Queen Mary's High School

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Welcome to Chemistry

Curriculum area intent & rationale/department introduction

The Chemistry curriculum starts with its foundation in the National Curriculum and builds a broad and diverse series of units that are both interesting and engaging for pupils. The key stage three schemes for learning are based on Pearson’s Exploring Science Scheme with an emphasis on the exceeding activities to challenge our very able pupils. The focus is very much on laying a foundation for the Edexcel 9-1 GCSE units and there are many links in the units from KS3 to 4 and KS4 to 5, for example, the particle model in year seven links directly to the states of matter unit in year nine and atomic structure in Year 12.

Aims and values of the department

The Chemistry department provides a curriculum that challenges our high ability pupils using activities that promote independence and resilience, making students inquisitive and encouraging a lifetime love of learning.  

Where next? Links to careers

The knowledge and understanding essential for exam success are interwoven with skills and practical proficiencies, that prepares students for careers in the chemical sciences as well as other careers like medicine.

Suggested reading/curriculum enhancement

  • A Really Short History Of Nearly Everything- Bill Bryson

  • Kid Innovators- Robin Stevenson and Allison Steinfeld

  • Gory Details: Adventures From the Dark Side of Science- Erika Engelhaupt

  • Marie Curie And Her Daughters- Imogen and Isabel Greenberg

  • 30-Second Chemistry- Nivaldo Tro

  • How Science Works- Published by DK

  • This book is not rubbish- Isabel Thomas

  • What if?- Randall Munroe

  • Source 32 of the best science books for kids to read right now - BBC Science Focus Magazine

Trips & visits

We run CREST awards for years seven and eight and do the Salters’ Chemistry Competition for KS3. We also participate in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s annual Olympiad competition for KS5.

Department staffing

  • Mrs Holland- Subject Leader

  • Dr Darwood- Head of Sixth Form

  • Mr Lee

  • Mrs Parker

How can parents help?

Most important is to ask lots of questions, be interested and talk about Science, for example, news stories. It is also great if you can support students to complete homework projects and encourage them to spread this over weeks rather than leave it last minute!

You could also:

  • Visit Science museums such as Thinktank in Birmingham, Lapworth Museum of Geology in Edgbaston or The Science Museum in London.
  • Watch Science documentaries, for example, Horizon and The Royal Institution Christmas lectures (both iPlayer), or almost anything on National Geographic!!
  • Give a gift of a magazine subscription- National Geographic, The Week Junior Science+Nature or OYLA.
  • For KS5 Chemistry Review Magazine is great!