Year 11
Year 11
Kids working

VCE Chemistry Unit 1 & 2

Unit 1: How can the diversity of materials be explained?

In this unit students focus on the chemical properties of a range of materials from metals and salts to polymers and nanomaterials. Students explore the relationship between properties, structure and bonding forces within and between particles. Students are introduced to quantitative concepts in chemistry including the mole concept applying their knowledge of this to look at the composition of substances. Students regularly undertake practical work to reinforce skills and theory and assessment is based on practical work, tests and examinations.

Areas of study

  • How can knowledge of elements explain the properties of matter?

  • How can the versatility of non-metals be explained?

  • Student-directed research investigation


Unit 2: What makes water such a unique chemical?

In this unit students focus on the most widely used solvent on earth - water. Students explore the chemical and physical properties of water, the reactions that occur in water and various methods of water analysis. Students examine the polar nature of a water molecule the intermolecular forces between water molecules. Students explore the fundamentals of bonding forces and the physical and chemical properties of water. Students use these fundamental ideas to investigate solubility, concentration, pH and reactions in water including precipitation, acid-base and redox. Students are introduced to stoichiometry as well as analytical techniques and instrumental procedures including colorimetry, UV-Visible spectroscopy, atomic absorption spectroscopy and high performance liquid chromatography. Students regularly undertake practical work to reinforce skills and theory, and assessment is based on practical work, tests and examinations.

Areas of study

  • How do substances interact with water?
  • How are substances in water measured and analysed?
  • Student-directed practical investigation

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Unit 3: How can chemical processes be designed to optimise efficiency?

In this unit students explore energy options and the chemical production of materials with reference to efficiencies, renewability and the minimisation of their impact on the environment. Students compare and evaluate different chemical energy resources. They investigate the combustion of fuels. Students consider the purpose, design and operating principles of galvanic cells, fuel cells and electrolytic cells. In this context they use the electrochemical series to predict and write half and overall redox equations. They investigate and apply the equilibrium law and Le Chateliers principle to different reaction systems. They use the language and conventions of chemistry including symbols, units, chemical formula and equations to represent and explain observations and data collected from experiments. A student practical investigation related to energy and/or food is undertaken.

Areas of study

  • What are the options for energy production?

  • How can the yield of a chemical product be optimised?


Unit 4: How are organic compounds categorised, analysed and used?

In this unit students investigate the structural features, bonding, typical reactions and uses of the major families of organic compounds including those found in food. Students study the ways in which organic structures are represented and named. They process data from instrumental analyses of organic compounds. Students consider the nature of the reactions involved to predict the products of reaction pathways and to design pathways to produce particular compounds from given starting materials. Students investigate key food molecules through an exploration of their chemical structures as well as the reactions in which they are broken down and rebuilt to form new molecules. They explore the role of enzymes and coenzymes in facilitating chemical reactions, and use calorimetry as an investigative tool to determine the energy released in the combustion of foods.

Areas of study

· How can the diversity of carbon compounds be explained and categorised?

· What is the chemistry of food?

· Practical investigation