Simple but effective resources to prepare students beyond GCSE

Starters for ten

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If you have explored Learn Chemistry you will have found your golden resource in there somewhere. Kristy Turner and Catherine Smith’s Starters for ten series remains mine. The original two series are mainly aimed at A-level teaching and are essential materials in the chemistry teachers’ toolkit.

Now though, there’s a new prequel, a chapter 0! This contains three areas, or competencies, each covering the understanding most pupils will need to develop in order to access the A-level course. The first, Basic chemistry competencies, explores ideas around atoms, chemical formulae and equations.

The second competency, Basic mathematical competencies, is a stroke of genius. I wish I’d had this years ago. The questions explore all kinds of broad scientific concepts, always keeping maths at the centre of the problem. The questions challenge students to use mathematical skills carefully. They also support students as they move towards a more secure mathematical understanding, away from the dangers of relying on formula triangles.

Finally, the third competency looks at practical skills. Again, here are more well thought out worksheets. What I like is their strong focus on the particular skill involved. For the GCSE to A-Level student this is ideal. They will be pushed, but in such a way they still feel comfortable and their confidence is improved.

As with the original series, chapter 0 includes some very carefully put together questions, which are perfectly suited to lead students into a topic. This set is ideally suited as a summer term, post exam extension for GCSE students and is ideal as an introduction to A-levels.

I’ve always felt the brilliance of the Starters for ten resources is their simplicity. Chapter 0 is just the same. Questions are focused carefully and pitched perfectly. Resources of this quality do not come along often. All the Starters for ten publications gently push students’ ideas and understanding by raising their thinking comfortably to the next level.

Download all the Starters for ten from Learn Chemistry: