Learners need to be able to recognise different chemical reactions, including simple decomposition reactions at 11–14
This resource accompanies the Education in Chemistry article The beauty of a breakup, which provides everyday contexts for decomposition reactions.
- Identify decomposition reactions from a word equation or symbol equation.
- Use the law of conservation of mass to balance simple decomposition reactions.
Decomposition reactions are a key part of our everyday lives. The decomposition of hydrogen peroxide is responsible for bleaching hair, cleaning bathrooms and making paper white, while the decomposition of sodium hydrogen carbonate (baking soda) makes cakes rise and puts the bubbles in honeycomb.
Scientists are even looking to decomposition reactions to provide alternatives to fossil fuels, with the decomposition of water producing a cleaner source of energy for hydrogen-fuelled vehicles.
How to use the resources
Decomposition reactions allow lots of opportunities for practical work or demonstrations. Using these question sheets, learners can apply their knowledge to questions that link decomposition reactions to word equations, symbol equations and conservation of mass.
There are two versions of the worksheet. An unscaffolded version where learners can write the answers in their own words and a scaffolded version where learners can use the prompts, key words and fill-in-the-gap style questions to support their answers. The scaffolded version is denoted by the symbol ‘S’ in the document header. A challenge question is included at the end of both versions.
- Demonstrate the thermal decomposition of sodium nitrate by revealing an invisible message.
- Further explore the concept of conservation of mass with our practical video and supporting resources for 14–16 year-old learners.
- Help students navigate the law of conservation of mass with our CPD series. The article includes a classroom activity and questions, too.
- Compare the thermal stability of different metal carbonates with this class practical.
- Demonstrate the catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide with the Exhibition chemistry: the genie in a bottle.
Decomposition reactions student worksheetHandout | PDF, Size 0.18 mb
Decomposition reactions student support worksheetHandout | PDF, Size 0.2 mb
Decomposition reactions teacher notesHandout | PDF, Size 0.21 mb
Decomposition reactions student worksheetEditable handout | Word, Size 0.43 mb
Decomposition reactions student support worksheetEditable handout | Word, Size 0.44 mb
Decomposition reactions teacher notesEditable handout | Word, Size 0.43 mb
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