Big idea: Particles and structure

All matter is made up of atoms. The behaviour and structural arrangement of atoms explains the properties of different materials.

"Particles and structure" 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: Substances and mixtures

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

 

Topic 2: Elements and compounds

Materials science topic: Designing materials

This supplementary topic develops some introductory key concepts of materials science, and has been produced with the support of the Horners' Company Charity.

Topic 3: Chemical change

Please also have a look at the chemical reactions big idea page for more key concepts in this topic.

 

Topic 4: Understanding chemical reactions

Please also have a look at the chemical reactions big idea page for more key concepts in this topic.

 

Topic 5: Evaporation

Topic 6: Periodic table

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

 

Resources for age 14-16

Topic 7: Metallic bonding

Topic 8: Ionic bonding

Topic 9: Covalent bonding

Topic 10: Electrolysis

  • Key concept 1
    Electrolysis of molten compounds

    Resources for this key concept will be updated in early 2022.
  • Key concept 2
    Electrolysis of
    solutions


    Resources for this key concept will be updated in early 2022.

Topic 11: Acids, bases and ions

  • Key concept 1
    Acid and base
    models


    Resources for this key concept will be updated in autumn 2022.
  • Key concept 2
    Concentration, strength and pH

    Resources for this key concept will be updated 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