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    Chemistry Olympiad past papers

    Past papers from the Chemistry Olympiad , from 2003 to 2019, inclusive. Files include test papers, mark schemes and examiners’ reports, organised by year.  You can view the Olympiad support booklet  or access video question walkthroughs from the Olympiad Bites series in the Related Articles section below.

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    Rates and equilibria

    This activity demonstrates the links between the topics of rates of reaction and the equilibrium law. It provides students with an explanation of the equilibrium law and helps them explain why Le Chatelier’s principle works for temperature, concentration and pressure.

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    Organising your thoughts

    These activities are designed to help students clarify the relationship between various parts of their knowledge and develop the skill of using Venn-like diagrams in organising their understanding.

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    Chemistry Olympiad Support Booklet

    This booklet is designed with two purposes in mind: to help and encourage ambitious post-16 chemistry students to do well in future competitions; and as a valuable teaching resource for schools to stretch and challenge gifted students.

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    DIY Su Doku spreadsheet

    An excel spreadsheet to help create your own chemistry Su Duko.

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    Swimming pool chemistry

    This activity is synoptic in nature, with questions on many different aspects of chemistry. It is context driven, looking at a collection of interesting chemistry that can be derived from swimming pools.

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    Shapes of molecules and ions

    This activity draws some extra concepts and mathematical skills into the discussion of molecular shape. A distinction between geometry around the central atom and the shape of the molecule is made.

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    The second law of thermodynamics

    This activity aims to introduce the topic in a way that uses the students’ synthesis skills to piece together several pieces of information.

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    Oxidation numbers

    This activity introduces oxidation numbers by giving a conceptual foundation for them in terms of electron accounting and polar bonds. It then shows how the model used so far needs refining.

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    Organic reaction maps

    This activity encourages the use of mind maps to organise information. It also highlights where oxidation and reduction are involved in transformations between functional groups.

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    Odd one out (organic)

    This activity should encourage a rapid consideration of the range of concepts met in organic chemistry.

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    Mixing drinks

    The activity uses two methods to develop metacognition. First, students are asked to solve a problem and then reflect on the thinking styles that they used. In the other method students discuss four modelled thinking styles of fictional students.

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    Formal charge

    This activity introduces formal charge – a useful tool which otherwise might not be taught. The formal charge model treats bonds as pure covalent, in contrast to the oxidation state model which treats bonds as ionic.

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    Entropy and equilibrium

    This activity shows the students the fundamental link between entropy and equilibrium and increases students understanding of scientific models. It highlights the importance of mathematical descriptions in physical chemistry.

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    Covalent bonding

    This activity seeks to develop an understanding of covalent bonding in terms of energetic stability rather than full shells.

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    Polymer puzzles

    This activity is designed to develop the students’ higher order thinking – particularly critical thinking skills – in the context of problem solving. It should help students to recall the facts about some common polymers.

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    Trends in reactivity in the periodic table

    This could be used to follow up some work on the periodic table where the trends in reactivity in groups 1 and 7 have been identified. It can be used as a differentiated activity for the more able students within a group.

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    Elemental Su Doku

    This activity helps students gain a familiarity with the periodic table by getting them to continually refer to it in a problem solving activity.

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    Ionic bonding

    An explanation often given for ionic bonding is that atoms lose or gain electrons to achieve noble gas configurations. This activity evaluates that as a complete explanation.

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    Bonding models

    This activity gets the students to think of the model they have been taught as a model rather than the truth.