This post discusses the use of student generated posters and includes a video guide for students on how to prepare posters


One of the nice ways of getting students to think about chemistry, especially at introductory levels, is to have them present on something topical that can be related to their core chemistry. This can be useful for chemistry programmes with specific contexts-for example medicinal chemistry, forensic chemistry, etc. Several institutions use the idea of chemistry posters, whereby students prepare a poster on a chemistry topic and present it to their peers and staff either in person or virtually. 

In my experience of doing this, I have found that students either do well in the graphical element of poster preparation or in the inclusion of relevant and appropriate chemistry. To have both in the same poster is less common. In my institution, students are given an initial source of information, and they use this to begin to build up their poster, referring to further sources as required. I feel that this approach helps students, especially at the introductory level, to get a good start on building up the chemistry information on the poster from a reputable source.

To help with this, I prepared a video for my students on how to prepare chemistry posters. These posters differ of course from traditional research posters. They are smaller in size (we use A1), and focus on including relevant aspects of chemistry to explain a topic. But there are lessons that can be learned from this exercise that will be useful to students if they need to prepare research posters in the future. These include thinking of the core message of the presentation, considering a visual rather than text-based medium, and considering the audience of the poster. 

A video describing how to prepare a student poster in chemistry, detailing how to set up MS PowerPoint and how to plan your poster content. An accompanying guide is available at:

One of the hard jobs for us as educators is to think of poster topics. They need to be topical enough to engage students and have an appropriate theme so that they can relate to their chemistry currently being studied. I find that articles in Education in Chemistry and Chemistry World are great for this. They have some good chemistry at their core, but are of interest and relevance (to have appeared in the magazine in the first place).  I've listed out some of the ones I have compiled below. If you have any more ideas for sourcing titles, please do share in the comments section! For the more recent Education in Chemistry articles, you'll see links to the article online - many thanks to David Sait from EiC for providing these links!

Poster Title Initial Reference to Source
Synthesis of Ammonia Education in Chemistry, 2007, May, 82
Hydrogen Fuel Storage Education in Chemistry, 2007, Nov, 176
Greenhouses Gases Education in Chemistry, 2008, Jan, 17
Nanomedicines Education in Chemistry, 2008, Jul, 113
The chemistry of smell Education in Chemistry, 2009, Mar, 45
Ocean Acidification Education in Chemistry, 2009, Nov, 182
Photocatalysts for Self-Cleaning Surfaces Education in Chemistry, 2010, Jan, 14
Breath Analysis Education in Chemistry, 2010, Jul, 110
Carbon Capture and Storage Education in Chemistry, 2010, July, 114
Detecting Drug Abuse in Sport Education in Chemistry, 2010, March, 44
Mass Spectrometry Education in Chemistry, 2010, May, 75-82
Lead in the Environment Education in Chemistry, 2010, Sept, 153
Medicinal Applications of Iodine Education in Chemistry, 2011, Jun, 120
Catalytic Converters Education in Chemistry, 2011, Jun, 107
Medicinal Properties of Radium Education in Chemistry, 2011, March, 56
Curare and the case of Mario Jascalevich Education in Chemistry, 2011, May, 84
Isolating Fluorine Gas Education in Chemistry, 2011, Sept, 148-151
What’s in your strawberries? Education in Chemistry, 2012, May, 23.
Eradicating Malaria Chemistry World, 2008, Apr, 50.
A whisky tour Chemistry World, 2008, Dec, 40.
Drugs in Drinking Water Chemistry World, 2008, Sept, 48.
The Artificial Leaf Chemistry World, 2009, May, 42.
The Science of Cocktails Chemistry World, 2010, December, 35.
Insect Repellants Chemistry World, 2010, Sept, 44
Counterfeit Medicines Chemistry World, 2011, Jan, 56
Nitrous Oxide Chemistry World, 2011, June, 44
Particle Size Analysis Chemistry World, 2011, Mar, 51
Coffee: Friend of Foe Chemistry World, 2011, May, 36
Chemistry of Coffee Chemistry World, 2011, May, 36.
Hydrogen Fuel Cells Chemistry World, 2011, Oct, 44
New materials for lightweight aircraft Chemistry World, 2011, Oct, 60
Chemistry of Diamonds Chemistry World, 2011, Sept, 48.
Photodynamic Therapy Chemistry World, 2012, Apr, 52.
Nanosilver in the environment Chemistry World, 2012, Feb, 37
Desalinating Water for future supply Chemistry World, 2012, Feb, 44
The chemistry of early life Chemistry World, 2012, Jul, 51
Explosive Detection Chemistry World, 2012, May, 49
the Discovery of DNA Chemistry World, 2012, Nov, 59
Smart Clothing Chemistry World, 2012, Oct, 59
Nanoparticle Plasmons Chemistry World, 2012, Sept, 56
Solid Oxide fuel cells Education in Chemistry InfoChem Supplement, 2011, Sept.
Uses of Electrochemical Cells Education in Chemistry, 1996, Nov, 154
Ozone: Protector or Pollutor Education in Chemistry, 1999, July, 99.
Ecstacy Education in Chemistry, 2001, Sept, 123.
Acid Rain Education in Chemistry, 2002, Jul, 101
Fingerprint Detection Education in Chemistry, 2002, Jul, 105
Modern Fibres for future clothing Education in Chemistry, 2002, Mar, 43
Clean Water Supply Education in Chemistry, 2002, May, InfoChem page 2
Detecting Chemicals in the Universe Education in Chemistry, 2002, Nov, 152
Air Analysis Education in Chemistry, 2003, Nov, 154
Chemistry of Paints Education in Chemistry, 2003, Sept, 123
Thallium Poisoning Education in Chemistry, 2003, Sept, 132
Explosive Chemistry Education in Chemistry, 2004, 159
Photodynamic Therapy Education in Chemistry, 2004, May, 71.
Cleaning Up: Formulation Chemistry Education in Chemistry, 2004, May, 77
Chiral molecules Education in Chemistry, 2004, Sept, 123
Chemistry at the origin of life Education in Chemistry, 2005, Jan, 21
Paracetamol Education in Chemistry, 2005, Jul, 102.
Preparing and Characterising Nanoparticles Education in Chemistry, 2005, Jul, 99
DVD Chemistry Education in Chemistry, 2005, Mar, 42
Smart Glass Education in Chemistry, 2005, May, 75
CFCs and the Environment Education in Chemistry, 2005, Sept, 124
A new generation of anti-malarials Education in Chemistry, 2006, Jul