Overwhelmed by the available chemistry resources? Looking for new chemistry teaching ideas? Elementary Articles is the place for chemistry, education, and everything else.

Elementary Articles is the official blog for the RSC's Learn Chemistry – your home for chemistry education resources and activities.

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Over the last few months we’ve been doing some development work on Learn Chemistry and some of our other educational sites. This has ranged from small fixes to new features like the more prominent download box for editable resources.
The latest changes include a refresh of the site’s look and feel, as well as some changes around how to use the site. The visual refresh isn’t solely cosmetic, although part of the aim is to make the site feel less dated. Based on feedback and user testing, it includes some simplification and de-cluttering that make the site easier to use.
New home page layout
The search bar is now more prominent. It’s the main way the site is used, and we want to make sure it’s easy to find.

We’ve removed a number of items on the page that weren’t used much and/or confused users: The “Teachers, Students, Higher Education, News” panels, the social sharing buttons (Twitter, Google Plus etc), and the resource counter.

We’ve removed the Browse Resources control. Testing and feedback suggested that most users thought this was a search filter, and it wasn’t used much. Removing it focuses the page on the search box and highlighted resources.

We’ve simplified the design visually. Cleaner lines, more spacing, and less on the page make the page quicker to navigate, and the highlighted resources more prominent.
New site navigation
Learn Chemistry used to have multiple navigation menus. These were confusing and took up valuable space, making the site hard to navigate on mobile devices. We’ve replaced these with a new navigation menu at the top of the site, which is designed to be more mobile friendly.
The new top navigation bar retains most of the elements of the existing one, and replaces the links to other RSC sites. This also removes the other search box which searched across all RSC sites, and caused some confusion.
Simpler look and feel across the site
The new visual design on the home page removes the coloured background and makes the menus smaller. This has also been rolled out across the rest of the site, and most of the sub-sites.
We hope you like the new design, and look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback.
Posted by Stephen Hessey on Dec 12, 2017 2:53 PM GMT

University of Liverpool Victoria BuildingDiscover the support you need on our stand at the ASE 2018 annual conference in Liverpool.

Specialist or non-specialist, from career development to classroom resources, we’ve got something for you. Visit the exhibition (it's free!) and find all of the support we offer, including hands-on activities.

Discover Education in Chemistry’s new series of science articles with classroom-ready teaching resources: engaging activities for your students in new, cutting-edge contexts.

Try out a magical classroom resource from one of our professional development courses. Designed to help you reach the next level wherever you are in your teaching career, our courses give teachers an in-depth understanding of key concepts in chemistry. Find out how to help your students understand core ideas, tackle tricky topics and avoid misconceptions.

Uncover what’s new with Learn Chemistry. It’s now easier to search and find what you're looking for. Take a look at our new resources, download them as Word documents and edit them to suit your classroom.

We look forward to meeting you in Liverpool!

Planning on visiting our stand? Sign up to the Facebook event.

Stay up to date with Education in Chemistry's live coverage of the ASE annual conference.

Image © ilbusca / E / Getty Images

Posted by David Sait on Nov 10, 2017 8:01 AM GMT
We’ve made it easier for you to find and use editable resources on Learn Chemistry.

You told us that you need resources you can modify. That’s why we’ve recently been increasing our provision of these on Learn Chemistry. For example, we recently made our hugely popular Starters for Ten series available as editable Word documents. View all the resources we provide in editable Word format.

Now, we’ve made it easier to search our editable resources on Learn Chemistry. Just select “editable handout” from the resource type menu:


Once you’ve selected a resource, click the button to download all the editable Word files available for that resource:


Licence information is provided in the Additional Information section – look here to see how you can share any changes you make with others:


Edit these resources to differentiate for students working at different levels, adapt to cover exactly the material you need, and modify based on the specific requirements of your exam board.

We encourage you to download and modify our editable resources. Please let us know how you get on – you can comment below or email us at learn-chemistry@rsc.org.
Posted by Stephen Hessey on Sep 4, 2017 1:55 PM BST
We’ll be shutting down the Learn Chemistry Wiki on 1st September. The Learn Chemistry Wiki is a community-edited hub, originally launched with the aim of sharing and editing chemistry teaching resources.

We’ve recently been reviewing and modifying the resources on the Learn Chemistry Wiki, to make sure that everything is useful to chemistry teachers, and easy to find.

We’ve found that not many users register and edit the wiki, so it’s not serving its purpose as a community-edited hub. Additionally, you can’t easily search the content in the wiki from within Learn Chemistry. Finally, it’s difficult for us to properly maintain user-edited content, so you can’t be sure of its quality.

Therefore, we will make the Learn Chemistry Wiki unavailable from 1st September. After this date, visit Learn Chemistry for all our resources. Until then, you can still access and save any wiki page.

