What will I learn?
Pupils study science in Year 7 and Year 8. From Year 9, as with the other sciences, we follow the AQA GCSE specification. This qualification is linear and learners will sit all their exams at the end of the course. Some pupils will study AQA GCSE chemistry; other pupils will study AQA GCSE combined science.
Pupils will study ten topic areas in chemistry:
- Atomic structure and the periodic table
- Bonding, structure, and the properties of matter
- Quantitative chemistry
- Chemical changes
- Energy changes
- The rate and extent of chemical change
- Organic chemistry
- Chemical analysis
- Chemistry of the atmosphere
- Using resources
Pupils carry out a range of practical activities throughout the GCSE course to allow opportunities for choice and use of appropriate laboratory apparatus for a variety of experimental problem-solving and/or enquiry-based activities. These include:
- Use of appropriate apparatus to make and record a range of measurements accurately, including mass, time, temperature, and volume of liquids and gases.
- Safe use of appropriate heating devices and techniques including use of a Bunsen burner and a water bath or electric heater.
- Use of appropriate apparatus and techniques for conducting and monitoring chemical reactions, including appropriate reagents and/or techniques for the measurement of pH in different situations.
- Safe use of a range of equipment to purify and/or separate chemical mixtures including evaporation, filtration, crystallisation, chromatography and distillation.
- Making and recording of appropriate observations during chemical reactions including changes in temperature and the measurement of rates of reaction by a variety of methods such as production of gas and colour change.
- Safe use and careful handling of gases, liquids and solids, including careful mixing of reagents under controlled conditions, using appropriate apparatus to explore chemical changes and/or products.
- Use of appropriate apparatus and techniques to draw, set up and use electrochemical cells for separation and production of elements and compounds.
Maths skills are included in the assessment of chemistry; a minimum of 20% of the marks in chemistry assess mathematical skills.
AQA GCSE chemistry and AQA GCSE combined science are both good routes to study chemistry at A level in the sixth form.