Worksheets and lesson ideas to challenge students aged 11 to 16 to think hard about bonding, structure and physical properties (GCSE and Key Stage 3)
Where to start?
Help students appreciate that substances have different physical properties. This could involve giving students a range of substances to test for: conductivity, density, solubility in water and approximate melting point (high/low). Students then have to group the substances based on their similarities and differences.
An infographic to summarise bonding and structure for GCSE. Students look at a photo of a beach scene and identify all the substances they can see imagining they were wearing ‘molecular glasses’. They then use the infographic to categorise these substances. This activity could be used to assess prior knowledge of bonding and structure, or to revise bonding and structure. (PDF)
Melting simple and giant covalent structures
GCSE activity to help students observe what happens when we heat giant and simple covalent substances. Students often cannot see the difference between what happens when you melt solid water and melt diamond. Here, students use the interactive white board to pull apart models of simple and giant compounds. This is a powerful technique to show the difference between breaking bonds and pulling apart intermolecular forces. (PDF)
Explaining melting temperatures
GCSE worksheet on explaining melting temperature using ideas of bonding. Students make predictions about the bonding within a substance based on its physical properties. They use a hierarchy of explanations to explain why substances have different melting temperatures. (PDF)
Explaining physical properties
GCSE worksheet to explain bonding, structure and properties. This activity, designed by Philippa Franks, supports students to write explanations of properties by describing bonding and structure. The table can be cut up and given to students to match up or left intact as a revision aid. (PDF)
Allotropes of sulfur
Sulfur is an amazing element that has many different allotropes. You can demonstrate these sulfur allotropes in the class by using this method. Beware that sulfur dioxide gas (TOXIC) is also produced so carry out your own risk assessment consulting CLEAPSS guidance. You will need access to a fume cupboard.
- Bonding and physical properties
- Covalent bonding
- Intermolecular forces
- Ionic bonding
- Metallic bonding