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 ...

Good Practice – Carrying out a lab

Here is an idea I got from a colleague of mine recently for a novel way of getting your students to plan a lab investigation. It is a model that could be rolled back and used in a variety of labs and it is very straightforward to do. Essentially, you give the students a task (for example, testing for halides) and then give the students a framework in which they can plan their own personal investigation. For example, you give them ...

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 ...

Man Made Minerals

This blog post was inspired by a recent BBC article I read on minerals. The full article can be found here if you would like to read more (after you have read this blog post, of course!): http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39133897 It has recently been announced that over 200 ‘new’ minerals (4% of the total known minerals) have been discovered – these minerals own their existence to us. As strange as it sounds, human behaviour has led to the formation of these substances. To me, ...

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 ...

Teaching Born Haber Cycles

I must admit, this is not my favourite topic to teach but it’s something I am working at. What I want to focus on here is not necessarily the cycle – I’m assuming you are OK with this. I’d rather focus this blog post on two other trends that can be identified using the data book: How lattice enthalpies vary according to: Size of the ion Charge of the ion I will also be referring to table 18 of the data book, ...

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 ...

Biochemistry Option B – London forces in fat and oils (Lipids topic)

Firstly, before I forget, a very Happy New Year to all of my readers, wherever in the world you may be! Lipids are covered in the Biochemistry Option (Option B). They are large organic molecules that are not soluble in water. They are studies as they have a number of different uses in living systems, for example triglycerides (fats and oils), phospholipids (cell membranes) and cholesterol. Fats and oils have essentially to same overall structure. The difference between them is that fats ...

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 ...