GCSE (Age 14-16)

GCSE Chemistry provides some of the foundations for understanding the world around us and its future. Scientific understanding is changing our lives, and is vital to the world’s future prosperity.

The resources on this page link chemistry research and ‘real-world’ chemistry to topics from the GCSE National Curriculum. The resources are free to download, modify and use under a Creative Commons License. Please feel free to contact us to request classroom visits, advice or Skype links to our researchers.
 

Biopolymers for Cancer

This activity compares two seaweed extracts (polymers called alginate) to see which might be better at absorbing iron. Dietary iron is known to be a risk factor for bowel cancer and research at the University of Birmingham is showing how alginate from seaweed might be able to help.

Curriculum Topics: Working scientifically, polymers, covalent bonding, ions, lifestyle risk factors, medicine development 

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Cages to trap metals

Investigate how zeolites can be used to remove hazardous metals from water and how they are being used in the Fukushima cleanup.

Curriculum Topics: Working scientifically, water treatment, ions 

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Carbon for water treatment

Compare activated carbon to BBQ charcoal to learn which is better at removing pollutants from water

Curriculum Topics: Working scientifically, carbon, molar calculations, Earth’s water resources

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Distillation of fizzy drinks

Distil common fizzy drinks to learn about fractional distillation of crude oil

Curriculum Topics: Working scientifically, fractional distillation, intramolecular bonding, boiling points 

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Fuel cells for future energy

In this activity students make a simple copper and zinc battery and hydrogen fuel cell.

Curriculum Topics: Working scientifically, energy change, electrochemistry, chemical cells, fuel cells.

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Imaging Metal Corrosion

In this activity students compare how different metals corrode in agar gel doped with pH indicator. They then draw links between electochemisty and metal reactivity.

Curriculum Topics: Working scientifically, properties of metals and alloys, the pH scale, bonding.

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Nanotech for waterproofing and cleaning

Explore a natural nanostructured material and learn how scientists are copying that material to make self-cleaning windows

Curriculum Topics: Working scientifically, nanotechnology

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For general Chemistry resources and CPD opportunities for teachers, take a look at the RSC Learn Chemistry site.

For resources relating to GCSE teaching from BP, click here.

Beyond GCSE….

To showcase the huge range of jobs that can be found in Chemistry, perhaps show your students the ‘Future in Chemistry‘ profiles on the Royal Society of Chemistry website.

For an insight into what studying chemistry at university is like, take a look at this useful video showing a day in the life of a chemistry student at the University of Birmingham.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.