Transcript of new content in chemistry

Speaker: Vatché Ansourian

Hello and welcome to today's session - New Content in Chemistry. Similar to all the other new content sessions that we do have, we are focusing our first few slides, just, and a little bit of housekeeping, so talking about the intent of the syllabus. The intent of the syllabus is, overall now, there's a focus towards working scientifically. And those skills are very important. They work as the bread and butter of what we do as science teachers. So using those as drivers for content is something that a lot of teachers are now doing when they are looking into programming and using those to further develop those skills in their students. There is a change in pedagogy with this new syllabus, a shift towards the inquiry model, where students are the focus. So a lot of open investigation, and the way the content descriptors are written talks about students investigating, and that includes primary and secondary source investigation as well. So a lot of room to be able to do things that are very student-focused and have students as the drivers of their knowledge as well. Each slide will have the context in terms of what is new, the module number and the topic, so you can find the location within the syllabus. Within each topic there is a number of subtopics.

We'll go through the ones that are new, and every subtopic has the inquiry question. And the inquiry question relates directly to that subtopic and it guides the learning. So there's a focus on the learning that we can do, and that inquiry question can do that. It does mean that you can elicit further questions as well, and it also means that you can differentiate with students as well by using the inquiry questions. The content descriptors will be provided as well, and they're the statements that describe the context, and they're the things that our students will engage with and the things that they will learn. Again, with each one, there's always opportunities to link in primary and secondary investigations as well. We'll try and give you some examples of what you can do in class, and even examples of content, and we'll also endeavour to provide you with a list of online resources that may include links to online interactive activities, and that will come with each of the new content sessions.

So we'll have one for chemistry, and that will just be links for each of the modules that you can use to build up your resources at this stage, because there are some new things within the syllabus, and we'll have those resources there for you. Again, Reading the Syllabus, we're including this in each of the new content sessions. What we are changing is just the content descriptors, so it relates to possession of... [INAUDIBLE] So, the words 'including', 'not limited to', and 'for example' are now being used in this syllabus. 'Including' means everything after 'including' will need to be programmed. Look at the content descriptor there talking about nomenclature of organic compounds. The expectation is that you would be programming all those organic chemicals from alkanes all the way down to halogenated organic compounds, up to eight-chained carbon molecules. 'Not limited to' means, and usually comes with the word 'including' before it, means you'd include everything that it states there, but 'not limited to' means that there are other points and examples that can also be chosen to be able to broaden the learning. This means that you can add in things that the students are interested in, or even opportunities where the teacher has an interest or the teacher has an area of expertise. Just means that we can add more depth to our understanding rather than just more breadth. 'For example' is an interesting one.

Essentially you can choose any of the ones that have been written there as our examples. You can choose to do one, both or all of them, depending on how many there are, but again this also means that you can bring in other appropriate examples as well, and introduce those into the learning. We'll play it safe, and what our teachers may be doing is looking at the examples there and trying to work through all those. And if there is time and if student interest dictates, then other examples can also be introduced to be able to bring in a little bit more depth, and talk about things that may be quite contemporary that are happening in the world right now. We'll start with the new content. One of the new things in this chemistry syllabus is Electronic Configuration and SPDF Notation. Now, this isn't new for those who are doing chemistry of art. It has been mentioned, it is mentioned, in the current syllabus.

However, what we are looking at is something that all students will be doing now, which is why we're calling it new content. This occurs in Module 1, Properties and Structure of Matter, subtopic, Periodicity, and the inquiry question is, "Are there patterns in the properties of elements?" So this looks at two things. It looks at electronic configuration and SPDF notations. So when you talk about electronic configuration we can talk about the Bohr model, talking about electrons in shells. If you want to use the KLM model you can as well, so showing any kind of electronic configuration. And again, the beginning of the content descriptor shows, or asks students, rather, to model the atom's discrete energy levels. So always bring that in when talking about these different electronic configurations. When it comes to SPDF notation, this is quite new for those who haven't done chemistry of art, and essentially is...denotes more to the quantum mechanical model of the atom, and it talks about the distribution of electrons among available shells. So what we are doing here is we're increasing the knowledge and understanding of our students by increasing the different kinds of models that we introduce. Stages 4 to 5 tend to talk more about the Bohr model. We are talking about discrete energy shells and even electrons moving between them.

