Skip to 0 minutes and 0 secondsMARK LANGLEY: Hello, I'm Mark Langley. And this is Tim Bradbury. And thank you for taking part in the teaching practical chemistry online course. This is a question and session for those who've posted questions, and hopefully we can take you through some of the comments that we'd like to make against those. The first question we've had is Yadira asking about whether the approaches we've talked about in this course are applicable to Post-16 students as well. And absolutely, the general outcomes for setting appropriate learning outcomes, for planning for progression, and embedding good practical work, and making sure that you have a good context for practical work that you do in this subject is actually key for any teaching of the sciences.

Skip to 0 minutes and 42 secondsOur next question asks about whether we would deal with other chemistry topics including those Post-16. And at the moment, that's best addressed by some the face to face courses we offer at the National STEM leaning centre at York. And also, through our science learning partnerships throughout England. And our partners in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Online we also have a large number of resources that can support good teaching to Post-16 chemistry. And in there, a good lot of practical advice, and guidance for embedding good context within Post-16 chemistry.

Skip to 1 minute and 12 secondsTIM BRADBURY: From a classroom planning point of view, the students at Post-16 would be expected to conduct practical work far more independently. So starting off, the start of the course, developing those practical skills and techniques. And then, as time goes on, reducing the amount of teacher inputs, have students work more independently.

Skip to 1 minute and 31 secondsMARK LANGLEY: And it might also be worth actually repeating some of the experiments they've done in the 14 to 16 curriculum. And asking students to make developments and improvements so they can show application of their techniques. And for some students, that can also be used for revision exercise. Particularly, they've had a gap between their compulsory education, and Post-16 studies. We've had a question asking about teaching practicals where, sometimes, it may be difficult to get the concept across. And so for me, one area would be teaching the atomic structure and bonding. That becomes very difficult to actually do practicals where you actually understand the scientific background. You might see some of the results, of say ionic or covalent bonding.

Skip to 2 minutes and 12 secondsBut actually to teach the theory is very difficult through means of practical work. However, that's where modelling, and possibly using animations and videos can come in. And also asking questions that might probe understanding a little bit more deeply. So setting up some cognitive conflicts. If you look on the resources online, at this STEM centre website, then you will find some ideas such as concept cartoons that can be used so students feel less afraid to challenge some of their understanding. And then actually, teachers can use that as a diagnostic to move further forward in their teaching.

Skip to 2 minutes and 44 secondsTIM BRADBURY: So when looking at the topic of equilibrium, the use of modelling screwing a piece of newspaper throwing it backwards and forwards between students is a good way of representing modelling for equilibrium. It doesn't have to be hands on practical work, just something to represent that, and get students involved.

Skip to 3 minutes and 4 secondsMARK LANGLEY: And there are some other things you can do to actually set some challenge. So students often think, for example, that solids don't react with each other. But there are some solid-solid reactions that you can do which challenges students misconceptions. Which, even though they might not necessarily need to know the chemistry behind it, can get them thinking about some of the chemical concepts.

Skip to 3 minutes and 24 secondsTIM BRADBURY: So thank you everybody for getting involved with the course. It's been great to read all your comments, and see how you've engaged with each of the individual episodes within the course. And look forward to you joining us on another course in the future.

Q&A with Mark

The Q&A sessions on courses from the National STEM Learning Centre provide you with the opportunity to ask more about the course content and issues from your own classroom practice.

Thank you for your questions. Mark and Tim recorded their answers and the recording is now available above.


  • 0:16 - Post-16 teaching approaches

  • 0:42 - Other chemistry courses for post-16

  • 1:50 - Alternative approaches to practical activities

If you have further questions, we welcome you to join the next run of Teaching Practical Science: Chemistry or join our STEM Group for Secondary Science.

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Teaching Practical Science: Chemistry

National STEM Learning Centre