Have you seen the new TSM (teacher support material)? It was first uploaded to the OCC (online curriculum centre) back in August and with the release of the new course, it makes vital (and interesting!) reading.

Whilst the old TSM material consisted of a number of PDF files of labs, this new revamped version is more like an e-book and it is my intention to run over some of the highlights:

The TSM now aims to support teachers in structuring and delivering a course, as well as giving some support to laboratory work. As you can imagine, it contains references to NOS (The nature of science) but I will not deal with this in this post (NOS has been covered elsewhere in this blog and will I will indeed continue to cover it in further posts).

Under the introduction, there is also a small section on International Mindedness (IM) which is worth reading. The main focus of this section is to deal with the scientific method and a few links and references are provided. This is worth spending some time on with your students as the scientific method is often covered but in TOK and not Chemistry. So why not buck the trend? I do genuinely think this will be useful to students as they learn and explore not just the theory but the practical nature of the subject.


Two really useful chapters that can be found on the left hand menu are ‘Structuring a Course’ and ‘Planning Activities for a Sub Topic’. Being a face to face workshop leader, as well as an online workshop leader and a blogger for OSC I often get asked questions about these very topics – so I know where I will be pointing people in the future!!

I think the author has done an excellent job in the section ‘Structuring a Course’ and here you can find some really good ideas regarding teaching SL and HL together or just SL by themselves. The author has also listed the recommended teaching time for the sub topics (something that is not in the guide) as well as the prescribed / mandatory labs. Not being content with this, the author has also gone on the give you an example of how to structure one of the sub topics, focussing on sub topic 5.1 (measuring energy changes). There are some ideas of how to reinforce the ‘understandings’, ‘applications and skills’, IM, TOK and ‘utilization sections in the sub topic, as well as some teaching and lab activities that you can use.

Then we get onto the interesting information – a section on ‘practical work’ – again, listing the prescribed labs as well as some guidance on errors and uncertainties. This information seems to be the same as we used for the old course – so now changes here (which I am very grateful to see!) and then another chapter on the new IA criteria (I have covered this in other blog posts so do not intend to elaborate on this here, although I am sure I will continue to do so in the future!)

The last part of the TSM materials are 10 pre assessed IA labs. This is the most useful part of the material and is worth looking at in detail. As with the last TSM material the work is organised into the ‘student work’, the ‘annotated student work’ and the ‘moderators comments’. It is all really useful stuff!

It is my intention to spend next month’s post looking over some of this material and giving some ideas how you can use it in your classes and departments – so watch this space!

I hope you found this article useful but why are you still reading? Shouldn’t you be looking over this wealth of information from the IB? Just login to the OCC and get reading! Seriously, if you do have any more specific questions regarding the TSM or other aspects about the course in general, please pot them below and I will be happy to read them.