Chemistry Course Catalogue

Chemistry explores and explains the composition and behaviour of matter and the chemical processes that occur on Earth and beyond. Chemical models and theories are used to describe and explain known chemical reactions and processes. Chemistry underpins the production and development of energy, the maintenance of clean air and water, the production of food, medicines and new materials, and the treatment of wastes.

VCE Chemistry enables students to explore key processes related to matter and its behaviour. Students consider the relationship between materials and energy through four themes: the design and composition of useful materials, the reactions and analysis of chemicals in water, the efficient production and use of energy and materials, and the investigation of carbon-based compounds as important components of body tissues and materials used in society. Students examine classical and contemporary research, models and theories to understand how knowledge in chemistry has evolved and continues to evolve in response to new evidence and discoveries. An understanding of the complexities and diversity of chemistry leads students to appreciate the interconnectedness of the content areas both within chemistry, and across chemistry and the other sciences.

An important feature of undertaking a VCE science study is the opportunity for students to engage in a range of inquiry tasks that may be self-designed, develop key science skills and interrogate the links between theory, knowledge and practice. In VCE Chemistry inquiry methodologies can include laboratory experimentation, modelling, site tours, fieldwork, local and remote data-logging, simulations, animations, literature reviews and the use of global databases. Students work collaboratively as well as independently on a range of tasks. They pose questions, formulate hypotheses and collect, analyse and critically interpret qualitative and quantitative data. Students analyse the limitations of data, evaluate methodologies and results, justify conclusions, make recommendations and communicate their findings. They investigate and evaluate issues, changes and alternative proposals by considering both shorter and longer term consequences for the individual, environment and society. Knowledge of the safety considerations, including use of safety data sheets, and ethical standards associated with chemical investigations is integral to the study of VCE Chemistry.

As well as an increased understanding of scientific processes, students develop capacities that enable them to critically assess the strengths and limitations of science, respect evidence-based conclusions and gain an awareness of the ethical, social and political contexts of scientific endeavours.

The VCE study design is made up of four units:
Unit 1 : How can the diversity of materials be explained?
Unit 2 : What makes water such a unique chemical?
Unit 3 : How can chemical processes be designed to optimise efficiency?
Unit 4 : How are organic compounds categorised, analysed and used?

Course List

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