Big idea: Chemical reactions

During a chemical reaction, atoms are rearranged forming new substances.

"Chemical reactions" is one of 15 big ideas of science in the Best Evidence Science Teaching collection. Understanding of the big idea is built up by a series of key concepts at age 11-16, which have been organised into teaching topics.

The research-informed resources for each key concept make up a progression toolkit that provides:

  • appropriately-sequenced steps for learning progression
  • diagnostic questions to reveal preconceptions and common misunderstandings
  • response activities to challenge misunderstandings and encourage conceptual development

Download teacher guidance notes for this big idea

 

 

Resources for age 11-14

Topic 1: Chemical change

Please also have a look at the particles and structure big idea page for more key concepts in this topic.

Topic 2: Understanding chemical reactions

Please also have a look at the particles and structure big idea page for more key concepts in this topic.

Topic 3: Energy and reactions

Topic 4: Acids and alkalis

Please also have a look at the substances and properties big idea page and the Earth chemistry big idea page for more key concepts in this topic.

Topic 5: Periodic table

Please also have a look at the substances and properties big idea page and the particles and structure big idea page for more key concepts in this topic.

Resources for age 14-16

Topic 6: Rates of reaction

  • Key concept 1
    Rate

    Resources for this key concept will be uploaded in summer 2021.

Topic 7: Energetics

  • Key concept 1
    Bond energies

    Resources for this key concept will be uploaded in summer 2021.

Topic 8: Chemical equilibrium

  • Key concept 1
    Reversible reactions

    Resources for this key concept will be uploaded in autumn 2021.
  • Key concept 2
    Dynamic equilibrium

    Resources for this key concept will be uploaded in autumn 2021.

Topic 9: Redox reactions

  • Key concept 1
    Defining oxidation and reduction

    Resources for this key concept will be uploaded in spring 2022.

Topic 10: Acids, bases and ions

  • Key concept 1
    Neutralisation process

    Resources for this key concept will be uploaded in autumn 2022.

Is there a recommended teaching order?

The Best Evidence Science Teaching resources can be incorporated into your existing scheme of work, if desired. 

However, we have used research evidence on learning pathways and on effective sequencing of ideas to develop maps that suggest how key concepts can be sequenced to build understanding of big ideas of science. These maps can help with curriculum planning.

View the key concept map for chemistry