PRE IB: Why Chemistry?

This blog was written by Dave Allen, an experienced IB Chemistry teacher. To read more Chemistry blogs for students and teachers, click here. This is the first blog post of four offering students advice on the IBDP Chemistry course (both SL and HL). The four posts will consist of information on the following: Why Chemistry? What is the attraction of Chemistry and what can you expect from the course The Basics – knowing your moles The Basics – knowing your bonds (and ...

Carrying out a good IA project

Have you stated your Internal Assessment(IA) yet? If you are a 'May session' school, this anytime from May of IB1 until December of IB2 seems a likely time that your school will carry this out with you and ask you to write it up. Which means that you need to get some ideas on what types of things you can investigate. However, the aim of this blog post is to give you some ideas for writing and carrying out a good ...

VX – What is it?

Over this last month or so, the nerve agent VX has hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons but I did think it was worth looking at the chemistry of this molecule in this moths blog post. The obvious question is what is it? VX, or, to use the full IUPAC name is actually Ethyl ({2-ethyl}sulfanyl)(methyl)phosphinate. It is referred to as VX as it is a ‘V’ series of nerve agents (‘V’ stands for venom) and was first syntheiszed in the ...

Metallic Hydrogen and Scepticism

Scientists are supposed to be sceptical of others claims – you will encounter this in NOS (NOS 1.7 ‘Scientists must adopt a sceptical attitude to claims’). Why do I quote this? Well, you may have recently read or seen in the news that a new form (state) of Hydrogen has been produced. Hydrogen has been subjected to incredibly high pressure (495GPa or 495,000,000,000Pa – that’s 495 billion Pa). By contrast, standard atmospheric pressure is around 100,000Pa so this value is getting ...

Become a Future Science Leader!

No matter whether you’re an aspiring Biologist, Physicist, Chemist, or inventor, the IB Diploma is a fantastic stepping stone to studying your subject at university. However, an ambitious student can be left directionless with so many choices and questions – which subject should I follow? How do I break in to the science industry? With that question in mind our academics set about creating the perfect course for aspirant scientists - “Future Science Leader”. What is it? Future Science Leaders is a new ...

Chemical Warfare

Firstly, and before I forget, a very Happy New Year to all of my readers! I hope you had a good one wherever in the world you are. I have been meaning to write this for a while but other blog posts seem to get in the way! The post was developed after I read a news article about CS gas being accidently sprayed at London City Airport towards the end of October last year (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/21/london-city-airport-evacuated-after-chemical-incident/) I should point out that CS ...

Christmas Plant Indicators

Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, chances are you will be familiar with the Poinsetta plant (see image below). Poinstetta's are traditional Christmas plants due to their deep red colour and originate from Mexico. Image kindly sourced from: By André Karwath aka Aka - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16584 Probably what you didn't know though is that the deep red colour is called by a class of molecule called an anthocyanin (read more on anthocyanins here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthocyanin) Anthocyanins are water soluble pigments that change ...

Planetary Round Up

Saturn’s hexagon – have you heard of it? It is quite easy to see from the above images – and isn’t it amazing? A near perfect, natural hexagon of immense proportions. The sides of the hexagon are estimated to be nearly 14,000km in length – to put that into perspective, the diameter of the earth is a mere 12,700km! It does remind me of a quote from the film Prometheus (“God doesn’t build in straight lines”) but let’s not go down that ...

How well do YOU do it?

ATL or Approaches to Teaching and Learning. Hopefully, this will not be a new phrase or acronym to you and that your teachers will have exposed you to it…. But what is it? Well, ATL has been part of IB for at least 18 months and most probably even longer than that. It’s the idea that the IB does not only tell your teachers what to teach (ie, the curriculum) but also how they should teach it (that’s the Approaches to ...

The New Extended Essay

Were you aware that a new EE guide was out? It has been live for around three months and is for first examinations May 2018, so that will be students whom you start to teach this coming August / September. Now that things have got quieter with IB teaching (IB2 students are finished) I thought it was worth writing about it so that it can inform your planning. The first thing is that the guide is entirely electronic. I am sure that ...