Chemistry Curriculum

Click on the links below to jump to a particular Year Group:


Year 9

Autumn Term
Topic - Metal Reactivity

  • Reactions of metals, metal oxide, metal carbonate reactions with acids
  • How to test for gas products and how to isolate some of products of the reactions
  • Neutralisation reactions, pH
  • Reactivity series and Equation writing

Topic - Useful Metals

  • Displacement reactions
  • Making electricity using metals
  • Reactivity series
  • Making copper and Equation writing

Spring Term and part of Summer Term

GCSE AQA Chemistry

Two Exam Papers

  • Paper 1: Topics 1 - 4
  • Paper 2: Topics 5 - 8

Topic 1 - Energy Changes

  • States of Matter
  • Distillation
  • Exothermic and Endothermic Reaction
  • Bond Energy Calculations

Summer Term (after Summer Half Term)

Year 10 

Topic 2 – Periodic Table

  • History of the Periodic Table
  • Atomic Structure and Ion Formation
  • Group 1 and Group 7 Chemistry
  • Transition Metals and Noble Gasses

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Year 10 

Autumn Term
Topic 3 - Structure and Bonding

  • Ionic Bonding
  • Covalent Bonding
  • Giant Structures
  • Polymers and Nanoscience
  • Chromatography

Spring Term
Topic 4 - Metal Extraction and Quantitative Calculations

  • Relative Atomic and Formula Masses, Mole Calculations
  • Yield Calculations
  • Acid and Alkalis
  • Titrations
  • Gas Liquid and Thin Layer Chromatography
  • Reductions
  • Electrolysis - Salt, Aluminium and Fuel Cells

Summer Term
Topic 5 – Rate of Reaction

  • How is rate affected by concentration, temperature, particle size and catalysis
  • Reversible Reactions
  • Equilibria

Year 11 (after Summer Half Term)

Topic 6 – Analysis

  • Chromatography
  • Gas Testing
  • Testing for Positive and Negative Ions (Triple Chemistry only)
  • Instrumental Analysis (Triple Chemistry only)

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Year 11 

Autumn Term
Topic 7 – Carbon Chemistry

  • Crude Oil Fractional Distillation
  • Properties of Fractions
  • Cracking
  • Alkanes and Alkenes
  • Reaction of Alkenes (Triple Chemistry only)
  • Alcohols, Carboxylic Acids, Esters (Triple Chemistry only)
  • Addition, Condensation Polymers and DNA (Triple Chemistry only)

Spring Term
Topic 8 – Earth's Materials

  • Evolution of the Atmosphere
  • Climate Change
  • Renewable Resources
  • Water Treatment
  • Life Cycle Analysis
  • Material Properties (Triple Chemistry only)
  • Nitrogen Fertilizers (Triple Chemistry only)

Summer Term
Revision and review

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Year 12

Autumn Term
Students study two units:

Elements for Life
The Big Bang theory is used to introduce the question of where the elements come from. This leads to discussion of the concepts of atomic structure, nuclear fusion, and the use of mass spectroscopy to determine the relative abundance of isotopes. Next, looking at how we study the radiation we receive from outer space provides the context for discussion of atomic spectroscopy and electronic structure. A historical approach is then used to introduce the periodic table, including the links between electronic structure and physical properties. This is followed by studying some of the molecules found in space, providing the context for introducing bonding and structure and the shapes of molecules. The storyline then turns to chemistry found closer to home. Ideas about the elements found in the human body and their relative amounts are used to introduce the concept of amount of substance and related calculations. The bodily fluids blood and salt then provide a basis for studying salts; this context also incorporates sea water and uses of salts such as in bath salts, lithium batteries, barium meals, hand warmers and fertilisers. This also provides the context for discussing the chemistry of Group 2 elements, as well as amount of substance calculations involving concentration and acid–base titrations.
The chemical ideas in this module are:

  • atomic structure, atomic spectra and electron configurations;
  • fusion reactions;
  • mass spectroscopy and isotopes;
  • the periodic table and Group 2 chemistry;
  • bonding and the shapes of molecules;
  • chemical equations and amount of substance (moles);
  • ions: formulae, charge density, tests;
  • titrations and titration calculations.

