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Breakthrough Science School Programme
Pfizer’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) education programme for schools: Inspiring the students behind the next life-changing breakthrough
The Pfizer Breakthrough Science programme has been developed by science teachers from the Academies Enterprise Trust, in collaboration with The Careers and Enterprise Company, the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and Pfizer, to connect your students with the power of science.

The free teacher resources and lesson plans have been designed for students aged 11-16 years and cover four key science topics from the science curriculum. Applicable across specifications, but based on the AQA GCSE Combined Science: Trilogy (8464) Specification, each topic showcases real life examples of science inspired by core curriculum units such as Acids and Bases, Infection and Response, and Chemical Analysis. Clear curriculum and careers learning objectives have been defined by the science teachers that helped create the lessons.

A jam-packed lesson slide deck and accompanying teacher guide is available to download for each topic for you to bring science to life in your classroom!

In partnership with


"The Breakthrough Science resources linked in with everyday life, with a range of different people in different jobs, and that made the students really engaged."
Ms Turner, Head of Science, Four Dwellings Academy

“The lesson really highlighted the bits of the curriculum that it set out to, so I feel confident that if I had these lessons embedded in our school’s curriculum, I would be hitting my criteria to teach careers and the core science principles.”
Ms Crowe, Assistant Vice Principal, New Forest Academy

Four science topics are available:


Why are separating techniques important in the lab?

Age range: 11-14

Curriculum topics covered:
Chemical Fundamentals, Chemical Analysis, Acids and Bases


You can use this lesson to explore the differences between pure substances and mixtures with your students, and show them how to separate a salt solution using a crystallisation technique, a required GCSE practical.

You can cover different identification techniques in different industries, brought to life by Pfizer scientists in the context of medicine development.

You could divide the learning into two lessons:

Purity and Making Salts - Practical

Identifying ions in a compound

Along the way you will meet Adam, Miheal, Vicky and Amelia from Pfizer. You can share Adam and Miheal’s Science Story videos to share their career journeys with your students or check out John, Steph or Alice’s Science Story for the more unexpected careers in the pharmaceutical industry.


Why are
salts useful?


Age range: 11-14

Curriculum topics covered:
Acids and Bases, Quantitative Chemistry


You can use this lesson to explore the varied uses of salts in industry, recap health and safety concepts in the lab and stretch your students to calculate the mass of products and yield from neutralisation reactions.

You could divide the learning into two lessons:

Health and safety in the classroom and lab. Reactions to make useful salts

Calculating ‘The Right Amounts’ for a reaction. Summary task on ‘Making a useful salt’

Along the way you will meet Vicky, Kudzai, Josh, Dione and Dan from Pfizer. You could explore the Science Stories of Emma, Adam, James, Miheal or Roger to uncover the types of careers your students could choose in ‘hands-on’ science. Or for more unexpected STEM careers, inspire your students with Alice, John or Steph’s Science Stories.


Why do we need new medicines to fight infection?

Age range: 14-16

Curriculum topics covered:
Infection and Response, Discovery and Development of Drugs


You can use this lesson to explore how medicines are developed, researched and tested by following the ‘molecule to medicine’ process in the quest to discover new antibiotics.

The lesson will uncover how clinical trials are run, and some of the people involved, as you meet real people that work at Pfizer and the NIHR. In the final task, your students will get the chance to build their own clinical trial.

This lesson was built with expert input from clinical trial researchers at the NIHR.

You could divide the learning into two lessons:

Infectious diseases, the ‘molecule to medicine’ process and discovering new sources of antibiotics. Optional extraction practical using flowers, vegetables or green plants.

Investigating efficacy of antibiotic compounds and testing through clinical trials.

Along the way you will meet Adam, Harpreet and Ana from Pfizer, and Mandy from the NIHR. You can hear Harpreet, Adam and Mandy’s Science Stories where they share how they got into science.


How do we determine the purity of compounds?

Age range: 14-16

Curriculum topics covered:
Chemical Changes, Chemical Analysis, Quantitative Chemistry


You can use this lesson to explore how formulations are produced and how we can test them for purity including the production of a pure dry sample of a soluble salt, a required GCSE practical.

You can share the implications of impurities in industry, especially in the context of medicine development as you meet some real people that work to produce pure product at Pfizer, and start a discussion on counterfeit medicines. Students can practice using melting and boiling points to determine purity in the final task.

You could divide the learning into two lessons:

How are salts made – producing a pure, dry sample in the classroom and in industry – required practical.

Testing for purity in industry and using melting/boiling points to determine purity – optional practical.

Along the way you will meet Josh, Kudzai, Dione and Dan who work in the Process Development Facility and Adam, Vicky, Miheal and Amelia who work on medicine formulation at Pfizer. You can link in how Miheal and Adam got into their STEM careers and James’s role in reducing impurities in medicines by sharing their Science Story videos in your lesson.

Science Stories

To really bring science to life in the classroom, you can also integrate our Science Stories video series into your teaching and boost your students’ careers education through your science lessons. You can access the playlist below:

View the full playlist on YouTube

Download the Breakthrough Science lesson resources today

To access the Breakthrough Science teacher resources, simply complete the form below. Upon successful submission, you will receive an email containing download links for each of your chosen topics.


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