Now in Year 11 and 12 what we are doing is we're expanding that as well, so increasing the models that our students know about the atom and bringing them more in line to what students are learning in first-year chemistry at university. There are a few things you can do within this, especially when it comes to trying to teach students to be able to use SPDF notation. So we have a few examples there in terms of what it looks like. Now, I've given you an image there in terms of pictorially what we show SPDF to look like. But there is also a little diagram on the right-hand side which are a bunch of arrows going down, which is the Aufbau principle, and this is... 'Aufbau' is German, 'to build up' or 'to construct'. So essentially it's a way of being able to write SPDF notation that's really easy to follow, and it can be used really well for the first 18. If you look at the expectation in terms of what students need to do in terms of the periodic table and the SPDF notation, the expectation would probably be up to the first 20 elements, which we normally do all the time, but again because there is depth within this syllabus and because we can introduce it, students also have the opportunity to be able to do SPDF notation also for a number of other atoms as well. And again what they can do using the content descriptor is also discuss other models and other rules that can also be used. For example, with SPDF notation there's also Madelung's rule that can be used as well, and students can talk about any shortcomings of these models in terms of what it shows or what it doesn't show.

The really great thing about introducing SPDF notation at this stage is it does really complete the understanding of what an atom looks like, or again, the electrons within an atom and where they are. We start quite early on in Year 7, where they tend to be more particles. As we... As our students grow older, we introduce other intricacies within this model. We talk about different particles within them, the proton, the neutron, and, again, electrons whirring and buzzing around the shell. Year 11 and 12, we're now closing this by saying "Well, there's another model as well, which is the quantum mechanical model of the atom," and again showing them a different form in terms of what it could look like as well. We're again continuing that knowledge and understanding and that continuum across Year 7, all the...up to Year 12. There are a number of available resources for SPDF that you can find online, including ways to be able to teach them to students. The model in front of you is probably one of the easiest to be able to do, and again works very well for a number of... [INAUDIBLE]

Continuing on with talking about a continuum of understanding from 7 to 12, the Bohr and Schrödinger models being introduced are being further introduced in the 11 and 12 syllabus. So again, Module 1, Properties and Structure of Matter, subtopic, atomic structure and mass. Why are atoms of elements different from one another?" The content descriptor asks students to examine spectral evidence for the Bohr model, and introducing the Schrödinger model as well. So, the Bohr model is one we've already seen before. Again, what students need to do is examine the spectral evidence for this one, and talking about the Schrödinger model, again, which we introduced as that quantum mechanical model of matter, also using spectral evidence to show why that works as well. And again the comparison of both, and talking about any shortcomings of either. The Ideal Gas Law is one that the current syllabus does have, and in the new syllabus it's in Module 2, Introduction to Quantitative Chemistry, subtopic, gas laws. And the inquiry question, "How does the Ideal Gas Law relate to all other gas laws?"

So what's new here are the other gas laws. And for your convenience, I've introduced those in a table there, so you can compare those to each other and again relate them to the Ideal Gas Law, which is what the content descriptor is asking. However, because the first words are "conduct investigations and solve problems", essentially what you want to do is bring in a few first-hand investigations or secondary-sourced investigations to be able to introduce that to students. So students can do a number of investigations for each of the laws there and again relate it back to the Ideal Gas Law. So we can still use things that we're currently using in our syllabus right now.

When it comes to the Ideal Gas Law, we can expand those, so you're looking at a series of experiments or investigations students can do to be able to meet that content descriptor. Enthalpy and Hess's Law. This leads us to a few things around the thermodynamics of chemistry that have been introduced in this syllabus, that may have been touched on in the current syllabus that we teach. So, enthalpy has been mentioned here, and though it's not explicit in the current syllabus, we do have a few content descriptors that students would need to engage in. So, there's a series of content descriptors which furthers the concept of thermodynamics in chemistry, which at this point allows us to look at our current Year 7 to 10 syllabus, and actually try and fit in where thermodynamics would work so we have that continuum all the way up to Year 12. With Enthalpy and Hess's Law, the main thing here which is really new is Hess's Law that we'll be talking about with our students.

So this is Module 4, Drivers of Reactions, subtopic, Enthalpy and Hess's Law. And the inquiry question is, "How much energy does it take to break bonds and how much is released when bonds are formed?" So a few content chunks there in terms of enthalpy, what enthalpy change is and what Hess's Law is. Again, introduction for our students here would be around how thermodynamics fits into chemistry, and there are some investigations that you can do within this one as well to be able to show students what enthalpy and what Hess's Law is. There's always ample opportunity to bring in models, whether they be interactive simulations or whether they be models that students can make or students can interact with to be able to show them all these different things as well. Again, leads us to Entropy and Gibbs Free Energy.

