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Subject Spotlight - Chemistry

Chemistry, along with biology and physics, is one of the three major components of science. If we look at biology as the study of living things and physics as the study of the motion of matter, then chemistry is the study of matter itself. 

The study of Chemistry focuses on the composition of matter and understanding the behavior of chemicals. Students are introduced to the sciences at a very early stage within the Primary school. By the time the students reach Year 7, they already have a basic understanding of some scientific theories. Chemistry is the bridge that unifies the three sciences. All living things are made up of matter and all matter behaves in a certain way in response to energy. 

Chemistry aims to answer questions like ‘what is matter?’ and predict how different substances will interact with another. Knowing this information and understanding why certain behaviors can and will be observed has many benefits for us as humans. We use our knowledge of chemistry on a daily basis. Here are some examples that you may or may not have been aware of:

  • Chlorine, an element that is highly poisonous, can safely be used to purify water
  • Our electronic devices can contain up to 30 elements, including gold and silver, each element carrying out a specific function to ensure that you are able to connect with your friends on social media
  • The food you eat consists of complex chemical structures that are broken down and reformed to provide the nutrients needed for your body to move, build muscle and generally function as a whole
  • Even every-day medicines. Chances are that these products have been chemically tested to ensure there are no harmful elements and also, to ensure that they carry out a useful function for improving our lives. I.e. antacids- these are tablets that we take to neutralize excess acidity in our stomach and this in turn helps to reduce stomach pain.

As you can see, we are heavily dependent on our knowledge of chemistry. At BST, we provide the basic knowledge that underpins the greater understanding of more complex chemical theory. The knowledge obtained whilst studying chemistry at KS3 (Year 7 to 9) will then be further built upon at KS4 (year 10 and 11). Students will move on to learn more complex chemical structures, techniques for obtaining pure elements, and also the industrial uses of chemicals. Everything at this level will help to provide the foundation level of knowledge required for students to study chemistry for A-levels, if they choose to do so. The study of Chemistry demonstrates that a student has developed skills in analysis, problem solving, data analysis, research and an awareness of the functioning of the world around us.