Section 4 : Atomic structures, chemical families and the periodic table

Theme: Problem solving and creativity

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you will have:

  • organised students into groups to design a poster to display on the wall;
  • supported students in looking for patterns and making predictions;
  • introduced your students to some of the problems and issues around the mining of natural resources and encouraged them to think about possible solutions.


When your students start to look for a job, the qualifications that they have will obviously be very important. However, potential employers will also be looking for people who are creative and who are able to solve problems; they will be looking for people who can think for themselves. The case studies and activities in this unit are designed to show you how you can give your students the opportunity to be creative and to develop their ‘thinking skills’. Some general strategies are given in Resource 1 . You need to think about how you can create an atmosphere of excitement and enquiry in your classroom. If you can do this, students will ask questions and readily contribute their ideas. Students love dramatic demonstrations and amazing and unbelievable facts and will respond to your genuine enthusiasm about the subjects that you are teaching. Most people are naturally intrigued by the chemical elements so this is a good topic through which to tackle this issue.

Resource 6: Generating electricity in Africa

1. Creating a stimulating learning environment