Chemistry Aim and Objectives at O Level

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Subject Content Most of the objectives specified in this section relate to Knowledge with Understanding, although some indication has been given as to where the skills of Handling Information and Solving Problems may be developed. Teachers are reminded that, in the written papers, 40% of the marks are allocated to these higher 'thinking' skills. In almost every section, students should therefore be given practice at dealing with unfamiliar situations so that these higher thinking skills can be developed.

It is important that, throughout the course, attention should be drawn to:

i) the finite life of the world's resources and hence the need for recycling and conservation;

ii) economic considerations in the chemical industry, such as the availability and cost of raw materials and energy;

iii) the social, environmental, health and safety issues relating to the chemical industry;

iv) the importance of chemicals in industry and in everyday life.

1 Experimental Chemistry

It is expected that any course in Chemistry will be based on experimental work. Teachers are encouraged to develop appropriate practical work for their students to facilitate a greater understanding of the subject.

1.1 Experimental design

Candidates should be able to:

(a) name appropriate apparatus for the measurement of time, temperature, mass and volume, including burettes, pipettes, measuring cylinders and gas syringes.

(b) suggest suitable apparatus, given relevant information, for a variety of simple experiments, including collection of gases and measurement of rates of reaction.

1.2 Methods of purification and analysis

Candidates should be able to: (a) describe methods of purification by the use of a suitable solvent, filtration and crystallization, distillation and fractional distillation, with particular references to the fractional distillation of crude oil, liquid air and fermented liquor; (b) suggest suitable methods of purification, given information about the substances involved; (c) describe paper chromatography and interpret chromatograms including comparison with 'known' samples and the use of R1 values; (d) explain the need to use locating agents in the chromatography of colourless compounds; (e) deduce from the given melting point and boiling point the identities of substances and their purity; (f) explain that the measurement of purity in substances used in everyday life, e.g. foodstuffs and drugs, is important.

1.3 Identification of ions and gases

Candidates should be able to: (a) describe the use of aqueous sodium hydroxide and aqueous ammonia to identify the following aqueous cations: aluminium, ammonium, calcium, copper(II), iron(II), iron(III), lead(II) and zinc (formulae of complex ions are not required);

viii(b) describe tests to identify the following anions: carbonate (by the addition of dilute acid and subsequent use of limewater), chloride (by reaction of an aqueous solution with nitric acid and aqueous silver nitrate), iodide (by reaction of an aqueous solution with nitric acid and aqueous lead(II) nitrate), nitrate (by reduction with aluminium and aqueous sodium hydroxide to ammonia and subsequent use of litmus paper) and sulphate (by reaction of an aqueous solution with nitric acid and aqueous barium nitrate); (c) describe tests to identify the following gases: ammonia (using damp red litmus paper), carbon dioxide (using limewater), chlorine (using damp litmus paper), hydrogen (using a burning splint), oxygen (using a glowing splint) and sulphur dioxide (using acidified potassium dichromate(VI)).

2 The Particulate Nature of Matter

2.1 Kinetic particle theory

Candidates should be able to: (a) describe the solid, liquid and gaseous states of matter and explain their interconversion in terms of the kinetic particle theory and of the energy changes involved; (b) describe and explain evidence for the movement of particles in liquids and gases (The treatment of...
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