The rigour and demands of the reformed science GCSE requires a completely different style of teaching that is focused on teacher-led modelling, extensive student practice and long term retrieval. These sessions will move between empirical evidence and classroom practice to enable you to secure the best possible outcomes for your students. This session is live interactive workshop, with opportunities to ask questions throughout.

£229 for this series. 


  • 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 18 November 2020 (8327)
Online | Wednesday 25 November 2020 (8328)
Online | Wednesday 09 December 2020 (8329)
  • All teachers of Chemistry GCSE
COURSE CODE  8327, 8328, 8329
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


Session 1: 90 minutes
Wednesday 18 November 2020

The role of prior knowledge and long term memory in mastering chemistry

4.00 – 4.05  pm Welcome and Introduction

4.05 – 4.35 pm:  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 – 5.00 pm: Building prior knowledge in chemistry 

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

5.00 – 5.30 pm: Micro-sequencing: building up prior knowledge in a unit of learning teaching of GCSE organic chemistry, structure and bonding and rates of reaction                                

  • 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

Session 2: 90 minutes
Wednesday 25 November 2020

Applying the science of learning and explanation to challenging chemistry content

4.00 – 4.05  pm Welcome and Introduction

4.05 – 4.40 pm: Modelling abstract concepts and processes in chemistry                                                                                

  • Explanation of the multimedia effect and dual coding theory
  • The use of splint attention and redundancy in moderating cognitive load
  • The need for narrative structure within an explanation

4.40 – 5.05 pm: Employing live drawing in communicating chemistry                                           

  • Exemplification of live drawing in the teaching of energy changes
  • Exemplification of live drawing in the teaching of conservation of mass
  • Exemplification of live drawing in the teaching of fuel cells

5.05 – 5.30 pm: Using manipulatives and physical models in explaining chemistry                                                          

  • Demonstration of the use of a manipulatives in communicating the development of the periodic table
  • Discussion of the use of manipulatives in the process of fractional distillation
  • Combination of manipulatives and live drawing in the explanation of collision theory variables

Session 3: 90 minutes
Wednesday 09 December 2020

Examples, analogies and fading: lessons from cognitive science and Direct Instruction

4.00 – 4.05  pm Welcome and Introduction

4.05 – 4.25 pm: An introduction to Direct Instruction                                                                        

  • A brief history of Project Follow-Through
  • The movement from Direct Instruction to explicit instruction
  • Core principles of Direct Instruction made applicable to the teaching of chemistry

4.25 – 4.50 pm: A chemical Direct Instruction sequence                                                                                   

  • Application of DI principles to the teaching of ionic equations
  • The use of examples and non-examples in the teaching of ionic equations
  • How minimal variation can increase complexity across a learning sequence involving ionic equations

4.50 – 5.05 pm: Guidance fading                                                                                 

  • Theoretical underpinnings behind guidance fading
  • The use of guidance fading within a structure and bonding question set
  • The application of guidance fading within a moles problem set

5.05 – 5.30 pm: The use of analogy in concretising abstract concepts                                                         

  • Advantages and limitations of the use of analogies
  • Redundant analogies in the teaching of the periodic table
  • Demonstration of extended analogy in the teaching of dynamic equilibrium






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.