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Fundamentals of organic chemistry 23 August 2021

‘Fundamentals of organic chemistry' is rather a strange name for this first sub-topic. There are no explanations given as to why organic chemistry is important or why more compounds of carbon are known... more

MC test: Electron configuration25 August 2017

Use the following 'quiz' to test your knowledge and understanding of this sub-topic. You will need access to a periodic table (Section 6 of the IB data booklet).If you get an answer wrong, read through... more

Practice Paper 1 examsfree27 February 2020

As you teach the course your students should gain plenty of practice at answering multiple choice questions on each topic from the many example tests on Multiple choice tests for each topic. These will... more

The 12 TOK concepts6 September 2021

The main difference in TOK for first assessment in 2022 is that the framework of the TOK curriculum has shifted to become "concept-based." This means that the focus of the course is now on "big ideas."... more

Genuine examples of moderated IA reports26 January 2021

This page explains in great detail through a webcast how three different genuine IAs (two databased and one hands-on) are marked and moderated. The IAs are supplied so, if you wish, you can mark them... more

The electron configuration of scandiumfree21 January 2021

The IB accepts either [Ar]4s23d1 or [Ar]3d14s2 as the correct electron configuration for scandium. This page is based on an academic paper I have recently had published in Foundations of Chemistry that... more

Creating student accounts free27 August 2019

Beneath your name on the home page you will see 'My account' and 'Student access'.Note that you can gain student access from any page (not just the home page) simply by clicking on the arrow by your name... more

20.1(1) Nucleophilic substitution 29 August 2021

Written specifically for students to provide help and support for the IB Diploma chemistry programme this page provides full coverage of nucleophilic substitution, the first part of the syllabus content... more

The Nature of Sciencefree2 March 2021

I received an e-mail from a student (not someone I teach) which included the following:"Since I am new to the IB, could you tell me what has been the toughest topic for students generally in the exams... more

Advice to students (Paper 1)6 April 2019

1. Revision. Go through the syllabus thoroughly checking that you know and understand the chemistry given under 'Nature of Science', 'Understandings', 'Applications and skills' and 'Guidance' for each... more

Covalent structures (2)12 August 2021

This is the second part of 4.3 Covalent structures and looks at VSEPR theory to determine the shapes of simple molecules and ions. Since the underlying theory is the same it also includes 5 and 6 electrons... more

Databases25 February 2021

Students are expected to perform at least one exercise using a database in order to fulfil Aims 6 & 7 in the Guide. These concern developing experimental and investigative scientific skills including... more

Theory of Knowledge (TOK)free3 September 2021

IntroductionEnlightenment (in a Tibetan thanka)I think that Theory of Knowledge is unique among all subjects taught to 16-19 year olds in schools in that not a single teacher has a university or teaching... more

Gaining full marks for a databased IA free8 February 2021

I've made this a free page so that any IB chemistry teacher can access it for educational purposes. The page has two very different functions. You can use it to show your students how to write their IA... more

Novel uses for the IB data booklet 11 March 2021

As well as providing essential data, the IB data booklet can be used as a great teaching aid to introduce and reinforce some of the fundamental concepts covered in the course.The IB chemistry data booklet... more

Comprehending Avogadro's constantfree19 September 2021

A second does not seem a very long time whereas 18 years might. On the exact anniversary of your 18th birthday, will you have lived for longer than a mole of seconds? A quick calculation will show that... more

NOS & Critical Thinking9 June 2020

In order to think critically in chemistry a knowledge of both chemistry and the nature of science is required. This page gives a simple example of this then provides a full worked example you can give... more

Factors affecting the rate of nucleophilic substitution reactionsfree15 September 2021

This page explains how the nature of the halogen, whether the halogenoalkane is primary, secondary or tertiary and the choice of solvent can all affect the rate of substitution reactions of halogenoalkanes... more

Understanding the activity series10 September 2019

There can be considerable confusion for standard level students over the position of certain metals in the activity series given in Section 25 the IB data booklet. One of the understandings in the IB... more

IUPAC8 April 2021

As new substances were discovered or synthesized in the past their names may have been related to the natural substance or place they were derived from. For example, oil of wintergreen and Epsom salts... more

MC test: Further aspects of covalent bonding3 September 2017

Use the following 'quiz' to test your knowledge and understanding of this sub-topic. You will need access to a periodic table (Section 6 of the IB data booklet).If you get an answer wrong, read through... more

Identification from spectra - Question 2013 May 2021

This page on identifying a compound from its spectra can be used in two different ways.Either1. It can be set by the teacher as a formal written assignment. This can either be over a set period of time... more

How the elements were namedfree5 January 2020

This page is really a book review but it is very relevant to teaching the Nature of Science with particular reference to chemistry. The book, Antimony, Gold, and Jupiter’s Wolf written by Peter Wothers... more

Understanding hybridization4 May 2020

The theory of hybridization is developed by first considering how atomic orbitals combine to form molecular orbitals which then leads on to how hybrid orbitals are formed. The relationships between shapes,... more

Short cut to give students access to a pagefree9 March 2020

The site now has a new feature which enables you to quickly give (or take away) student access for those pages over which you have control as to whether or not they are accessible by students. Using this... more

School closures and distance learningfree5 March 2020

With the spread of the Covid-19 virus, schools in more and more countries are having to close temporarily and teachers are engaging their students in distance learning. This page gives you some tips... more

Understanding and using ΔG 7 October 2019

ΔG is the change in free energy for a chemical reaction. If it is measured under standard conditions then it is known as the standard free energy change and has the symbol ΔG⦵. If the value of ΔG⦵... more

Books for enjoyment 27 May 2021

All of the following are books with some links to chemistry that I have enjoyed reading. They can all be bought through reputable booksellers.Mysteries of the Quantum Universe, T. Damour & M. Burniat,... more

Misuse of formulas26 March 2020

Students often use mathematical formulas to solve chemical problems in exams and sometimes arrive at the wrong answer. This page looks at why this is so and encourages students to work always from first... more

Manipulating equilibrium constants 27 February 2020

The importance of the relationship between the equilibrium constant and the balanced stoichiometric equilibrium reaction it relates to is stressed. What happens to the value of the equilibrium constant... more

How useful are oxidation states?25 October 2018

Paradigm shifts often occur when an established theory has to be ever more distorted to account for observable facts and to make accurate predictions. I wonder if the time is coming soon when the concept... more

Ammonium nitrate & IB Chemistry9 September 2020

Ammonium nitrate has been very much in the news recently after 2750 tonnes of the salt which were being stored in the port area of Beirut caused a massive explosion on 4 August 2020 killing and injuring... more

Hydroxychloroquine & IB Chemistry3 June 2020

Hydroxychloroquine has been very much in the news recently as it is a medicine that is being controversially taken by some people both as a preventative and as a treatment against Covid-19. After a brief... more

A.4 Liquid crystals27 November 2018

Written specifically for students to provide help and support for the IB Diploma chemistry programme this page provides full coverage of the syllabus content of Option A - sub topic A.4. It encourages... more

Convergence limits1 October 2018

In sub-topic 12.1 Electrons in atoms underneath 'Applications and skills' it states "Calculation of the value of the first ionization energy from spectral data which gives the wavelength or frequency... more