RSC practical in pairs. Please rate this resource and leave feedback.
Fun and engaging science videos database
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Fun and engaging science videos database

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This Excel spreadsheet contains links to 48 fun and engaging science videos that are hosted on YouTube. These may be used for countdown timers, engaging starters or as instructional videos to accompany a main lesson activity. The spreadsheet can searched using a keyword for the topic that you are interested in. I have all of these downloaded to a hard drive (approximately 3GB of data) and am happy to make copies of these so please get in touch using my TES inbox.
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.
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.
Constructing Born Haber cycles - AS Chemistry
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Constructing Born Haber cycles - AS Chemistry

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This is an AS Chemistry lesson on constructing Born Haber cycles in order to calculate lattice enthalpy for ionic compounds. Students do not calculate lattice enthalpies in this lesson but rather consider using a diamond nine how various factors affect how exothermic the lattice enthalpy value is. I suggest printing the diamond nine on slide 23 and using it as a kinesthetic activity. Please rate this resource and leave feedback
Chemistry science club for KS4 and A level - Ethanol as an alternative fuel source
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Chemistry science club for KS4 and A level - Ethanol as an alternative fuel source

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This is a planned lesson sequence for delivering an 18 lesson science club for older students. They investigate ethanol as an alternative fuel source to petrol. The lessons cover: the ethanol rocket demo, making ethanol by fermentation from sucrose (sugar) then filtration and distillation, making ethanol from glucose produced by cellulase digestion of cellulose (mashed up filter paper) then filtration and distillation. basic titration, advanced titration of ethanol to calculate concentration, calorimetry, comparison of the different methods of ethanol production. Links to RSC practicals are provided for all of the demo and practicals and a total of 8 risk assessments have been written for all of the practicals with links to CLEAPPS. Calorimetry lessons are available from my other resources. Please rate these resources and leave feedback.
Infrared spectroscopy AS level chemistry
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Infrared spectroscopy AS level chemistry

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This is a lesson graded C to A on infrared spectroscopy. Expected prior learning is functional groups and how to draw organic molecules such as carboxylic acids. Students could write on the laminated sheets using whiteboard pens. The lesson provides extensive differentiation. The starter is a crossword created using a program on The Teachers Corner and IR data used is from the NIST Chemistry WebBook. Both of these resources are referenced at the beginning of the lesson. A data sheet needs to be provided as this is a lesson that uses the Edexcel GCE Chemistry data book. Please rate this resource and leave feedback.
Entropy lesson - Senior High School Chemistry - oustanding
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Entropy lesson - Senior High School Chemistry - oustanding

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This is a lesson on entropy for Senior High School 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 UK Royal Society of Chemistry 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.
Enthalpy changes - Q = mc delta T calculations lesson with tips
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Enthalpy changes - Q = mc delta T calculations lesson with tips

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This is the second lesson in a an Energetics scheme of work for the first year of A level chemistry. The starter is an enthalpy change definitions match up activity and therefore knowledge of different types of enthalpy change is required learning. The lesson then moves into writing symbol equations for different enthalpy changes. There are various demo practicals that could be shown at this point in the the lesson - such as the hydrogen balloon or the ethanol rocket. There are then tips given about using the formula q = mc delta T with two worked examples. Students then answer three questions. Please rate this resource and leave feedback.
Haber process High School Chemistry tarsia - use as lesson starter, plenary or for revision
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Haber process High School Chemistry tarsia - use as lesson starter, plenary or for revision

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This is a fun yet challenging High School Chemistry tarsia for revision of the Haber process. 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: formula of ammonia, catalyst used, conditions used, feedstocks, reversible reactions, equilibrium, endothermic, exothermic, yield and rate of reaction. 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.
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.
Balancing equations GCSE
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Balancing equations GCSE

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This covers balancing equations skills for GCSE. This is lesson 2 in the atomic structure scheme of work for the AQA 2016 specification. The lesson starts with a recap of elements, compounds and formulae (lesson 1 in the AQA atomic structure scheme of work). The lesson then has a demo of the sodium and chlorine reaction. Students are then introduced to the rules for balancing equations. They can balance equations using the particle diagrams method that is included in the main lesson. Alternatively students could use the column method or use boiled sweets that are included separately. The challenge is to balance equations that use brackets and to balance half equations. Please rate this resource and leave feedback.
History of the periodic table GCSE - includes Mendeleev, Newlands and noble gases
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History of the periodic table GCSE - includes Mendeleev, Newlands and noble gases

