At Chigwell we endeavour to stimulate an interest and promote enthusiasm for students studying chemistry. As a practical subject, students regularly carry out experiments and investigations to support and enhance their learning experience. The students are encouraged to think deeply and to extend their knowledge whenever possible through wider reading and interests.
Having previously followed an integrated science programme, students begin their studies of chemistry as a separate subject in Year 8. The schemes of work provide the opportunities for students to develop their practical skills through tasks such as the preparation of oxygen and investigating the conditions required for iron to rust. During this topic on heating and burning students see the uses and effects of different fire extinguishers – a favourite is always the demonstration on how to put out a ‘chip pan fire’.
Later in Year 8 the structure and arrangement of the Periodic Table is studied before moving on to look at Elements, Compounds and Mixtures in preparation for studying the iGCSE syllabus from Year 9.
In Years 10 and 11 students continue to study the Edexcel iGCSE chemistry Syllabus. The course involves integrated practical activities that build towards the final written examination.
A level chemistry is a popular choice at Chigwell. Pupils study topics in physical, inorganic and organic chemistry, and once again practical work forms a central and important part of the course. Pupils are given the opportunity to explore aspects of chemistry in addition to gaining experience in the safe handling of chemicals and apparatus.
There are many opportunities for students to develop a real interest in the subject beyond the specification requirements, and we strongly promote independent learning. Each year the Chemistry Department take part in various competitions such as: RSC Chemistry Olympiad, Cambridge Chemistry Challenge, Royal Society of Chemistry (R.S.C.) Top of the Bench and RSC Analyst Competition.
The Global Experiment is a practical project that is launched annually by the RSC. This gives students the opportunity to carry practical tasks out and collaborate their data with others around the world to analyse.
In addition, students are encouraged to join ChemNet which gives them access to scientific articles reporting the research across various areas of chemistry.