Classroom resources featuring activities from our Carbon Chemistry professional development course for teachers
This collection is most valuable to those who have attended this course and wish to put into practice with their students some of the ideas and activities presented as part of that event. Please note that this list is not exhaustive; not all trainer activities have a corresponding classroom resource. In some circumstances there is variation between the training resource and classroom resource.
This experiment simulates the industrial fractional distillation of crude oil in the laboratory.
Model the industrial process of cracking larger hydrocarbons to produce smaller alkanes that can be converted into petrol.
A microscale experiment, cracking the hydrocarbons in paraffin to form shorter alkanes and alkenes.
An introduction to hydrocarbons. Learn how unreactive alkanes can be made into reactive alkenes.
Work your way through these fun chemistry practicals developed by National Science & Engineering Week.
Perform this ‘trick’ with a solution of decanedioyl dichloride in cyclohexane floated on an aqueous solution of 1,6-diaminohexane. As nylon forms at the interface, it can be pulled out as fast as it is produced forming a long thread: the ‘nylon rope’.
Investigate the reactions between a range of alcohols and acids on a test-tube scale, by producing small quantities of a variety of esters quickly.
In this experiment you will be testing various alcohols to see whether they can be oxidised by a solution of acidified potassium dichromate.
Ethanol and propan-1-ol are tested for pH, reaction with sodium, combustion and oxidation with acidified dichromate(VI) solution.
Acids are an important group of chemicals. Organic acids are characterised by the presence of a -COOH group attached to a carbon atom. In this experiment, some typical properties of a weak organic acid are observed.
In these activities students investigate hydrogels – polymeric smart materials. They are found in many products, including disposable nappies and hair gel. The practical is fun to do and the results dramatic.
This activity is designed to develop the students’ higher order thinking – particularly critical thinking skills – in the context of problem solving. It should help students to recall the facts about some common polymers.
Capture and test the products of combustion of hydrocarbons
Food labels and advertisements often refer to unsaturated fats and oils. A comparison of the amounts of unsaturated fats and oils present in different foodstuffs can be made by titrating solutions of samples with aqueous bromine (bromine water), which reacts with the carbon - carbon double bonds present in such fats and oils.
In this activity students investigate plant water storage crystals, a product that contains hydrogels – polymeric smart materials. The practical work is fun, and the results easy to see.
Sodium alginate is a polymer which can be extracted from brown seaweed and kelps. It is one of the structural polymers that help to build the cell walls of these plants. It has some unusual properties and a wide variety of uses.
Recreate an early ‘breathalyser’ test by passing ethanol vapour through a U-tube packed with potassium dichromate crystals and moistened with dilute sulfuric acid to and watch as it changes from orange of chromium(VI) through brown to green of chromium(III).
A solution of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) can be made into a slime by adding borax solution, which creates cross-links between polymer chains. In this activity, some interesting properties of the slime are investigated. Students are guaranteed to enjoy the activities involved.
A mixture of alcohol and air in a large polycarbonate bottle is ignited. The resulting rapid combustion reaction, often accompanied by a dramatic ‘whoosh’ sound and flames, demonstrates the large amount of energy released in the combustion of alcohols.
Surprise your students by soaking a piece of paper (or an old £5 or £10 note) in a mixture of ethanol and water and igniting it. Watch as the ethanol burns… but the paper does not.
A video that explores different types of carbon, looking in particular at graphene and its uses. Also, learn how to make your own solar cell, answer questions from the allotropes of carbon gridlock game, and read an anecdote about the discovery of buckminsterfullerene.
Discover how crop protection products from Syngenta help to increase yield and produce healthier crops.
Find out how scientists at the material science laboratory, QMUL, develop biosensors to enhance sport performance.
Learn about the chemistry of hair dyes from Procter and Gamble scientists.
Find out from scientists at Johnson Matthey how catalytic converters reduce harmful emissions produced by vehicles.
Follow the adventures of eight leading women in chemistry and celebrate the common element that catalysed their journeys: a life-changing, chance-taking, thrill-seeking love of science.
Learn from scientists at Croda about how the chemistry behind sun lotions helps protect our skin from damaging ultraviolet radiation.
Discover how scientists from BOC remove gases from the air and use them in food packaging and processing.