Web watch: Tony Tooth looks at some websites that may be of interest to chemistry teachers
Chalkbored advertises and briefly summarises the book of the same name. However, at the bottom of the screen, in a small font, is a link to a list of 'resources for high school chemistry: worksheets, labs, handouts, and PowerPoint lessons'. Although a US-based site, there is much here that is potentially valuable for UK courses, especially at GCSE level.
The 86 resources cover five familiar chemical themes - Matter and chemical bonding, Quantities in chemical reactions, Solutions and solubility, Gases and atmospheric chemistry, and Hydrocarbons and energy. For each theme there are suggestions for student practical activities, which you must risk assess before using with your students. The worksheets offer good explanations and include clear diagrams. The notes are interspersed with examples and questions (for which there is usually a separate file with answers). My only criticism of the worksheets is that there is sometimes a bit too much information on a page.
Most PowerPoint presentations are accompanied by a pdf file containing a summary of the slides, which is useful for putting into teaching files. But again I recommend you do some advance planning before using the presentations because there are some oddities, such as the use of unbalanced equations in the PowerPoint on the reactivity series.
Labmouse hosts an online version of the LabMouse chemistry virtual laboratory CD-ROMs. The material has been re-organised to match closer to the 2008 AQA AS/A2 chemistry specification. Given the amount of overlap, however, the material could also be used to support the teaching of other A-level specifications.
Links from the homepage lead to AS and A2 resources and an 'answers crib sheet' section. The AS and A2 sections are divided up in-line with the structure of the AQA specification. The site is well worth a visit, topic by topic, since there is far too much material here to take on board all at once.
Each section includes a clear sequence of summary notes interspersed with interactive examples that can be filled in by clicking on suggested alternative answers. The site is under development so there are inevitable glitches, eg incorrect balancing in the first Hess cycle example in the AS energetics topic, and users are encouraged to report any errors via e-mail.
Teachers new to A-level will find lots here to inform and support their teaching. This would also be a suitable revision site to direct students to. The practical exercises will be useful for revision in class because a procedure can be worked through by following a series of instructions on an interactive animation - though I recommend you practice first to get a feel for how the process works. You should also prepare results sheets in advance so that data can be recorded from the screen.
Contact and Further Information
If you know of any websites that should be reviewed in Education in Chemistry, please send the URL to our Web watch reviewer
Email: Tony Tooth