Teaching Practical Science: Chemistry

Discover approaches to engage 14-16 year old students through practical lessons in chemistry with this CPD for science teachers.

10,062 enrolled on this course

Teaching Practical Science: Chemistry
The CPD Certification Service

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles. Find out more.

Ensure your students get the most from chemistry practicals

In this course you will explore how going beyond ‘recipe following’, teachers can use practical work in chemistry to support explanation of theory. You’ll discover ‘microscale’ experiments to allow more students to take an active role in their learning through practical work. You will consider what’s happening in your own classroom and develop and share creative ways of teaching practical chemistry with approaches that are applicable to a range of situations including GCSE required practicals.

Skip to 0 minutes and 3 seconds [Mark Langley] Chemistry is a fantastic subject which bridges the physical sciences and life sciences, with everything around us a product of chemistry. No object can be made that is not composed of chemicals. Students are fascinated by the wide array of reactions and experiments, but can also be challenged by the underlying science. Experiments in the classroom are effective ways to engage your students in the amazing world of chemistry allowing them to have first-hand experience of observing chemical phenomena up close. Teaching Practical Chemistry will take you through a series of experiments and demonstrations suitable for students aged 14-16 years studying chemistry.

Skip to 0 minutes and 45 seconds Each week will focus on a specific curriculum topic, coupled with a pedagogical theme to support your development as a science teacher, as well as hints and tips on staging effective practical activities with your students In week 1 we will look at a series of electrolysis experiments alongside how to build context into your practical work. Week 2 will focus on rates of reaction practicals and progression of your students’ chemistry knowledge and practical skills over time. Assessment in chemistry will form the basis of week 3 where we will also look at different methods of making salts and how students can demonstrate their knowledge and understanding in practical chemistry, identifying how well students understand the methodology behind the activities.

Skip to 1 minute and 29 seconds This course is one of three secondary practical science courses from STEM Learning, designed for both new and experienced teachers to enhance student learning through practical work. As a participant on this course you

Skip to 1 minute and 41 seconds will be able to: gain confidence in teaching and evaluating practical skills in chemistry; share ideas on how to bring real world contexts to science lessons; plan for progression and assessment in practical work; and collaborate with peers, educators and mentors to share and critique ideas for teaching practical science. Join us online and develop your students’ learning through practical chemistry.


  • Week 1

    Context for chemistry practicals

    • Developing your teaching with us

      Welcome to the course. To start off, take a moment to consider what you would like to develop over the next three weeks.

    • Engaging students to learn through practical work

      How can you make practical work more than just 'recipe following' and really engage your students with their learning?

    • Making practical work accessible

      After engaging your students, what approaches can you use to ensure they get hands-on experience?

    • Applying what you've learnt

      The final activity this week is to take what you’ve learnt and put it into practice in an upcoming lesson.

  • Week 2

    Progression in practical chemistry

    • Progression of practical technique

      How do you support your students to develop their practical skills across years?

    • Progression of knowledge

      What can students learn, in terms of subject knowledge, from practical work?

    • Planning for progression

      How do you plan your chemistry practical lessons for progression of both practical skills and knowledge?

  • Week 3

    Assessing learning through practical work

    • Assessing learning in practical chemistry

      How can you use practical work as opportunities for assessing both skill and knowledge?

    • Planning for assessment

      How do you ensure your practical work allows you to assess specific learning outcomes?

    • Subject knowledge or practical skills?

      In this activity we ask you to debate where your focus of assessment will be within your practical work.

    • Reviewing your professional development

      Review your professional development and plan your next steps to sustain and develop the way you plan for learning.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

The CPD Certification Service was established in 1996 and is the leading independent CPD accreditation institution operating across industry sectors to complement the CPD policies of professional and academic bodies.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Improve your confidence in delivering and evaluating teaching for practical skills in chemistry for 14-16 year olds.
  • Develop effective learning outcomes for practical work in chemistry.
  • Reflect on the effectiveness of practical activities on every students’ learning.
  • Design progression and assessment approaches within practical work in chemistry.
  • Collaborate with peers, educators and mentors to share and critique ideas for teaching practical science.

Who is the course for?

The course has been designed as CPD for teachers of science subjects for 14-16 year olds. Teachers of chemistry, early career teachers, returning teachers, non-specialist teachers, technicians and teaching assistants will gain from the peer learning and resources available on this course.

Learn from national CPD subject leaders, the experience of other teachers and access high quality supporting resources throughout this course.

What software or tools do you need?

Access to a laboratory is recommended in order for you to evaluate approaches to practical work during this course.

Who will you learn with?

I am a Professional Development Leader at the National STEM Learning Centre in York. My background is chemistry and physics secondary teaching, as well as having been a Head of Science.

Secondary Chemistry Professional Development Leader at the National STEM Centre. Former teacher of chemistry at KS3-5, experienced Head of Science and Assistant Headteacher.

Professional development leader at the National STEM learning centre.

Who developed the course?

National STEM Learning Centre

The National STEM Learning Centre provides world-class professional development activities and resources to support the teaching of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.

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