A selection of resources and activities to use remotely with your 11–14 classes

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We have compiled a selection of curriculum-relevant resources to use with your students, linking to topics taught all over the UK and ROI. This page will be updated every Wednesday with any new resources.

The RSC’s education coordinators have selected a number of resources and activities covering a range of levels to use while teaching chemistry remotely. From worksheets to videos, these resources will help with distance learning across all curriuclums for the UK and ROI. Simply follow the short links to access them.

Pure and impure substances

This short article, Poisoned by milk: Fighting food fraud with chromatography, and its accompanying activities cover how chromatography and scientists’ quick thinking solved an infamous food and drink scare that affected baby milk and well-known chocolate brands. They are perfect for sharing with students to show them that chromatography is still relevant and at the cutting edge of analytical science. Download the worksheets (for 11–14 or 14–16), which use the food fraud concept to frame questions about chromatography’s underlying concepts. The products discussed are well-known household items, and you could also challenge students to examine any sweets they have at home for the same ingredients. You can also find many other activities related to chromatography and targeted at this age group, for example a worksheet linking particle theory, attached to this article.

Also, inspire students with the story of Neelum Munir, a chromatography sales specialist who failed chemistry in school but still built a successful career.

Besides chromatography, you can read more about teaching evaporation, filtration and crystallisation to the 11–14 age group in this Education in Chemistry article, which comes with lots of handy links itself. For example, number nine in the list at the bottom of the page: a worksheet designed to probe students’ understanding of the differences between elements, compounds and mixtures. Combine it with this resource on the conservation of mass on dissolving. A worksheet with answers, it is designed to provide strategies for dealing with some of the misconceptions students have.

In addition, this article on teaching separation techniques comes with a worksheet to help students explain distillation using the particle model, as well as advice to assist you in supporting students when teaching the topic.

Pure and impure substances

This short article, ‘Poisoned by milk: Fighting food fraud with chromatography’ (rsc.li/3eIlxJ1), and its accompanying activities cover how chromatography and scientists’ quick thinking solved an infamous food and drink scare that affected baby milk and well-known chocolate brands. They are perfect for sharing with students to show them that chromatography is still relevant and at the cutting edge of analytical science. Download the worksheets (for 11–14 or 14–16), which use the food fraud concept to frame questions about chromatography’s underlying concepts. The products discussed are well-known household items, and you could also challenge students to examine any sweets they have at home for the same ingredients. You can also find many other activities related to chromatography and targeted at this age group, for example a worksheet linking particle theory, in this list (rsc.li/2xEmCkJ).

Also, inspire students with the story of Neelum Munir, a chromatography sales specialist who failed chemistry in school but still built a successful career (rsc.li/3eFn9mZ).

Besides chromatography, you can read more about teaching evaporation, filtration and crystallisation to the 11–14 age group in this Education in Chemistry article (rsc.li/2VKHQoV), which comes with lots of handy links itself. For example, number nine in the list at the bottom of the page: a worksheet designed to probe students’ understanding of the differences between elements, compounds and mixtures (rsc.li/2VKI2Vb). Combine it with this resource on the conservation of mass on dissolving (rsc.li/3eFegK3). A worksheet with answers, it is designed to provide strategies for dealing with some of the misconceptions students have.

In addition, this article on teaching separation techniques (rsc.li/2RY1yfE) comes with a worksheet to help students explain distillation using the particle model, as well as advice to assist you in supporting students when teaching the topic.

Earth and atmosphere

This article, Taking care of the air, examines the topic of air pollution, something commonly included in exam specifications. Have students read the article and do some of the related activities. You could even combine it with the data analysis task from the article How do trees clean our air?, which uses real NO2 data.

A slightly different approach to science learning and investigation, including science writing and thinking about public policy, the Education in Chemistry article Eruption! comes with a worksheet containing three different activities, allowing students to work on their science vocabulary and data analysis skills.

Earth and atmosphere

The article ‘Taking care of the air’ (rsc.li/2XU7KcD), examines the topic of air pollution, something commonly included in exam specifications. Have students read the article and do some of the related activities. You could even combine it with the data analysis task from the article ‘How do trees clean our air?’ (rsc.li/2zeyjPe), which uses real NO2 data.

A slightly different approach to science learning and investigation, including science writing and thinking about public policy, the Education in Chemistry article ‘Eruption!’ comes with a worksheet containing three different activities, allowing students to work on their science vocabulary and data analysis skills (rsc.li/3cDacs4).

Periodic table and the elements

Thanks to the International Year of the Periodic Table, there is a huge number of resources for this topic; it could span several lessons, plus ‘homework’. For example, be creative with periodic table bingo: have students write clues themselves, play it over videolink – whatever you can think of. The accompanying Powerpoint resource, Introducing the periodic table is (as the name suggests) great for introducing students to the periodic table.

Students can also listen to a podcast on the discovery of buckminsterfullerene, or familiarise themselves with the periodic table using one of many interactive games and videos. Martyn Poliakoff and his Periodic table of videos series have been YouTube-famous for over ten years now – and in 2015 he partnered with TED-Ed to produce an interactive periodic table where each element connects to one of the videos. You can also direct students to this interactive game to help them explore trends and patterns in elements and their positions in the table.

