Tony Tooth looks at some websites that may be of interest to chemistry teachers

Wikipedia portal

You probably know about Wikipedia and also about the need to be careful with the accuracy of the content, though I've been happy with most of what I've seen in chemistry areas. But have you and your students come across 'portals' in Wikipedia? Designed similar to the Wikipedia home page, portals aim to help readers navigate their way through Wikipedia content by acting as entry-points to specific topic areas.  

As well as a useful interactive Periodic Table, the chemistry portal is divided into sections such as history and philosophy of chemistry, techniques used, apparatus used and chemistry in society. Under each heading a variety of sub-headings link through to more specific Wikipedia content, so this page could be a useful starting point for a wide variety of research.


This section of the BMW site offers interactive, curricula-linked educational resources for students, teachers and parents. The 'learning centre' has five sections, two of which are directly relevant to chemistry.  

The 'Energised' section is aimed at 7-11-year olds and offers a range of worksheets and activities designed to introduce concepts related to energy, such as food chains, light, heat etc, and includes notes on photosynthesis. The 'Clean Energy' section is aimed at KS3 and KS4, and explores the issues relating to current and future energy sources, covering many ideas that appear in the GCSE syllabus such as renewable and non-renewable fuels as well as environmental issues. The introduction to the latter section identifies the current situation and the problems associated with fossil fuels before introducing the possibility of hydrogen as a future solution. Although influenced by BMW's corporate stance, the arguments are presented in a balanced manner.  

There are also 24 interactive worksheets on clean energy, divided into four groups: non-renewable energy, which looks at fossil fuels and nuclear power; energy and the environment, which discusses climate change; renewable energy, where a wide range of alternatives is discussed in addition to hydrogen; and the future, which looks at sustainability and energy efficiency as well as revisiting the possibilities of hydrogen. There is also a 16-minute film on hydrogen power with supporting notes and a teachers' section that includes suggested activities and a quiz with answers to use at the end of the activities.  

Overall, this is an interesting resource that could be used to enliven the teaching of energy-related topics with topical and up-to-date ideas.