5 Ideas

I’ve collated a few ideas sent to me recently by some colleagues.  Hopefully they will be interesting and useful for you.



This is a classic game and a really useful tool to encourage students to learn key statistics which really add an additional element to written work.  The game was actually conceived in the 1960s as an educational resource.  For those who can’t remember how the game works, here are the rules:  http://www.toptrumps.com/how-to-play-top-trumps/.  I am going to use the game early next term when we study the topic of political parties.  The students will themselves have to make the game cards.  They will be given the category topics in advance (I am thinking of things such as year founded, membership, annual income, number of seats in the House of Commons, % share of vote in last election and a left or right wing index).  They will then go off and research the UK political parties and find out the relevant statistics for each of them.  They will bring the cards they make to the lesson and then in pairs play the game.  The students can easily find a template for the Top Trump cards from the internet.  They are readily available with a Google search.


1)      No teacher preparation (apart from thinking about the topic and the categories, although the students could even come up with their own for that).  The students do all the work.

2)      A great fun way for students to learn some of the key statistics which really are the icing on the cake of a great essay.


I am actually a massive fan of these activities.  They are a great starter or plenary activity.  I find that students seem, for some reason, to greatly enjoy putting slips of paper in order.  Examples I have used are for the different stages of the legislative process and key events in the New Labour years.  For the first one the students have to arrange statements in the correct order to reflect the different stages of the passage of a bill.  For the second one, they have to put events under the new Labour governments into their correct chronological order.    The activity could easily be used in another lesson.  Anything which involves a lot of stages of analysis is fertile territory.


1)      Minimal preparation time.  It didn’t take me long at all to come up with the legislative stages one this morning.  What actually took the time was laminating them, but I wanted to do this so I can use the resource again in the future.

2)      Fun.  As I have said, students for some strange reason seem to really enjoy putting slips of paper in order.


1. Had a good half hour with U6 today when I did a couple of past paper questions and got some of the answers deliberately wrong (that’s my story anyway) and photocopied it and handed it out along with a mark scheme.  Got them to score it and talk to me about it.

I tried to make the sort of mistakes that pupils frequently make and probably overdid it as I reckon it scored 3/16.  Amazingly, they pretty much all got the same scoring!  Except one.

Anyway, that made me happy, especially as it included some reaction mechanisms which they are normally sloppy about.  To finish off, we talked about whether the “candidate” was a good chemist or not, and they were unanimous in saying that whoever wrote the answers had a very good understanding of the chemistry involved and that they seemed to know what they were talking about.  But they would have scored a U grade.

2. This is a pdf version of an online test that I set my year 9 class as a homework using Socrative.

Works well on mobile devices – click here




A useful slide attached for the end of a lesson or project? – see below…





Ever had a dull topic to teach with no practical possibilities?

Topic: The EM Spectrum, Uses and hazards of members.

The solution?

Put students into small groups of two/three with a Smart phone and text books.

Task: to put the em spectrum members into order (their choice to decide what that means) and then each group given the task of finding out the properties, uses and hazards of one of them.

Present to the rest of the class. Class make notes. Could take a pic of a skeleton em spectrum from board and annotate it (if they had a tablet/wifi access).


Just some thoughts and suggestions to bank for the future.


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