Francis Holland has a dynamic and thriving Chemistry department. Staffed by three passionate teachers each with a further degree in their own area, every student is taught by a subject specialist, from the thirds through to the Sixth Form.
Miss Binny Shah – Chemistry and Physics
BEYOND THE CURRICULUM
As well as delivering lessons with excitement, an element of challenge and a wealth of hands on opportunities, we also offer a diverse of extra-curricular events and clubs to complement learning.
Junior Science Club meets every week; primarily run by enthusiastic Sixth Form chemists, this club allows for experimentation and demonstration in a broader range of the scientific field, from Engineering to Forensic Science.
The Salter’s Chemistry Festival provides an opportunity for four Lower Fourth students to take part in an investigative competition against other schools, using the laboratories at University College, London.
The Lower Four Science Fair requires all students to work in pairs to investigate a new and innovative area of Science. Taking place after the Summer Examinations, the students spend their time carrying out independent research into an area of their choice, to then present their findings to the rest of the school. After the heats, the main evening event invites parents, staff and students to see the best presentations judged by a professional scientist, often from a local university.
We regularly attend the GCSE Science Live! event, hosted in London, giving students in the Upper Fifth a chance to hear lectures from world leaders in Science, such as Professor Robert Winston and Professor Andrea Sella. Students also receive invaluable advice for examinations from the examiners themselves.
Students in the upper school are encouraged to take part in University College, London’s Lecture Series; lectures from symmetry in nature to the science of space travel take place on a weekly basis, and are just a short walk from our school site.
Sixth From chemists are given the option to take part in the Chemistry Olympiad, run by the Royal Society of Chemistry and the C3L6 challenge, run by the University of Cambridge. Both of these written papers pose demanding questions, giving students a flavour of Chemistry at a more advanced level.
The Spectroscopy in a Suitcase workshop, run by the Royal Society of Chemistry, allows A Level students to put their knowledge of analytical techniques into practice, with the use of Infra-red and Proton NMR spectroscopy here in school.
Outstanding lessons in Chemistry are delivered right from the thirds, and all students will study the subject at GCSE level. The use of IT is common in every lesson, and students can find more information and work to support their learning in class using the Chemistry pages on Firefly, the school’s Virtual Learning Environment.
We are proud of our uptake at A Level, and the number of students choosing to study Chemistry in the Sixth Form has shown an increasing trend over the last few years.
As public examinations approach, all members of staff in the department provide revision classes outside of the usual time table, and are always available to arrange smaller study sessions should a student wish to discuss their work in more detail.
KEY STAGE 3
1 double lesson a week
This course comprises five units. After an introductory unit which includes graph-drawing skills, naming and drawing apparatus, and reading scales, a range of practical experiments and demonstrations bring to theoretical science to life. Students study acids and alkalis, familiarising themselves with the pH scale. They also visit neutralisation and indicators. Later they start to consider what makes a reaction, and their technical skills are developed through the writing of word equations for the reactions they carry out. The fourth unit considers the structures and properties of solids, liquids, and gases, and how they change state. After the summer examination, students use chromatography to identify the contents of solutions, and think about how and where solutions are formed in everyday life.
1 double lesson a week
Recently re-written, this course begins to prepare the students for their GCSE, which they begin in the following year. Consisting of five units, this course provides a firm foundation of the fundamental principles of Chemistry, allowing for more demanding concepts to be developed in the future. The first unit looks at chemical notation, to include chemical formulae, naming compounds and balancing equations. Students then gain invaluable practice in planning and carrying out experiments through studying a range of neutralisation reactions. Metals are studied in detail in the following two units, to include their extraction, uses and reactions. Environmental Chemistry, to include the causes and the solutions to climate change are then considered, providing opportunity for debate and questioning of this controversial and current issue. After the summer examination, students take part in the Science Fair, details of which are given above.
UIV - 1 double lesson a week LV and UV – 1 double and 1 single lesson a week
The Edexcel IGCSE Chemistry course is taught over three years, and begun in the Upper Fourth. The course is assessed in two papers at the end of the Upper Fifth, with questions on both theory and experimental techniques. At Francis Holland, the Chemistry department ensures that each student is prepared for these examinations in terms of depth of knowledge and experience of practical work.
The following topics are covered across the three years:
UIV - Fundamental principles, Metals, Rates of reaction, Crude Oil, Other products from Oil, Energy from reactions.
LV – Structures and bonding, Quantitative Chemistry, Analysis, Neutralisation reactions, Air and water, Electrolysis.
UV – The periodic table, Equilibria, Manufacturing. There is then time remaining for revision and further practical work.
Further details of the course can be found on the Edexcel website: http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-international-gcses-and-edexcel-certificates/international-gcse-chemistry-2011.html
4 double lessons a week
We follow the AQA A Level in the Lower and Upper Sixth. The course is assessed in three papers at the end of the two years which, like the IGCSE examinations, assess students on their knowledge of theory of a diverse range of topics, and their understanding of experimental techniques.
There is no coursework, but instead a set of twelve practical experiments which must be carried out and understood in detail. The use of lab books in the Sixth Form give students invaluable experience should they be considering studying any Science subject at university level.
The course is broken down into three areas; Organic, Inorganic and Physical Chemistry.
The following topics are covered across the two years:
Organic – Alkanes, Haloalkanes, Alkenes, Alcohols, Aldehydes and Ketones, Aromatics, Amines, Amino Acids, Carboxylic Acids, NMR Spectroscopy, Isomerism, Proteins and DNA.
Inorganic – Periodicity, Group II – The Alkaline Earth Metals, Group VII – The Halogens, Properties of Period 3 elements, Transition Metals, Reactions of Ions in Aqueous Solution.
Physical – Atomic Structure, Amount of Substance, Bonding, Energetics, Kinetics, Equilibria, Redox, Thermodynamics, Electrode Potentials, Rate Equations, Acids and Bases.
Further details of the course can be found on the AQA website.
Chemistry is a well-respected and intellectually demanding A Level.
Studying Chemistry makes life a little less mysterious - it’s everywhere! Pharmaceuticals, food production, materials, climate change, energy supplies, forensics, cosmetics, technology, clothing…
Chemistry A Level is an essential requirement for anyone who wants to study Medicine, Veterinary Science or Dentistry.
Chemistry is also useful for those wanting to study anything science-related at university – Biochemistry, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Pharmacology, Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Natural Sciences…
The skills gained from studying Chemistry are very transferable, to include numerical, analytical and evaluating skills.