These resources have been reviewed and selected by STEM Learning’s team of education specialists for factual accuracy and relevance to teaching STEM subjects in UK schools.

Beyond the stars

In this lesson, students apply their knowledge of chemical kinetics, spectroscopy, and structure and bonding, to an exciting new context – the chemistry of interstellar space. Having watched an engaging animation, students work in groups to find out about the nature of interstellar space, and its atoms, ions and molecules. They learn how the reaction conditions in interstellar space are different from those on Earth, and discover how scientists use spectroscopy to study chemical reactions that occur many light years away from Earth.   

This resource focuses on a novel and exciting area of chemistry. It is intended to allow A2 students to apply and revise their knowledge of:

  • Chemical kinetics
  • Structure and bonding
  • Spectroscopy

Learning outcomes

  • Students describe the nature of interstellar space.
  • Students explain how the conditions which determine the kinetics of chemical reactions in interstellar space are different from those on Earth.
  • Students apply their knowledge of structure and bonding to draw atoms, ions, and molecules – including free radicals – found in interstellar space.
  • Students explain how scientists can study chemical reactions that are many light years away from Earth.


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