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Outstanding GCSE and A level chemistry resources

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.
Relative formula mass and relative atomic mass GCSE tarsia
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Relative formula mass and relative atomic mass GCSE tarsia

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This is a fun GCSE chemistry tarsia for revision of calculating relative formula mass. 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: relative atomic mass of atoms and isotopes (isotopes are limited to isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen) and relative formula mass of different compounds. 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.
An introduction to electrochemical cells - A level - includes writing half cells
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An introduction to electrochemical cells - A level - includes writing half cells

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This is a lesson for A level chemistry on electrochemical cells. It starts with students constructing a fruit cell and combing four of these cells to make a battery that powers a light bulb . These are made from a whole lemon, piece of clean copper, piece of clean zinc, electrical wires, crocodile clips and light bulb. This could be shown as a demo if there is not much time. Students offer explanations as to how this works. They are introduced to the theory behind how batteries work, what a half cell is and notation for writing half cells and E-cell. The hydrogen / H+ / platinum reference electrode is then introduced as a standard that is used to compare the voltage different half cells. Reinforce the idea that platinum is used because it a very unreactive electrical conductor. Students then use the electrode potentials table (go through this) to write the voltage and reactions for different combinations of half cells. This could be set as homework instead. The lesson finishes with an exam question plenary. 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.
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.
Science comprehension task - diabetes
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Science comprehension task - diabetes

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This is a detailed comprehension task that will push able students. The text on the discovery of insulin was taken from the Nobel Prize website. A brief glossary is provided. There are 4 levelled questions (Level 7 = A*).
Condensation polymers GCSE - 2016 specification - includes bioplastics class practical
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Condensation polymers GCSE - 2016 specification - includes bioplastics class practical

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This is chemistry lesson designed for the 2016 specification for the exam board AQA and topic 4.7 organic chemistry. This lesson covers content that is new to GCSE and was previously covered only in A level chemistry. The challenge with planning this is that students are greatly limited by what they learn at GCSE. For example they do not learn about terms such as 'arene', 'carbonyl', 'amine' and do not recognise that (CH2)6 = CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2. The lesson recaps addition polymers then introduces condensation polymers as polymers that are found in nature as well being man-made. There is an exam of an easier A level past paper question on identifying the monomers. Most A level questions on this topic are far too challenging to be put into the 2016 GCSE specification. Students then compare the environmental impact of natural vs manmade polymers (RSC paper cups activity - link has been provided) and answer a 6 mark exam question. They then peer mark the exam question using a student friendly marking grid. There is the option of carrying out a bioplastics practical that I have created - note that the bioplastics take at least 2 days to dry out. Please rate these resources 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.
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.
Haber process GCSE tarsia
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Haber process GCSE tarsia

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This is a fun yet challenging GCSE Chemistry tarsia for revision of the Haber process for the higher paper. 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.
Evolution of the atmosphere GCSE - AQA 2016 specification - Outstanding lesson
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Evolution of the atmosphere GCSE - AQA 2016 specification - Outstanding lesson

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This is a thorough set of lesson resources designed to promote engagement, pace and sustained student progress through a 60 minute GCSE lesson on the evolution of the atmosphere. The lesson has been designed for the updated 2016 specification for exam board AQA and topic 4.9 Chemistry of the atmosphere. This is the first of a series of lessons on the atmosphere. Please read the lesson plan and lesson PowerPoint. The hook is students considering what pieces of information are needed to work out if life exists on other planets. Students may then consider the Drake equation (in the PPT) and the key question "what is the link between the evolution of the atmosphere and the evolution of life?". There is an Ammonium Dichromate volcano demo (see RSC link in lesson plan). The main activity is where students create a storyboard using detailed lamented sheets and then peer assess using a marking grid that suits higher and lower ability groups. Please rate this resource and leave feedback.
Atomic structure GCSE tarsia - for lower ability students - use as starter, plenary or revision
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Atomic structure GCSE tarsia - for lower ability students - use as starter, plenary or revision

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This is a fun GCSE chemistry tarsia for revision of atomic structure. 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: subatomic particles, using the periodic table to work out the number of subatomic particles. The software is free to download but there is not currently a version for Mac computers.
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.