So, the introduction of Gibbs free energy here is an opportunity to retrospectively look at our current Stage 4 and 5 syllabuses and program where necessary, so that there is a continuum of understanding. The Gibbs free energy adds that rigour in this chemistry syllabus as well. So there's a need to be able to look back and see where we can fit things within our 7 to 10 syllabus, within our current program's units of work, so that when students get to Year 11 and 12, that, while this is new, they have the background knowledge, they have the concepts, to be able to build their understanding. The thermodynamics is becoming quite an important part of chemistry, and indeed within the physics syllabus as well. So there's a need to introduce these concepts earlier and probably at a basic level. So again, a few bits of information there for you to get your head around in terms of what entropy is, and again, what Gibbs free energy is as well, which is something our students will be interacting with because it is a content descriptor - Explain reaction spontaneity using terminology, including Gibbs free energy, enthalpy and entropy." And again, solving problems using Gibbs free energy formula there as well.

The chemistry syllabus has a few places where there are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applications, or Torres Strait Islander perspectives as well. One occurs in Module 5, which is Equilibrium and Acid Reactions, subtopic, Equilibria. How does solubility relate to chemical equilibrium?" Again, reading the content descriptor here - "Investigate the processes used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples when removing toxicity from foods, for example, toxins in cycad fruit." Because it says "for example", it means that you can choose to use that one, or it means that you can choose to use other examples of your own as well.

So if you look at this example here, wanting to use it, I've given you a little bit of a picture there about what a cycad looks like in case you haven't seen one, and there's a map of Australia that shows the distribution of the cycad. So if you look at where we are in New South Wales, people within...people who are on the east coast would be able to use this, and again, you can link to your lands councils and your AECG to talk about them, but they may not be applicable the more you go into central New South Wales. So for those who are amongst those regions, you can talk about cycads, which are the oldest living representative of gymnosperms. They've been around for about 300 million years. The red, fleshy fruit around that seed contains toxins which must be removed through processing. And this can be done through things such as leaching through water or fermentation. There are evidence, for people that are in the Blue Mountains region, so the schools that are around there, that...past evidence of Aboriginal peoples who have used pits to ferment cycads to be able to eat. But again, there are other examples that you can use to show toxicity in foods from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives.

For schools round the Hawkesbury River, there may be a case, say, to be able to look at things such as the daisy yams. But again, the advice here is to contact the AECG and your local lands council for information regarding any local ATSI protocols and perspectives. [INAUDIBLE] Leads us onto another perspective as well, and this is applications of chemical practices. Module 6, Acid/Base Reactions, Quantitative Analysis. "How are solutions of acids and bases analysed?" In the actual content descriptor there - explore acid/base analysis techniques that are applied in industries, by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and using digital probes and instruments. [INAUDIBLE] ..means all of them would need to be included, and again, when it comes to this one, always advice to be able to consult... Again, sorry, it's advised, rather, to consult the AECG and your local lands councils regarding any ATSI protocols and perspectives. Some examples they may want to look into which may give you some fuel to be able to talk with the AECG in terms of resources are things such as comparing native fruit acid levels with the ripeness of a fruit. Neutralisation of ant stings with plant saps. Using clays to neutralise stomach acid. Plant saps to neutralise bluebottle stings, for those of you who do live on the coast and where bluebottles do occur. Analysing minerals and clays which can be used as antacids as well. And, for an example, using the pigface plant as a laxative... [INAUDIBLE]

So there are a lot of examples out there, but again, the advice is to consult the AECG and local lands councils to see what is the most applicable for the Aboriginal peoples in the area, and what your students would be able to engage with the most. Calculating the Equilibrium Constant. While this is not new for some teachers who may have introduced this, this is now core content for all our students. It falls under Acid/Base Reactions in Module 6, Quantitative Analysis. "How are solutions of acids and bases analysed?" So this looks at applying the dissociation constant, and the pKa to determine the difference between strong and weak acids. So, some information there, and a few of the formulas that your students would need to engage with to be able to work these out. So that's the Ka formula and the pKa formula as well. Because we are working with logarithmic function here, again the expectation is that students are looking at deriving these equations to see how they work, not just plugging in...not just plugging in data where need be and getting out a number. We want them understanding the relationship between them.

So, with the dissociation constant, we know the smaller value of Ka, then the larger the value of the pKa and the weaker the acid. So it's something that some teachers have introduced within the current syllabus, but again, this is now core content for all students to be able to engage with. Nomenclature. I've added this here. This hasn't been written with the...hasn't been written in the new content that NESA has released. However, I've included this because now we are explicitly programming organic compounds and the nomenclature of organic compounds up to eight-chained carbon molecules. This falls under Module 7, Organic Chemistry, under Nomenclature. "How do we systematically name organic compounds?"

