You need to login before you download the free activities. You can register here.


Snow and ice

  • Key Stage 3
  • GCSE
  • Topical

Type: Activity
Learning Strategy: Interactive teaching
Topic: Bonding & structure

Climate is strange! 2010 was one of the warmest years on record. But winter gave the UK its earliest snow blanket in 20 years, closed airports and left people stranded overnight on freezing trains. The upd8 team have put together two special quizzes on snow and ice, to reinforce huge chunks of chemistry - in the GCSE and in the 11-14 curriculum.

'Snow and ice' follows the TV quiz show QI (Quite Interesting), hosted by Stephen Fry. It's an ideal format to get the class talking and thinking about the science. Each question is provocatively phrased to grab interest, and students are rewarded for creative answers as well as explaining the science. As in the show, they lose points for 'obvious and wrong' answers' which we've designed to expose some of their scientific misconceptions.

If you'd like more topical activities like this, write a comment and tell us.

Published: 11th December 2010
Reviews & Comments: 8

Send to a Friend

Learning objectives

How to use the particle model to explain phenomena and make predictions
How to explain properties of materials in terms of their structure, and bonding

Try the activity

Please login to download activities

14-16 (GCSE)
Structure and bonding
11-14 (KS3)
Particles: using the model to explain and make predictions

Running the activity

To play the quiz competitively, you could split the class into teams. The rules:

- Each question is actually 2 questions: the 'starter' (on the stimulus slide) and a 'follow up' question (at the end of the first paragraph of the answer slide)
- Starter: up to 5 points for any interesting answer, or the correct one. For fun: if they guess the obvious and wrong answer, deduct 10 points.
- Follow up: Up to 10 points – as it's more difficult – for a scientific explanation - more points for answers with correct scientific language. We don't students to get the whole answer right – the idea is to create a teachable moment to explain some chemistry.

N.B. Turn on the sound – to get the quiz sound effects.To prepare for being quizmaster, read the 'questions and wrong answers' below and do a practice run through.

How to navigate the slides:

- Click 'left' or 'right' arrows to go forward or back.
- If someone gives the 'obvious and wrong' answer, click the 'cross' button. The wrong answer will flash with an alarm sound. You can then click the 'tick' button to get the correct answer. (you need to familiarise yourself with these in advance -see below)
- When you have collected answers from pupils, you reveal the correct answer by clicking the 'tick' button.
- The first paragraph will give some further information and a question which students can answer.
- Some of the questions have video clips linked to them. Click on the hyperlinked camera icon.

Reviews & Comments

Write your online review to share your feedback and classroom tips with other teachers. How well does it work, how engaging is it, how did you use it, and how could it be improved?

Snow and ice review

Feb 10th, 2012

1 Star

I can't open the GCSE file :(

Reviewer: A Varsani

Broken link for GCSE

Feb 19th, 2011

3 Star

but the KS3 one is good. Please fix the link for the GCSE one!

Reviewer: Gerry Gray


Dec 22nd, 2010

3 Star

Is there meant to be an alarm sound when you click on the cross or tick? Just looking in prep for Jan.

Reviewer: Catherine Harris

Enjoyable but could have done with a few more questions

Dec 16th, 2010

4 Star

My classes enjoyed this activitybut the weaker students did not debate enough to make it last as long as I would have liked.
Perhaps add a few of your own festive questions at the end.

Reviewer: Bernadette Flindall

Snow and Ice

Dec 13th, 2010

5 Star

Very sorry some of you have been having problems with the KS4 version - have just checked again, and downloaded it successfullly. The hyperlinks all worked fine, too.

If you're having problems, please let us know what system you're using, so we can try to get it sorted out very rapidly.

Many thanks, Philippa (upd8 editorial team)

Reviewer: philippa Hulme

Snow and Ice K.s.3

Dec 13th, 2010

5 Star

I've been looking forward to this and it went down with a mixed ability Y8 group.The "obvious/wrong" function did not always work and I wasn't sure of the validity of some of the "obvious/wrong" answers; I thought they were neither wrong or obvious but debateable. Neverthe less it generated debate and I will be using it again and looking forward to using it on the staff.

Reviewer: Nick Jones

GCSE Snow and Ice

Dec 13th, 2010

3 Star

Unfortunately, i'm the same - unable to open the GCSE version, the other documents work fine...

Reviewer: Sharon Kaur

Snow and Ice GCSE

Dec 12th, 2010

3 Star

Unfortunately I was unable to download the GCSE version of Snow and Ice. The KS3 and the notes were fine, but I wanted the GCSE version for a year 11 group.

Reviewer: Jeannette Curtis