Pedagogical approaches

Classroom resources featuring activities from our Pedagogical Approaches to Chemistry Teaching 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.

Splint on fire image

Flame tests (the wooden splint method)

Find a new method to perform flame tests using wooden splints soaked in chlorides. Includes kit list and safety instructions.

Equipment set up in a school laboratory for an experiment simulating the fractional distillation of crude oil, with a side-arm test tube, a thermometer and a delivery tube

The fractional distillation of crude oil

In association with

Try this class practical or demonstration to simulate the industrial fractional distillation of crude oil. Includes kit list and safety instructions.

Bucket of water

Easier equilibrium

How bailing buckets can support students’ grasp of Le Chatelier’s principle



In association with

An introduction to polythene production.


Alchemy: nylon

In association with

An introduction to nylon production.

A photograph of bubbles in boiling water

What happens when a substance changes state? | 11-14 years

Use this lesson plan for 11–14 year olds to explore what happens when substances warm, cool, boil or freeze, tackling misconceptions about changes of state.


Chemical misconceptions II: Chemical stability

Explore seven triads of chemical species and understand the stability between the three examples.


Aluminium Extraction

In association with

 An introduction to aluminium extraction.


Fractional distillation

In association with

Learn how the industrial process of fractional distillation transforms crude oil into a variety of products, from plane fuel to road surfacing.



In association with

An introduction to ammonia.

A large ocean wave rising from blue water and breaking into white spray

Chemistry of the oceans | 14–16 years

A booklet aimed at students aged between 14 and 16 years. The text is supported by questions, tables of data and diagrams.

A white polystyrene food container with the lid off, on a red-pink background

Addition polymerisation with phenylethene

In association with

Use this practical or demonstration as an example of addition polymerisation using phenylethene to form polyphenylethene. Includes kit list and safety instructions.


Polymer puzzles

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.

A macro photograph of a piece of rock with malachite (copper ore)

Extracting copper from copper(II) carbonate

In association with

Use this practical to produce copper from copper(II) carbonate, modelling the extraction of copper from malachite. Includes kit list and safety instructions.

Nylon thread

Making nylon: the ‘nylon rope trick’

The ‘nylon rope trick’ is a classic of chemistry classrooms, by mixing decanedioyl dichloride and in cyclohexane you can create a solution that will form nylon strings when floated on an aqueous solution of 1,6-diaminohexane. Kit list and safety instructions included.

One pence pieces

Turning copper coins into ‘silver’ and ‘gold’

In association with

Perform what looks like alchemy with ordinary copper coins in this teacher demonstration. Includes kit list and safety instructions.

Copper solution soaked splint in Bunsen burner flame.

Flame colours: a demonstration

In association with

Explore how different elements rect when exposed to a flame, and discuss how alkali metals, alkaline earth metals, and metal salts change the colour of fire.