You will still be able to access most of the support that the wiki provides in the following places:
  • Visit Learn Chemistry’s Experimentation Hub for experiments. Here you’ll find many of the experiments from the wiki, updated and with improved health and safety information.
  • Visit Learn Chemistry’s SpectraSchool for spectroscopy information. We are currently planning improvements to SpectraSchool, which you will see in the coming months.
  • Visit ChemSpider for detailed information on chemicals. ChemSpider also includes the structure drawing tool.
  • Get safety information from CLEAPSS (in England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or SSERC (in Scotland), advisory services providing health and safety advice and documentation for science in schools. Non-UK schools may wish to consult local authorities.
  • See our Bridging the Knowledge Gap and Practical Skills resources if you’re looking for quiz material.
If you have any questions about this or any of our resources, please email us at learn-chemistry@rsc.org.
Posted by Stephen Hessey on Aug 3, 2017 2:11 PM BST
Do you teach chemistry to A Level, Higher or Leaving Certificate students in the UK or Ireland? d0eef31b54e7354b837499cd291f4790-huge-ge

If you do, we need your help with a short survey about your students' degree choices. We're seeing a downward trend in applications to study chemistry at university that isn't fully explained by any change in entries to pre-degree qualifications. We'd like your input to understand why applications for chemistry degrees are in decline.

Tell us what you think.

© Brian A Jackson / iStock / Getty Images Plus.
Posted by Daniele Gibney on Jul 13, 2017 9:26 AM BST
If you’re a primary teacher, take a look at our primary curriculum linking documents on Learn Chemistry. We’ve recently added a version for Wales, so teachers can now quickly find relevant resources for teaching the fundamental topics of chemistry in key stage 2 of the Welsh national curriculum.

This complements our existing documents for England and Scotland. These show our suggestions for resources to support chemistry-related statements from the English National Curriculum (key stage 2) and Scottish Curriculum for Excellence (early to second level). In each document, you can click on a curriculum statement to see relevant resources. We hope this will help when planning which of our resources to use, and when.

We know that having resources mapped to the curriculum saves time. Take a trip to Learn Chemistry to see our full collection of curriculum linking documents.

Please do let me know how you get on with these documents by commenting below. It would be great to hear how you're using them, and what we can improve.
Posted by Stephen Hessey on Jul 6, 2017 12:43 PM BST
We would like to invite you to participate in a unique and important piece of research into practical work in science in England and Scotland.

This exciting three-year national study, part of an on-going programme of work by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, the Wellcome Trust and the Nuffield Foundation, is now in its final year. Preliminary findings from the first two years of the study are proving extremely interesting, giving a detailed insight into the impact of changes taking place in practical science.

The study would like to hear from heads of science, science teachers and science technicians from a wide variety of teaching environments to help develop a greater understanding of what practical work in science means in today’s schools and colleges.

Access the survey at www.cem.org/practicalworkinscience. It takes approximately 20 minutes to complete, and to thank you for participating, everyone who fills in the survey is offered a chance to win one of five £100 Amazon gift vouchers in a prize draw at the end of July.

Please ask as many colleagues as possible to complete a survey, so responses are gathered from as many heads of science (including heads of individual sciences), science teachers and science technicians as possible within each school.

Find out more information about the study here: http://www.cem.org/blog/practical-work-in-science-cem-wants-to-hear-from-you/.

This study is led by Durham University’s Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) and School of Education and is funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, with a contribution from the Wellcome Trust. The project is part of an on-going programme of work by Gatsby, Wellcome and the Nuffield Foundation to understand and improve practical work in science education.
Posted by Stephen Hessey on Jun 2, 2017 10:28 AM BST
ChemNet logo

We recently told ChemNet members about changes to the service for chemistry students aged 14-18, and we want to share them more widely. Many adult RSC members and chemistry teachers have promoted our support for chemistry students and encouraged them to register with ChemNet. For that support and advocacy over the years we've been enormously grateful.

ChemNet comprises regional events, an online forum with careers and chemistry advisors, and information and resources for students. Last year we carried out a comprehensive review to decide its future, and we discovered that ChemNet isn’t offering its student members or their teachers what they want.

Students and teachers told us they value advice, resources, careers information, and events. The forum functions, accessed only by ChemNet members, were less useful. So we’re working on improving access to the most useful support for all, without requiring ChemNet accounts.

We have already removed the option to register new members. Other changes will come into effect in a few weeks (late June), when we will close the online forums and site, and stop providing ChemNet membership and student-oriented accounts. Until then the site will operate as normal.

Our educational events, news, resources, careers and chemistry subject advice (currently known as Dr Careers and Dr ChemNet) will be independently accessible to students and teachers alike.

How can you continue to engage young people with chemistry?

If you're a teacher or student:

If you're an advocate for chemistry and RSC member:
All of the above will continue after we close ChemNet and its website. If you have questions about the changes to ChemNet, or our resources and general support, please email us at learn-chemistry@rsc.org.
Posted by Duncan McMillan on May 18, 2017 1:27 PM BST