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Developing expertise in teaching chemistry

Get an in-depth understanding of key concepts in chemistry at pre- or post-16 levels.

These courses are delivered as either a twilight (after school) event, half-day or full day event. In exceptional circumstances, we can meet a bespoke need combining elements from the following courses into a multi-event course, taking place over a series of different days. All courses address either pre-16 teaching, post-16 teaching or both within the given are of chemistry.

Attend a face to face course near you, or start an online course now. If a suitable course is not available please register your interest.

Structure and bonding pre-16

Delve into the key concepts essential to understanding bonding and explore how to use models to describe and explain observable phenomena.

By the end of this course, you’ll know the best ways to help your students understand how and why we develop, adapt and use models in chemistry.

We’ll teach you how to assess the models used to teach bonding at the pre-16 level and evaluate them in light of research into common and persistent student 'misconceptions'.

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Structure and bonding post-16

Explore the more sophisticated post-16 ‘orbital model’ of the atom, along with its implications.

Thanks to the discussion-based and trainer-led approach to this course, you’ll benefit from an open and informed conversation around the main ideas and difficulties that students encounter. You’ll also discover new ways to think about the best teaching sequence to aid your students’ understanding of chemical bonding.

By the end of this course, you’ll understand how to use the orbital model to explain:

  • interactions between different types of particles
  • periodic trends and properties, such as shapes of molecules and intermolecular bonding
  • coloured transition metal ions
  • more complex spectra.

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Organic chemistry

Learn about ways to address the underlying principles of how organic reaction mechanisms work and encourage your students to consider what drives electron movements rather than thinking about reactions in isolation.

This course will help you develop and impart an appreciation for underlying chemical factors like bond strength and electronegativity, and then relate them to existing knowledge and understanding of the familiar trends and patterns in the periodic table.

Energy and change

In this course, you’ll learn the vocabulary needed to discuss energy changes, how to measure and calculate them and why they occur.

Develop your understanding of:

  • different types of energy changes and how to use them in energy cycles
  • the concepts of entropy and free energy by learning what drives chemical reactions, and how to effectively deliver these in your teaching.

Redox

Travel down an important conceptual pathway leading to a fundamental understanding: all chemical reactions can be perceived as the rearrangement of electrons.

In this course, you’ll gain a greater understanding of the key concepts in redox reactions and how to support your students in their learning. These concepts include:

  • what is meant by redox reactions
  • how an ‘order of reactivity’ for a reaction is determined by comparing the reactivity of the ions present in a reaction
  • what electrode potentials are and how they can be used to predict the feasibility of redox reactions.

Equilibria chemistry

Help your students overcome any problems they have understanding equilibria.

Research shows that most students’ difficulties lie with the understanding of the core ideas associated with equilibria rather than the mechanics of doing the calculations. That’s why this course focuses on what happens during a chemical reaction, rather than just being able to calculate the right answer.

During this course, you’ll explore aspects of chemical reactions like Le Chatelier’s Principle and Equilibrium Law, as well as a range of different modelling activities that can be used to reinforce understanding of the nature of dynamic systems.

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Analytical chemistry

Analytical chemistry is an important area of chemistry as it provides us with techniques and methods for identifying what something is. These techniques include distillation, chromatography, various chemical tests and various forms of spectroscopy.

Develop your understanding of the key concepts of analytical chemistry and gain the ability to identify and address common misconceptions your students may have with face-to-face courses for both pre-16 and post-16 teaching.

Quantitative chemistry

Quantitative chemistry enables chemists to calculate known quantities of materials and by completing this course you’ll develop your understanding of its core ideas as well as how to convey those ideas to your students.

This course includes tackling areas such as:

  • what the mole is and how it is used in chemistry
  • how different chemical equations can be used to represent what is happening in a reaction
  • how to carry out a titration and use the data obtained in calculations.

Acids and bases

Acids and bases chemistry focuses on the interpretation of reactions of acids in terms of what is happening to H+ ions and the balance between H+ and OH- ions in aqueous solutions. This is then used to develop an understanding of neutralisation beyond the simple ‘acid + base → salt + water’ model and an explanation of the differences between strong and weak acids.

You will look at the identification of patterns in the formulae of acids and bases and attempts to link them to types of bonding and patterns in the periodic table, while developing your confidence in using experiments, demonstrations and discussion to tackle misconceptions in this area of teaching chemistry.

Note: if you would like practice with standard acid–base titrations and associated calculations, take a look at our Quantitative chemistry course.

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Carbon chemistry

Although organic chemistry is one of the three main branches of chemistry, it’s often overlooked and hardly mentioned to students aged 11–15.

The focus throughout this course is on developing an understanding of simple carbon chemistry using molecular models to help reinforce the link between teaching and learning activities and the underlying chemistry. The strengths and limitations of the models will be assessed in order to avoid further misconceptions at a later stage.

You’ll get the opportunity to explore:

  • underlying chemical concepts
  • using models to reinforce ideas
  • the chemical industry – particularly green chemistry
  • the versatile nature of carbon such as graphene and its future applications.

Developing and using models

Take a look at some of the processes involved in developing, using and assessing a model using examples from various areas of chemistry.

At the end of this course, you’ll have developed your understanding of the difficulties students face when trying to link macroscopic observations to microscopic explanations, and how to address this issue using appropriate models and analogies. On top of this, you’ll have gained a greater understanding of how these models are analysed and developed to meet the needs of secondary students as they progress to more complex concepts.

Rates of reaction

Discover ways to teach rates of reaction chemistry through the medium of experimental work.

Identify the limits of current understanding with an Assessment for Learning (AfL) opportunity and explore the importance of careful and detailed observation and record keeping.

Practical investigations are at the core of this course, which identifies common student misconceptions and helps you develop strategies for overcoming them.

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Maths skills

Learn about the core mathematical ideas required for a deep understanding of chemistry.

By the end of this course, not only will you have deepened your understanding of the maths used by chemists, but you’ll also know how to successfully convey those concepts to your students.

This course covers:

  • logarithmic scales, such as the pH scale
  • how geometry is fundamental to understanding the shape and properties of compounds
  • how algebra is used to calculate factors like the concentration of a solution or the number of moles in a sample of a compound.

Materials chemistry

From the clothes we wear and the dinner plates we eat off to the new technologies used in sports, medicines and computing, this course will help to develop your understanding of key concepts in materials chemistry.

Explore big questions like:

  • how natural materials can be improved
  • how synthetic and smart materials can be created to suit our modern-day needs
  • how we can manage resources is a sustainable way.

The course will also help you identify the misconceptions and materials chemistry concepts that students typically struggle with, as well as equipping you with the tools to address these issues.

Professional chemists working in the laboratory

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If a suitable course is not available please register your interest.