Chemistry is the second course in the core sequence of science classes in the high school. It builds upon the fundamental concepts first introduced in physics such as forces and particle interactions. It further builds the foundation of knowledge necessary for students to understand and appreciate the interactions of complex systems within and among living organisms that comprise the study of Biology.
Introductory chemistry is offered at academic levels 8, 6, and 1. The level 8 course is traditional in its structure and content as students move from an in-depth study of the Periodic Table to the formation of compounds to the development of quantitative skills through problem-solving.
The levels 6 and 1 courses also include the traditional and important content of chemistry courses, but the relevance of the information is emphasized and students actively construct knowledge through authentic problem-based inquiry exercises. The concepts are presented in a spiraling format at progressively higher levels of sophistication as the students progress through the course. At the start of each unit, students are introduced to a scenario that emphasizes the relevancy of the content, and a chapter challenge, that will allow them to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding through completion o f an engaging project. Each of the activities that comprise the unit relate to this final challenge, so students are progressing towards a completed product all along the way. Student preconceptions are identified throughout the experience through the use of exercises such as “What do you think.” As students progress, their understanding is continually checked using a variety of methods. Student learning is achieved through active investigation of the concepts using hands-on, minds-on exercises that engage student interest. The experience culminates in the completion of the challenge at the end of each chapter.