Teaching Primary Science: Chemistry

Develop your knowledge of chemistry to support your pupils' learning as part of the primary science curriculum.

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Teaching Primary 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.

Improve the way you teach primary science by building your chemistry knowledge

To teach primary science effectively teachers must have strong subject knowledge, but many primary teachers are not science experts.

On this course, you’ll explore the key knowledge required to teach the chemistry elements of the primary science curriculum.

You’ll learn about the common misconceptions and misunderstandings children may have and learn how you can help your students identify and overcome them.

You’ll discover practical activities to do with your primary school students that will help them to learn scientific concepts in a fun and engaging way.


  • Week 1

    Understanding materials and their properties

    • Getting started

      Welcome to the course. We start by establishing what chemistry is and where it fits in the primary science curriculum.

    • Subject knowledge

      Gain an understanding of the concepts needed to effectively teach materials and their properties in the primary classroom.

    • Misconceptions: materials and their properties

      Identifying and addressing misconceptions is an essential part of successful teaching. But, what exactly are they and how do they arise?

    • Eliciting misconceptions

      Making time to discover whether children hold misconceptions is crucial for planning future learning. Throughout the course we’ll look at different ways to do this.

    • Reconstructing the learning

      After misconceptions have been elicited, they must be addressed through our teaching.

  • Week 2

    States of matter

    • Subject knowledge: solids liquids and gases

      Extend your own subject knowledge about the three states of matter and their properties

    • Eliciting misconceptions

      Discover some suggested activities to elicit children’s misconceptions around states of matter.

    • Reconstructing the learning

      See how to address common misconceptions through challenging children’s ideas. Here we look at discussions to define a solid, looking at sand under a microscope and creating a water cycle in a bag.

  • Week 3

    Changes of materials

    • Subject knowledge

      In the following steps we look at the science behind dissolving and why it is often confused for melting. We also examine changing materials where a new material is formed.

    • Misconceptions

      Here we take a look at some of the most common misconceptions about changes in materials.

    • Eliciting misconceptions

      Discover how to find out if children think that dissolving and melting are the same thing, a dissolved substance has disappeared and if they have an incomplete understanding of irreversible changes.

    • Reconstructing the learning

      Challenge children’s misconceptions about changes of materials and reconstruct incorrect ideas.

    • 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.

What will you achieve?

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

  • Identify the importance of good subject knowledge when teaching primary science.
  • Develop personal subject knowledge of chemistry.
  • Apply subject knowledge to class teaching of pupils aged 5-11 years old.
  • Explore practical activities to teach scientific concepts in the primary curriculum.
  • Identify common misconceptions children may have in primary science concepts.
  • Develop teaching strategies to identify and overcome children’s misconceptions.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for primary teachers and trainee teachers in primary education (pupils aged 5-11 years) who want to develop their chemistry subject knowledge.

The course refers to the English National Curriculum, but the subject matter is equally transferable to other curricula, and you’ll be encouraged to explore connections with your own national curriculum.

Who will you learn with?

I have been a primary school teacher for 13 years and work at Clifton With Rawcliffe Primary, York. Currently, I also work 3 days a week at the National STEM Learning Centre in the Primary PDL Team.

I am currently a Professional Development Leader at the National STEM Learning Centre in Primary STEM. I have been a teacher for 14 years, teaching classes from FS2 to Year 6.

I spent 10 years working as a primary classroom teacher, 7 as a science subject leader. I’ve also supported schools as a leading science teacher before joining STEM learning as a primary specialist.

I am really passionate about the power of great science lessons in primary schools to reach those children who often find other subjects tricky. Find out more about me http://www.educationguru.co.uk/

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.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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What's included?

This is a premium course. These courses are designed for professionals from specific industries looking to learn with a smaller group of like-minded individuals.

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime

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