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Chemistry in the primary science curriculum

In the last step you identified whether some common primary investigations could be classed as chemistry. Chemistry can be defined as: “the scientific study of the basic characteristics of substances and the ways in which they react or combine” (Cambridge Dictionary).

Chemistry at primary level involves learning about and exploring materials and their properties, the states of matter that a substance exists in at room temperature and how it may be changed by heating or cooling. It also looks at changes in materials when they are mixed together and how this may result in a permanent change to the original materials or the creation of a new substance.


Take a look at your own primary science curriculum. Highlight the chemistry topics you find.

Identify the next chemistry topic or session you will be teaching. Tell us below what this is and how confident you are feeling about delivering it.

Now you are a little more familiar with some of the terminology you’ll see to describe chemistry in the primary science curriculum.

In the next step, you’ll take a quiz which is to help you assess your current level of understanding. See this as a formative activity, and hopefully by the end of this course, you can return to the quiz again and have another go with confidence.

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This article is from the free online course:

Teaching Primary Science: Chemistry

National STEM Learning Centre