Developing Fuels
The use of fuels in cars provides the main context in this storyline, and is used to initially introduce the basic concept of enthalpy change. Food as ‘fuel’ for the body is then an alternative context in which to discuss quantitative aspects of enthalpy, including practical techniques and enthalpy cycles. The storyline returns to the constituents of car fuels to introduce hydrocarbons and bond enthalpy, after which cracking provides the background to how petrol is produced. Alkenes are then introduced in the context of saturated and unsaturated fats found in foods. This is followed by studying the polymerisation of alkenes in the context of synthetic polymers and their uses. The storyline returns to car fuels to discuss combustion reactions and amount of substance calculations involving gases, shapes of hydrocarbons and isomerism, and the atmospheric pollutants produced in burning fuels. The storyline ends by considering the contribution of hydrogen and biofuels as potential fuels of the future.
The chemical ideas in this module are:

  • thermochemistry;
  • organic chemistry: names and combustion of alkanes, alkenes, alcohols;
  • heterogeneous catalysis;
  • reactions of alkenes;
  • addition polymers;
  • electrophilic addition;
  • gas volume calculations;
  • shapes of organic molecules, σ- and π-bonds;
  • structural and E/Z isomers;
  • dealing with polluting gases.

Spring Term
Students study two further units.

Elements from the Sea
The presence of halide salts in the sea provides the entry to the properties of the halogens and reactions between halide ions. The manufacture of bromine and chlorine then provide the context for discussion of redox chemistry, electrolysis and the nomenclature of inorganic compounds. The use of chlorine in bleach is used to introduce the concept of equilibrium and calculations of the equilibrium constant, as well as iodine–thiosulfate titrations. This leads into a discussion of the risks and benefits of using chlorine. Finally, atom economy is introduced through the manufacture of hydrogen chloride and other hydrogen halides. The Deacon process for making HCl provides an opportunity to expand on ideas relating to the position of equilibrium.
The chemical ideas in this teaching module are:

  • halogen chemistry;
  • redox chemistry and electrolysis;
  • equilibrium;
  • atom economy.

The Ozone Story
An initial study of the composition of the atmosphere provides the opportunity to introduce composition by volume calculations for gases. Discussion of ozone‘s role as a ‘sunscreen’ then leads to ideas of the principal types of electromagnetic radiation and their effects on molecules. This introduces a study of radical reactions, reaction kinetics and catalysis, set in the context of the ways in which ozone is made and destroyed in the atmosphere. A consideration of CFCs and HFCs then provides the introduction to the chemistry of haloalkanes, including nucleophilic substitution, and intermolecular bonding.
The chemical ideas in this module are:
composition by volume of gases;

  • the electromagnetic spectrum and the interaction of radiation with matter;
  • rates of reaction;
  • radical reactions;
  • intermolecular bonding;
  • haloalkanes;
  • nucleophilic substitution reactions;
  • the sustainability of the ozone layer.

Summer Term
Students study two further units.

What’s in a Medicine
A consideration of medicines from nature focuses on aspirin. The chemistry of the –OH group is introduced through reactions of salicin and salicylic acid, beginning with alcohols and continuing with phenols. The discussion of chemical tests for alcohols and phenols leads to the introduction of IR and mass spectrometry as more powerful methods for identifying substances. The storyline concludes by examining the synthesis of aspirin to illustrate organic preparative techniques, including a look at the principles of green chemistry.
The chemical ideas in this module are:

  • the chemistry of the –OH group, phenols and alcohols;
  • carboxylic acids and esters;
  • mass spectroscopy and IR spectroscopy;
  • organic synthesis, preparative techniques and thin layer chromatography;
  • green chemistry.

