Teaching the Most Challenging Aspects of GCSE Chemistry


This revamped series of courses is designed for all GCSE Chemistry teachers currently teaching GCSE Science. These in-depth sessions will equip all teachers with the tools to advance their teaching with a broader range of methods, approaches and techniques. The session focuses particularly on teaching the most challenging aspects of GCSE Chemistry with perhaps new and different approaches.

This session is live interactive workshop, with opportunities to ask questions throughout.


  • Equip you with a powerful framework for conceptualising what it is that makes chemistry challenging
  • Develop the skills necessary for explaining the most complex content in chemistry GCSE
  • Explore options for improving your students’ long term memories
  • Refine your ability to build and sequence a knowledge rich chemistry curriculum
COURSE DATE Online | Wednesday 21 April 2021
Online | Wednesday 23 June 2021
  • All teachers of Chemistry GCSE
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • A specially prepared folder of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations


4.00 – 4.05pm: Welcome and introduction

4.05 – 4.35pm: What makes chemistry difficult?

  • Use of side-by-side examples to examine difficulties within chemistry content
  • Identification of key variables affecting difficulty: prior knowledge, task quantity, content demand, external supports
  • Explanation of the need for dynamism in responding to your students’ changing needs

4.35 – 5.00pm: Building prior knowledge in chemistry?

  • Exploration of evidence based methods to improve student retention
  • Examination ineffective methods for improving student retention
  • Presentation of a number of pragmatic and practical routes to embed long term learning

5.00 – 5.30pm: Teaching the Challenging GCSE Chemistry Topics

  • Use of “canonical examples” to show the importance of sequencing within a unit of learning
  • Discussion of how a rates of reaction unit should be structured in terms of quantitative and qualitative elements
  • Discussion of how a re-ordering of a structure and bonding unit can lower challenge and facilitate acquisition
  • Discussion of how an organic chemistry unit can be built to lower the challenge of the central “pinch point”: fractional distillation

Adam Boxer

Adam is the Head of Science at the Totteridge Academy in North London. A prolific speaker and blogger, he has delivered CPD nationally and internationally for Keynote, researchEd, The Chartered College of Teaching, Pixl, United Learning, STEM Learning, Herts for Learning and a number of other schools and trusts. Adam is the managing editor of CogSciSci, a grassroots collective of science teachers looking to embed empirical findings from the cognitive sciences into the science classroom. Adam was a contributor to the Oxford Revise series of revision guides, preparing Knowledge Organisers and Core Knowledge statements for the entire GCSE chemistry course. Adam is a pioneer of the booklet movement in science education and his freely available “SLOP” booklets are used by thousands of chemistry teachers across the country.