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as and a2 aqa chemistry lessons

Discussion in 'Science' started by neeny468, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. neeny468

    neeny468 New commenter


    I am just about to enter my second year having taught half of the AS AQA Chem course last year. Being a natural worrier I am slightly freaking out about being prepared for 3 weeks time and what I need to do in order to refresh my memory, and plan and teach the other half of the year AS and half of the A2 course.. I have found lots of worksheet and question websites which are very useful but wondered if anyone could point me in the direction of any lesson plans which include activities and practicals that I could use in writing my own lessons? I hate the whole stand and lecture method of teaching although unfortunately it tends to happen quite a lot as I don't really have the resources to print or copy loads of worksheets. At the moment I am using the AQA specification and the student textbook.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    many thanks

  2. First of all, don't worry about refreshing your memory. It always comes back to you once you get going.
    The AQA website has (or certainly used to have) specimen schemes of work and suggestions for lessons.
    The Oxford AQA scheme (OxBox) has a selection of lesson plans.
    Don't be afraid of standing there and "talking at them". It may not be the best way of getting the students to think but sometimes it is good for them to actually hear the whole story. This could be as the topic starts (so that they can see where they are going) or as a summary at the end. Just think how disoriented you would feel if all the learning you were doing was based on just you finding out. Sometimes it is good to check your understanding against the "proper story".
  3. Ssn77

    Ssn77 New commenter

    A level teaching needs more stand and lecture than earlier years, as there is so much to learn and understand, I think we all do it quite a bit. The Knockhardy powerpoints (http://www.knockhardy.org.uk/ppoints.htm) are very useful to customise and talk over during lessons. Don't you plan the course as a department, so the person/people already there will know the practicals? I've put some quizzes for AS chemistry on the resources section here, if you search for AQA A level chemistry. I use molymods quite a lot for organic (though I have problems with the students going into play mode!). You can use fun experiments such as methane bubbles, bengal flames, thermite reaction, etc. and bring in alkanes/kinetics/thermodynamics, etc.
    If you want to email me, I'll send you more stuff.
  4. neeny468

    neeny468 New commenter


    Thank you for your advice. Yes, I know I shouldn't be worried about the refreshing... it's just last year I didn't feel like I had room to breathe for work and I don't want to be sitting up til midnight every night trying to figure out what I am going to be teaching the next day!... I will have another look at the AQA scheme it just seems a little sparse.

    No we don't plan as a department really, until last year it was just one person that did it on their own and so I have kind of just asked where I can and tried to get on with it. I used the AQA practicals but am sure there must be more I can do like you have suggested as it felt like I was literally teaching the textbook to year 12 last year (although maybe this is how it should be done really?!) and it didn't help that they were all sat with it in front of them.. I felt like they were wondering why they had bothered coming in! I try not to use powerpoints too much but have seen the knockhardy stuff before so will take a look. I will also search for your quizzes. I will send you a message Ssn77 regarding other ideas.

    Thank you again.

  5. neeny468

    neeny468 New commenter

    Ssn77 your quizzes are great! my students LOVE the quizzes I will be using the analytical techniques one when we return as we completed this topic before the holiday.

  6. Ssn77

    Ssn77 New commenter

    Thank you, I'll be doing ones for A2 as well (only AS up there at the moment). They are also brilliant for observed lessons - tick all sorts of boxes!

    I wouldn't worry about using powerpoints if they are good. I've had lots of good feedback from students about them, and I like the fact that the information is just there when you talk about it (and get students to), without having to turn your back and write on a board. I've customised the Knockhardy powerpoints, so they are split into lesson size chunks with some other bits added, if you would like to have them. I like having a 'blipper' so I can move about and move the slides on.
  7. In addition to my Powerpoint presentations that have been suggested by another correspondent, I have other resources at www.knockhardy.org.uk/sci.htm which might prove useful. Although most have been written for OCR, they do apply to others specifications. I have even been known to make up sheets for individuals! Being newly retired does have its advantages. Best wishes - Jonathan

  8. Ssn77

    Ssn77 New commenter

    Just to say again that my students (especially the hard-working ones) love slides from Jonathan's powerpoints. They were actually recommended to me by a friend's daughter who was studying OCR AS chemistry at the time. They allow the students to make clear notes, while I can explain and talk about the chemistry behind them.
  9. Hi Ssn77, Neeny, Jonathan & other forum members
    I have to teach AQA AS Chemistry this year in a newly set up sixth form, in a department with no A level teaching experience. I have spent some time reading through topics and on your advice to another member of the forum have looked at the knockhardy resources (which are great because my experience of teaching triple Chemstry is that the students do love to get a good set of class notes to refer to and revise from). For me it's not a matter of remembering what I learned previously, as I don' have an A level Chemistry qualification. Any help with teaching resources, tips etc would be greatly appreciated.
  10. Ssn77

    Ssn77 New commenter

    I find the Nelson-Thornes official text books really good, there seems a very strong agreement between the content and the exam. I don't use them a great deal for the main bit of the lesson, but often get students to do the summary questions that are in each chapter. The exam questions at the end of each chapter are useful, and I have the answers if you want to message me. I tell my students to use them for revision, because they seem to relate to the exams so much.
    Chemistry is about the toughest A level, looking at what is achieved with any given GCSE grades. Students who do not work hard will not do well, so be as fierce as you can on homework.
    Practicals with an answer often work well, even if they are quite straightforward. I thought something like heating hydrated copper sulfate to drive off the water and working out how much water of crystallisation is in the formula, might be a bit basic, but it works really well with that element of competition to get close to the actual answer.
  11. neeny468

    neeny468 New commenter

    Hi Mavdav,

    Something I did do last year was use exam questions as starters and plenaries throughout the course. I just cut out relevant questions using a pdf viewer and put them into powerpoint slides, pasting the mark scheme answers/examiner reports where relevant into the following slide.

