Peter Banks reviews an online CPD course from the Royal Society of Chemistry


Materials chemistry is one of eight online developing expertise courses from the Royal Society of Chemistry. The courses are designed to give teachers an in-depth understanding of key concepts in chemistry at pre- and post-16 levels.

The materials course is wide-ranging and includes topics from natural materials, such as wood and the elements used in smartphones, through to polymers and smart materials. It also covers a range of moral issues such as how we manage our materials and how materials may change our future.

You work through the course at your own pace. It is split into modules, each one taking you through three stages – core ideas, exploring understanding and developing understanding. These stages build up your knowledge and confidence by using videos, animations and images, as well as asking you to think about how you would approach the topics in lessons. Each module finishes by checking your understanding and suggesting additional resources and activities to use in the classroom.

I like that this course is not just about refreshing your knowledge but also encouraging you to think about how you would teach the content. It is great at introducing a wide range of resources and suggesting how these could be used to help deliver a lesson.

Recently, the number of context-based topics in GCSE and A-level specifications has decreased, which has impacted how much teachers may choose to cover materials chemistry. However, this course surprised me with the wealth of ideas I could use to support other content. It may have changed my mind about what I removed from my schemes of work this year. I’ll be using several of the resources I’ve found in this course and it’s been great to refresh and update my knowledge at the same time.

This course is £50 for 12 months access. Learn Chemistry Partnership schools receive a 25% discount, RSC members 50%.