Beyond the structure of the periodic table, use this activity sheet alongside the build an atom simulation to reinforce ideas about the structure of atoms to your pupils. It may be useful for recapping a topic already taught in school.

Periodic table and the elements

Thanks to the International Year of the Periodic Table, there is a huge number of resources for this topic (rsc.li/34QZLOW); it could span several lessons, plus ‘homework’. For example, be creative with periodic table bingo (rsc.li/3btJTUO): have students write clues themselves, play it over videolink – whatever you can think of. This Powerpoint resource, ‘Introducing the periodic table’ (rsc.li/3eEDW9J), is (as the name suggests) great for introducing students to the periodic table.

Students can also listen to a podcast on the discovery of buckminsterfullerene (rsc.li/3aoaFg5), or familiarise themselves with the periodic table using one of many interactive games and videos. Martyn Poliakoff and his Periodic table of videos series have been YouTube-famous for over ten years now – and in 2015 he partnered with TED-Ed to produce an interactive periodic table where each element connects to one of the videos (rsc.li/2XSAhPz). You can also direct students to this interactive game to help them explore trends and patterns in elements and their positions in the table (rsc.li/2zlgqyr).

Beyond the structure of the periodic table, use this activity sheet that comes with the build an atom simulation to reinforce ideas about the structure of atoms to your pupils (rsc.li/2wZT68A). It may be useful for recapping a topic already taught in school.

Materials

Topical due to the cancellation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, these two resources (OIympic composites and Olympic materials) on the materials used in sports both come with a teacher presentation and student worksheet. If you’re looking for a practical activity to go along with it, CLEAPSS have published a list of practicals to do at home – and this one on Making trace fossils could be a fun alternative to the one suggested in the Olympic composites resource. 

Set students further reading on composites with this article from The Mole, the RSC’s magazine for students that ceased publishing in 2015. (And find other articles that students may find interesting on a wide range of other topics.)

Show students this video on polythene production to bring in an element of chemistry in industry, and use it with the accompanying diagrams and worksheets to check pupils’ understanding of the video content. The same series also has similar videos and activities for sulfuric acid and iron and steel. You could also get students to fill in the worksheets without watching the video if they have limited computer access.

Materials

Topical due to the cancellation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, ‘OIympic composites’ (rsc.li/2wZTF2c) and ‘Olympic materials’ (rsc.li/2XY6dlF) are two resources on the materials used in sports, and both come with a teacher presentation and student worksheet. If you’re looking for a practical activity to go along with it, this CLEAPSS-approved activity called ‘Making trace fossils’ could be a fun alternative to the one suggested in the Olympic composites resource (bit.ly/2VKbdYA). 

Set students further reading on composites with this article (rsc.li/3cF4Jkz) from The Mole, the RSC’s magazine for students that ceased publishing in 2015. (And find other articles that students may find interesting on a wide range of other topics.)

Show students this video on polythene production (rsc.li/2KoQ2WE) to bring in an element of chemistry in industry, and use it with the accompanying diagrams and worksheets to check pupils’ understanding of the video content. The ‘Alchemy’ series also has similar videos and activities for sulfuric acid, nylon, and a wealth of other materials and processes. You could also get students to fill in the worksheets without watching the video if they have limited computer access.

Metals

All of the articles in our 11–14 chemistry CPD series contain some useful advice, as well as some handy downloads and support for progression to 14–16 learning – and some of the most recent ones have tackled the topic of (non-)metals. So besides picking up some teaching tips, you can use these articles to help banish misconceptions about the properties of metals and non-metals, as well as build understanding about metal extraction with the accompanying worksheets.

You could also link these to the reactivity series, and this article on displacement reactions (from the same 11–14 CPD series) has a grid you can download to use as a formative assessment task for checking learning.

Metals

All of the articles in our 11–14 chemistry CPD series (rsc.li/3cF4Z34) contain some useful tips, as well as some handy downloads and support for progression to 14–16 learning – and some of the most recent ones have tackled the topic of (non-)metals. So besides picking up some teaching tips, you can use these articles to help banish misconceptions about the properties of metals and non-metals (rsc.li/3eH0cja), as well as build understanding about metal extraction (rsc.li/3eysaxw) with the accompanying worksheets. These resources from the ‘Alchemy’ series mentioned above on copper refining could also be a good add-on here (rsc.li/3cA1RoN).

You could also link these to the reactivity series, and this article on displacement reactions (from the same 11–14 CPD series) has a grid you can download to use as a formative assessment task for checking learning (rsc.li/2XY9rFN).

Chemical reactions

If your students have computers at home, use the PhET interactive simulations, for example on pH, as online ‘experiments’ for them to investigate. The simulations can be easily paired with other activities – for example, this starter slide on measuring acidity using sound (students can test it out at home with a hot chocolate or coffee).

Other topics

Find activities for many more topics in our Inspirational chemistry resources and fun Gridlock puzzles.

Other topics

Find activities for many more topics in our Inspirational chemistry resources (rsc.li/2RZq5kK) and fun Gridlock puzzles (rsc.li/2VH4OgE).

Do you have other great resources or tips for teaching 11–14 chemistry remotely? Share them with your colleagues in the comments below.