    I also liked using bits of cheesy songs to go alongside topics.. I don't have very many so far but they got the kids talking.. laughing.. and even remembering in some cases... for example Matt Cardle When We Collide the chorus is a good one for talking about collision theory and reactions! sort of!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jovf4NL8IR8 (few lines from 1.03min) haha.. Chain Reaction is also relevant! ;)

    I do have my own lesson plans for the lessons I did last year that I can send you if you would like (although be warned they were just for me so I'm not sure how easy they are for someone else to understand) they include quite a lot of detail on topics to remind me what I am supposed to be saying! Last year I did Unit 1: amount of substance; bonding. Unit 2: kinetics, equilibria, redox reactions, the halogens, haloalkanes, alkenes, and analytical techniques (have no plans for this last one). (A2) Unit 4: structure determination. Am doing the other half this year.

    Good luck!

  12. Hi Neeny 468
    Thanks so much for the ideas, I will certainly take them on board. The kids don't like to admit it but they love it when you include music - no matter how cheesy. Yes, great any lesson plans, powerpoints etc that you could send would be really great. Sounds like I'm teaching exactly what you taught last year. I hoped to go on a course at the end of last year to better prepare me for teaching A level but my school couldn't afford it. I managed to observe an A level lesson at the end of the year to try to ascertain how to pitch the lessons etc. I was told not to start slow and ease the students in - but to start at the pace that you expect them to work at throughout the year. How did you approach it? I just hate that feeling of being one step infront of the students and fear the time when they ask me a question I can't answer. Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer and to help. Good Luck for next year to you too.
  13. <<< fear the time when they ask me a question I can't answer >>>
    I don't know from what knowledge base you are starting Mave but to teach AL successfully necessitates a certain depth beyond A level, surely? And call me old fashioned if you like but surely the greatest aspiration of a teacher is for the Pupil to overtake the Master?
  14. Ssn77

    Ssn77 New commenter

    Make sure you look at exam questions and mark schemes before you start a topic, so you know the standard answers and what to concentrate on. This is not necessarily teaching to the test, but saves confusion later on as sometimes they are quite fussy about what is included in an answer. It is very frustrating when you know students understand the question and don't write down what they consider to be obvious and so lose marks.
  15. Best resource:- past papers. Unfortunately, there are not that many of the new (2008) spec papers around yet but you can always have a look at those from the previous speciification and use what is relevant.
    Good luck for the new term; retired folks like me don't have to worry about it any more. If you have any suggestions for additions to my website, do let me know.
  16. neeny468

    neeny468 New commenter


    just wondered whether you could give me some honest feedback on this idea as I really am not sure if this is a good way of teaching equilibrium constant calculations.

    Basically I was going to produce an overview sheet for each type of calculation, using a generic and then giving them questions to work out.

    - calculating Kc using equilibrium concentrations
    - calculating Kc using equilibrium amounts
    - using Kc to calculate equilibrium concentrations
    - using initial amounts to calculate equilibrium amounts

    Kp is not required.

    I was going to divide my class into 4 groups and give each group one type of calculation to learn inside out so that the following lesson they could have 15mins each to teach the others...

    is this a totally terrible idea?

    I just don't know if it is dangerous to rely on them to do this seeing as calculations can be complicated.... lots of them are doing a level maths but not all.....

    feedback appreciated.

  17. Hi, I find that there are useful resources/ideas at www.chemsheets.co.uk
    Don't forget - you will know more that them so no need to worry. Hope this helps.
  18. Dear Neeny468
    Work through lots of examples until students can do it automatically. It is amazing how many students think they get it. Text books are major offenders; they often give simple unimolecular equations rather than the 2A + 3B type. The same goes for volumetric questions. If you look under the OCR F325 section on my www.knockhardy.org.uk/sci.htm page you will find a set of notes on Equilibrium Constants. On one of the pages I have written out some worked examples showing the thought behind each step, especially about taking away the moles of reactant used up from the ORIGINAL moles of reactant. If you email me personally via my website, I will see what other resources I have.
    Did you know that I now do a GCSE page (thanks to all the spare time I have now that I have retired!)? You might be interested in the OCR 21C summary sheets as I think that you have discussed certain topics in other strands. Go to www.knockhardy.org.uk/gcse.htm
    Have a good term.
  19. neeny468

    neeny468 New commenter

    Hi Jonathan,

    thank you very much for your message. I have recently found your GCSE section since looking for the A level bits. Your summary sheets are going to come in very handy! We are actually moving to AQA this year so I will be doing both boards this year.

    I have looked at your notes already on calculations and I was going to use them as a starting point for my handout sheets. I will definitely email you about extra resources once I get my planning sorted. I did notice that the examples in our textbook are all indeed unimolar.. not very helpful in advising the students for the questions in the exam papers!

    I have been spreading the news of your site at work today as no one seemed to have used it before. You have some fantastic resources! Thank you for spending your retirement helping those still in work! make sure you do a fair bit of relaxing aswell! ;)

    Many thanks


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