The Chemistry course developed for years 11 and 12 is fully contextualised to identify where chemistry exists in our world through an extensive range of techniques, including teacher directed instruction, individual and small group work extending to full class discussion, independent research, ICT and a large number of hands on activities involving experimental reactions and analysis.
At the start of Term 1 students are introduced to the fundamental concepts and terms necessary for future development and understanding throughout the rest of the course, such as the nature of atoms and their role in bonding and formation of more complex molecules. This involves a number of hands on experiments in which the students investigate properties of the compounds and the intrinsic reasons why these properties differ.
Towards the end of the semester the nature of science is investigated through a unit based around pollution. Students explore both experimentally and through critical analysis of current ideas how science impacts on the world around them. In particular, students independently research the ideas and implications that these issues have on other areas of their life.
By the end of this semester the students develope a strong understanding of the intrinsic nature of the properties of compounds and how to analyse the data collected and reported in the press in order to make informed decisions based on their own understanding, including what is required to conduct experiments in order to validate the findings and the role that scientists have on shaping policy.
Whilst in Semester 1 students are introduced to the fundamental concepts and terms, the second semester focuses on exploring chemistry in the world around us. Students continue their investigation into pollution of our atmosphere to analyse how science impacts on the world around them through experimental and critical analysis of current ideas and interpretation of second hand data.
Students continue to develop their understanding of the intrinsic nature of the properties of compounds and analysis of molecular properties.
Then during the second half of the semester the students look at two of our basic human needs, water and food. Students conduct an Extended Experimental Investigation of the water in the local reservoir to investigate how and why water needs to be regularly analysed to ensure that it is safe to drink. Furthermore since we all need to eat to survive, students analyse how the choices we make affect our health-from diet drinks to cholesterol, and the role of chemistry within our body. This includes investigating and analysing how the energy is stored in food and energy cycles, including changes associated with reactions through a discussion of Hess’ Law.