Developing and using models

Developing and using models Chemistry is the study of materials both on the macroscopic and microscopic levels. Chemists use models to try and explain their observations as they formulate theories. As new data becomes available, chemists evaluate the model they are using and if necessary go on to refine it by making modifications.  In this course you will learn about some of the processes involved in developing, using and assessing a model. These processes will be illustrated by examples, from a range of different chemical contexts such as the particle nature of matter, balancing equations, equilibria, structure and bonding. The ‘using models’ thread of ideas shows the progression and development of the associated core ideas from upper primary aged students through to post-16 students and beyond. Within the thread, the particle theory of matter is used to illustrate the core ideas.

​After working through this course you will:


  • develop an understanding of the difficulties faced by students when trying to link macroscopic observations to microscopic explanations;
  • appreciate how the key ideas of modelling develop and progress throughout secondary education;
  • become more confident and competent in using models as a key idea in the teaching of chemistry to secondary aged students; and
  • be equipped with a range of activities and resources to support students in developing their ideas about models.

Free course for signed-in users   This course requires you to sign in with your RSC ID for full access