Preliminary Chemistry

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24 Lessons

Preliminary Chemistry Skills

During the Preliminary Chemistry course it is expected that students will further develop skills in

  • planning and conducting investigations,
  • communicating information and understanding,
  • scientific thinking and problem-solving
  • working individually and in teams.

Each module specifies content through which skill outcomes can be achieved. Teachers should develop activities based on that content to provide students with opportunities to develop the full range of skills.

Modules of Preliminary Chemistry

The Chemical Earth

The Earth includes a clearly identifiable biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere. All of these are mixtures of thousands of substances and the use of this pool of resources requires the separation of useful substances. The processes of separation will be determined by the physical and chemical properties of the substances. In order to use the Earth’s resources effectively and efficiently, it is necessary to understand the
properties of the elements and compounds found in mixtures that make up earth materials. Applying appropriate models, theories and laws of chemistry to the range of earth materials allows a useful classification of the materials and a better understanding of the properties of substances. This module increases students’ understanding of the nature, practice, applications and uses of Preliminary chemistry.


The cultural development of humans has been closely connected with their discovery of materials and invention of tools to the point where major advances in cultural achievement have been described in terms of the materials they learned to use. This has included their use of metals and discoveries of increasingly sophisticated methods of extraction of metals from their ores. Because metals make up the majority of elements, an examination of the physical and chemical properties of metals is also an appropriate context in which to consider the organisation of the common Periodic Table. The development of a Periodic Table represented a breakthrough in the systematic organisation and study of chemistry and enabled scientists to predict the discovery of further elements. This module increases students’ understanding of the history, applications and use of chemistry and current issues, research and developments in Preliminary chemistry.


The first astronauts who viewed the Earth from space commented on the beauty of our water-rich blue planet. Earth’s position in the solar system enables its retention of water in solid, liquid and gaseous forms on and around its surface. The particular properties of the water molecule assisted the evolution of life and continue to support life processes by maintaining a narrow temperature range on the Earth’s surface. The concepts of bonding and intermolecular forces are used to increase understanding of the special nature of the water molecule. The chemistry of solutions is examined in greater detail. This module increases students’ understanding of the nature and practice of chemistry and the implications of chemistry for society and the environment.


Anthropologists and palaeontologists tell us that one of the important cultural achievements of early humans was the discovery of fire and the invention of ways to use fire. Burning is then one of the most common and oldest chemical reactions. People meet this in their everyday life in such varied ways as lighting a match, cooking with gas and using fires. The arrival of the industrial revolution and the increased need for fuels to power machinery mean that humans have become increasingly dependent on fuels. Heat is a major product of the burning process.
Most burning of fuels in our society is done to produce heat for powering machinery, cooking or providing warmth. The efficiency with which this is done is becoming of increasing concern to society because fossil fuels, which have been the mainstay fuels, are finite and non-renewable. People are becoming increasingly concerned about the damage done to the Earth’s environment by careless and inefficient use of fossil fuels. Strategies for the efficient use of fuels can be assessed in the light of the factors that drive chemical reactions, including combustion. As fossil fuels are carbon compounds, an understanding of the structure and properties of simple carbon compounds assists understanding of the issues associated with the use of these fuels. This module increases students’ understanding of the applications and uses of chemistry and the implications of Preliminary chemistry for society and the environment.

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Chemical Earth > Mixture

Chemical Earth > Elements

Chemical Earth > Compounds

Chemical Earth > Extracting Elements from Compounds

Chemical Earth > Properties of Elements and Compounds

Chemical Earth > Exam Preparation Papers

Metals > History of Metals (Free)

Metals > Reactions and Uses of Metals

Metals > Periodic Table

Metals > Analysis and the Mole Concept

Metals > Metals as Resources

Metals > Exam Preparation Papers

Water > Distribution

Water > Structure and Properties

Water > Water as a Solvent

Water > Concentration of Solutions

Water > Heat Capacity

Water > Exam Preparation Papers

Energy > Chemical Energy

Energy > Carbon Compounds

Energy > Hydrocarbons

Energy > Combustion

Energy > Reaction Kinetics

Energy > Exam Preparation Papers