SEC/IP CHEMISTRY | The Chemistry Cafe
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CHEMISTRY: THREE REASON WHY IT TROUBLES STUDENTS.

 

“A HIGHLY SYMBOLIC AND ABSTRACT SUBJECT”

 

For many secondary school students, chemistry is seen as a complex and abstract subject. Indeed, understanding chemistry relies on picturing the invisible such as the interaction of particles before being able to accurately describe properties of substances.

 

At PMC, we combine a concrete-pictorial-abstract method with a deductive thinking approach to support and scaffold students’ learning. For example, in the topic of chemical bonding & properties, schools often task students to memorise and regurgitate keywords. Here, we support our students’ understanding of big ideas such as the requirements for electrical conductivity – having charged particles that can move! Scaffolding students’ knowledge with models and animation, PMC students are able to accurately deduce the electrical conductivity of any substance given to them.

“IT INVOLVES MATH & PROPORTIONAL REASONING”

 

One of the toughest chemistry topics for students is undoubtedly moles and stoichiometry. It not only involves the memorization of formulae, it often requires students to be able to exercise versatility in the use of these formulae to “work backwards”.

 

Students who are weaker in math view this as a “turn off” and the fact that stoichiometry is often applied and assessed together with other topics in the chemistry syllabus cause these students to lose interest in chemistry altogether.

 

At PMC, we inspire confidence and appreciation of these formulae and how they can be applied. Often, we hear teachers say that the number of moles can be found by taking volume/1000 multiplied by concentration. PMC students approach the idea of concentration by comparing how “gao” (concentrated) different cups of milo are. They are subsequently able to appreciate that the “volume/1000” that their teachers speak of is actually just a scaling factor.

“NOT ONLY MEMORISATION BUT APPLICATION TOO”

 

Chemistry is a vast discipline. Students are not only tasked to memorise concepts such as chemical formulae and solubility, they are required to apply them to highly diverse application questions. Many students lament that there is so much to learn but are given too little time to do so.

 

At PMC, we first ensure that we build strong fundamentals. Our students are exposed to quick-fire questions through games and also put to the test with bi-weekly timed practices and term tests to ensure that they are actively recalling their knowledge. Building on these foundations, highly efficient thought processes are subsequently introduced to students to help them solve questions accurately and efficiently.