The Chemical Industry
The storyline opens with a look at crop production and the nitrogen cycle, which leads into consolidation of redox concepts from the first year and introduces nitrogen chemistry. The industrial production of nitric acid and sulfuric acid – both used in the fertiliser industry – then form the context for developing understanding of rates, including determination of rate equations and equilibria, consolidating Kc and the introduction of how to determine units. These ideas are finally drawn together by looking at the industrial production of ethanoic acid. Overall, the three industrial processes allow for an overview of the effects of factors on the rate and equilibrium yields of reactions, leading to a consideration of the best conditions for an industrial process. The processes also allow learners to look at the costs of an industrial process, including hazards and the effect of these processes on society.
The chemical ideas in this module are:

  • aspects of nitrogen chemistry;
  • kinetics;
  • equilibrium and equilibrium constant calculations;
  • effects of factors on the rate and equilibrium yields of reactions; consideration of the best conditions for an industrial process;
  • analysis of costs, benefits and risks of industrial processes.

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Year 13

Autumn Term
(MR) The Materials Revolution
A study of condensation polymers and other modern materials.
The chemical ideas in this module are:

  • condensation polymers;
  • amines and amides;
  • factors affecting the properties of polymers;
  • disposal of polymers.

(SS) The Steel Story
An account of the production, properties and uses of steel, with reference to other metals.
The chemical ideas in this module are:

  • redox reactions;
  • electrode potentials;
  • d-block chemistry;
  • colorimetry.

(AI) Agriculture and Industry
A study of how chemists use industrial processes to benefit mankind and how they contribute towards a safe and efficient food supply.
The chemical ideas in this module are:

  • an overview of structure and bonding, including shapes of molecules;
  • equilibrium and equilibrium constant;
  • an overview of the effects of factors on the rate and equilibrium yields of reactions, leading to a consideration of the best conditions for an industrial process;
  • aspects of nitrogen chemistry, including the nitrogen cycle;
  • an overview of redox reactions;
  • a discussion of the costs of an industrial process, including hazards and their effect on society.

(WM) What’s in a Medicine?
A study of medicines such as aspirin, their development, chemistry and synthesis, illustrating some of the features of the pharmaceutical industry.
The chemical ideas in this module are:

  • phenols, carboxylic acids, esters, carbonyl compounds;
  • acid–base reactions;
  • medicine manufacture and testing;
  • IR spectroscopy and mass spectroscopy.

(TL) The Thread of Life
A study of proteins and enzymes. DNA and its use in synthesising proteins.
The chemical ideas in this module are:

  • rates of reaction;
  • enzyme catalysis;
  • optical isomerism;
  • amino acid and protein chemistry;
  • the structure and function of DNA.

Spring Term
Assessment: A2 coursework Investigation (30% of A2) – 20 hours lab time

(O) The Oceans
A study of the role of the oceans in cycling chemicals, including salts and carbon dioxide, and maintaining pH, i.e. the importance of the oceans to life on Earth. The chemical ideas in this module are:

  • dissolving;
  • acid–base equilibria and pH;
  • entropy;
  • disposing of carbon dioxide.

(CD) Colour by Design
A study of the chemical basis of colour in pigments, paints and the use of chemistry to provide colours to order.
The chemical ideas in this module are:

  • the chemical origins of colour in transition metal compounds and organic compounds;
  • aromatic compounds;
  • analysing pigments and oils, restoring paintings;
  • dyes and dyeing.

(MD) Medicines by Design
An account of the way chemical principles and techniques are used to investigate the effect of chemicals on the body, and to design and make pharmaceutical substances to meet specific needs.
The chemical ideas in this module are:

  • molecular recognition;
  • computer modelling and design of drugs;
  • synthesis of organic molecules;
  • NMR spectroscopy;
  • using spectroscopic techniques to elucidate structure.

Summer Term
Revision and Review

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