In the syllabus right now what we do have is straight-chained alkanes and alkenes from C1 to C8. What this new content descriptor does is that it explicitly tells us that we'll need to be looking at a whole bunch of other organic compounds outside of the alkanes and the alkenes that we do. Alkynes has always been additional content. If you've ever introduced those, alcohol students have always engaged with, but again looking at the naming of those. Aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids, we have had in our syllabus, but again, as an example. Amines and amides are new, and halogenated molecules have always been there, but again, we're looking at systematically naming the C1 to C8, which also includes simple methyl and ethyl branched chains as well. So again, with this one, the investigation allows us to incorporate a variety of primary and secondary investigations, and the best ones being modelling exercises or scaffolding exercises for students to make these compounds and to start naming these compounds as well. Analysis of organic compounds. I've included this one here because this one doesn't have any Australian Curriculum links to it as well, which means that analysis of organic...analysis of inorganic compounds... I apologise. It should be analysis of inorganic compounds. ..has been taken from a NSW syllabus that we have now and put into the new syllabus as well.

Now, remembering, when it comes to analysis of any compounds including inorganic, that, as appropriate, you consult chemical safety in schools for each chemical to see what can be done with it. For example, if you look at the flame tests which need to be programmed, that includes all the cations and all the anions that are in those content descriptors. Looking at things such as lead nitrate, it's important to know the toxicity, the hazards, the steps you need to take to be able to reduce the hazards in class. So, lead nitrate is toxic, but with... [INAUDIBLE] ..exposure, it's a cumulative poison, so use of small quantities is advised, such as five mills or under of an 0.1 molar solution. So taking these into account, consulting chemical safety in schools. When it comes to flame tests, again, if you are going to be using a solution, and spraying a solution, then a solution of less than 1% lead nitrate, for example, in a fume cupboard, again with personal protective equipment, would minimise the risk if performing flame tests. Also note that when you are doing other reactions, such as precipitation and complexation, that you also note any toxic chemicals that you are producing as well, and you minimise the hazards as appropriate.

For any of these you can find information in chemical safety in schools. [INAUDIBLE] Analysis of organic compounds, which is a newer area in the syllabus. So, Module 8, Applying Chemical Ideas. Analysis of Organic Compounds. Inquiry question, "How is information about the reactivity and structure of organic compounds obtained?" So, what's new here is mass spectroscopy, carbon-13, nuclear magnetic spectroscopy and infrared spectroscopy. So I've included some chunks of information there to help you out in terms of what each of them means. While the current chemistry syllabus has AES, AES is still in the new syllabus as well, so nothing's changing there. What has been introduced is investigating different processes used to analyse simple organic compounds that can be addressed in the course. So things like ethanol, things like glucose, including, but not limited to, these three spectroscopies that you see.

But it means that there may be, if time permits, and if student interest permits as well, that you may do further processes, further analytical processes or further analytical techniques, to be able to look at the structure of simple organic compounds. An example here that can be used is glucose, for example, which comes in three forms - alpha, beta and gamma. So, we know that alpha makes starch and beta is the one responsible for cellulose, but bodies only being able to use one, which is the alpha form. So using glucose as an example, you'll be able to look at images of glucose through NMR, mass spectroscopy and infrared spectroscopy, and compare each, see what they show, to be able to build a profile about what that molecule is and what that molecule looks like. And each of the different spectroscopy processes will show something a little bit different.

So not only is it looking at these processes as well, but being able to compare them, again, looking at the shortcomings of each, looking at the advantages and disadvantages... [INAUDIBLE] ..that each of them is able, which is really important when it comes to looking at analytical techniques as well. There's scope here to be able to do things such as depth studies, to be able to, perhaps, tie in with universities as well to be able to look at what techniques they're using, and perhaps even go for visits to be able to have a look at what universities can offer, and whether your students can perform mass spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy or even NMR with carbon-13. So, this brings us to the end of the new content in chemistry.

We've got time to answer some questions, so we're going to move on to the final slide. So, there's a question pod there, and you'll be able to ask some questions. Cherine and I will do our best to answer as many questions as we can. Again, when it comes to some questions, we may direct you to NESA, but for anything else, when it comes to curriculum implementation, what we'll do is we will be able to answer... [INAUDIBLE] Just before we go on, when it comes to prerequisites for any courses such as physics and chemistry, biology, earth and environmental, because we have spoken about the rigour, and there seems to be an increase in the number of equations, the fact that students need to derive in class as well, the expectation falls on the school to be able to make a local policy to support their students in being able to take up that subject. So you may put 'A' level of mathematics for students to be able to enrol in the subject.

However, because of the inquiry nature of the new courses, essentially it allows any student to be able to do it, and it would be up to the teacher to be able to differentiate for different student needs. Again, thank you, everyone, for joining us. We will still have the questions up, and the question pod will be available, so we will still be answering questions, so you'll be able to see those when you do come back to this room. And again, a recording of today's session will be available tomorrow for you guys to listen to again. Thank you very much, and have a great day.

End of transcript

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