In Chemistry, pupils develop practical and analytical skills through topic-related exercises and longer investigations. Pupils are encouraged to learn via both written and oral presentation of collated material, and regular testing is used to assess progress. It is hoped that this allows the work to be enjoyed while confidence and understanding develop.
There are plenty of bangs, flashes – and other exciting reactions to look at – incorporated into the lessons. There is also plenty to stretch the most able. Mr Jolliff has written a whole book of resources to this end, published by the Royal Society of Chemistry – ‘Chemistry for the Gifted and Talented’. The course is also designed to develop higher order thinking including metacognition.
Topics include: laboratory safety, use of Bunsen burners, the principles of investigation, the states of matter, properties of materials, separation techniques, metals and non-metals, acids, the pH scale and antacids.
Topics include: elements, compounds and mixtures, preparation of oxygen, metal and non-metal oxides, oxidation and reduction, extraction of copper iron and aluminium, preparation of hydrogen, reactions of acids
and metals, preparation of carbon dioxide and the
Pre-GCSE topics: Kinetic Theory, conservation of mass
and chemical reactions.
GCSE topics: Air, oxidation and rusting, metals – reactions, uses and extraction, crude oil, alkanes, fractional distillation, atomic structure and formula mass.
The three Chemistry labs are spacious and very well equipped, enabling lots of practical work to be done. All the Chemistry labs are well served in terms of fume cupboards, with space for five pairs of pupils to work at any one time. Alongside the Chemistry labs is a computer room which provides excellent opportunities to use Information Technology and Chemistry-related software. Classes are taught by Chemists with support provided by a qualified technician.
All pupils study Chemistry through Years 7, 8 and 9. This allows the National Curriculum Core to be covered and from November in Year 9 to start the GCSE course in Chemistry.
The end-of-year Chemistry exam in Year 9 is particularly significant, as the Year 10 sets (and whether pupils study for the three separate sciences or Trilogy Award Science) are based on the results of this, along with those of Biology and Physics.