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This lesson forms part of the chemistry GCSE atomic structure scheme of work for the new 2016 AQA specification. The starter is a fun kinsthetic activity where students put element cards into groups. These cards are available to buy from Royal Society for Chemistry. A link is included on the slide. Alternatively students could make a pack of element fact cards for homework and bring them to lesson for the starter activity. Students are then introduced to Dobereiner and Newlands. They watch a 3 minute YouTube video about Mendeleev and answer the questions provided. Students then consider that Mendeleev missed group 8/0 elements and swapped iodine / tellurium so that the group 7 elements are all non-metals (i.e. why de not always put elements in order of increasing atomic weight). There is an activity where students consider the good and bad things about each scientists methodology and write an explanation for why we now use Mendeleevs table. Finally there is an exam question plenary. Please rate this resource and leave feedback.
GCSE Chemistry assessment, markscheme and detailed feedback sheet - atoms, ions, flame tests
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GCSE Chemistry assessment, markscheme and detailed feedback sheet - atoms, ions, flame tests

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This is an end of topic test that I have put together for GCSE Chemistry. I have created my own exam questions and resources as well as using freely available exam questions from past papers available online. I have created a detailed feedback sheet that students use to peer assess their work or the teacher can do this. It covers atomic structure and flame tests. A revision homework with questions and two model answers is provided.
Distillation GCSE tarsia - use as lesson starter, plenary or revision
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Distillation GCSE tarsia - use as lesson starter, plenary or revision

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This is a fun GCSE chemistry tarsia for revision of rates of distillation. 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: apparatus, bonds between particles, order of evaporation, pure vs impure substances, naming fractional distillation, naming steam distillation, change of state. The tarsia software is free to download but there is not currently a version for Mac computers.
Elements and compounds KS3 tarsia - use as a lesson starter, plenary or revision
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Elements and compounds KS3 tarsia - use as a lesson starter, plenary or revision

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This is a KS3 chemistry tarsia for revision of elements and compounds. 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: number of atoms in a molecule, number of elements in a compound, definition of elements and compounds.
Mass spectrometry for A level Chemistry
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Mass spectrometry for A level Chemistry

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This is a thorough set of structured resources on mass spectrometry . The starter is a fun Just a Minute literacy activity that recaps GCSE understanding of mass spectrometry. There is then a highly structured series of slides that discuss how bond enthalpy (bond strength) data can be used to determine which bonds in a molecule will break. Slide 14 (bond enthalpy data) can be printed as a handout for the students to use for the grade C task. The grade B/A task is where students identify molecules from their mass spectrometry spectra. The mass spectra to be identified can be laminated and students can annotate the laminates using whiteboard pens. The answers and a markscheme is provided on the PowerPoint. Please rate this resource and leave feedback.
Alcohols GCSE - includes dot and cross digram, fermentation vs hydration, displayed formulae
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Alcohols GCSE - includes dot and cross digram, fermentation vs hydration, displayed formulae

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This is a thoroughly differentiated GSCE chemistry lesson on alcohols for the 2016 GCSE chemistry specification. It forms part of the AQA organic chemistry scheme of work, topic 4.7. The lesson starts with students recapping prior learning on molecular formulae. Students are then introduced to the idea that the substance in alcohol is ethanol and that there are 2 main ways of making ethanol. They write word and symbol equations for these 2 methods. More able students draw the displayed formula and dot and cross diagram of ethanol (2016 specification requirement) whilst weaker students complete the equations activity. Students then compare the advantages and disadvantages of the two methods of making ethanol. The lesson concludes with an exam question plenary. Please rate this resource and leave feedback.
Metals and non-metals KS3 tarsia
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Metals and non-metals KS3 tarsia

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This is a fun KS3 chemistry tarsia for revision of metals and non-metals. 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: element symbols and properties of metals and non-metals. 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.