Chemistry Units 1 and 2


Unit 1 looks at the discoveries of elements that make up our world. Starting with the early scientists and the discovery of atoms, molecules and charged particles, you’ll be taken through the Chemistry behind the materials around us.

Unit 2 explores the chemistry and uses of a range of non-metallic and organic compounds. Starting with organic materials that have been discovered you’ll consider the effects of synthesised materials, and consider the future effects of materials that are engineered.

By the end of each Unit you will be able to explain the differences between materials, their chemical structure, and discuss their chemical reactions, for example, why crystals are brittle but plastics can bend; why salt conducts electricity at high temperatures; why some organic compounds dissolve in water but others don’t; how manufactured materials will change the way we live.

You will be able to predict what substances will form in a chemical reaction, write chemical equations and work out the amounts of compounds produced in reactions.

What do you do?

There are a variety of activities in Chemistry including viewing videos, using interactives and conducting experiments. Interactives and videos help to explain and apply the concepts.

Chemistry is a practical subject where experiments illustrate the chemical theory. Experiments occur throughout the Unit, conducted at home and in the laboratory.

Written calculations and recording of observations are also important skills that students practise in their notebook.

Students respond to tasks in a variety of ways, including quizzes, written responses and calculated answers.

Assessments include the presentation of your ideas in a form of your choice.

What skills do you need?

Yes there is maths involved in Chemistry – things like balancing positive and negative charges to work out chemical formulas; some equation solving; using fractions and large numbers with your calculator.

As with any Science, being methodical in practical activities is an advantage.

You will also need to use the learning materials to understand and apply the background theory.

Study skills will help you succeed in all of your studies. It includes managing your study schedule and contacting your teacher whenever you have questions.

It is particularly important to manage your files so you know where everything is, what you have completed and what you have sent.

What skills do you develop?

New skills that help you understand Chemistry and lead to further studies include:

  • Calculation skills – working out the amounts of compounds used in chemical reactions, the concentration of solutions, the percentage composition of compounds and balancing chemical equations


  • Explanation and language skills – using theory and scientific terms to explain chemical reactions, being able to predict what compounds will form in a reaction


  • Experimental skills – conducting experiments, designing simple experiments, writing reports of experiments


  • Research skills – being able to research information about topics in Chemistry.




The practical investigations carried out in this course are compulsory. Access to a laboratory is essential. If you are unable to use a laboratory at your school (or your home school is the VSV), you will need to attend the VSV laboratory in Thornbury on designated days during Semester 1 and Semester 2.

You must have access to the internet in order to access this course. Weekly work is to be handwritten and submitted online for assessment.

A textbook and scientific calculator is also required. The textbook for this course is Jacaranda Chemistry VCE Units 1 and 2, 2nd ed. 2019. (Textbook and studyON). You have the option of either purchasing the textbook or the eBook.

Things to think about

It’s important to be clear about your reasons for wanting to study Chemistry – is it something you’re interested in, a prerequisite for future study, or some other reason?

Think about your commitments – can you make the time available each week for study and practical work?

Are you confident about your maths skills? Will revising your maths skills add to your study time?

To find out more about what’s involved contact us and talk to a Chemistry teacher.

Things you can do now

Chemistry is an applied science. As a science, it may be useful to revise some key principles. Try the following links for Chemistry as a science:


How much do you remember from Year 10 Science?

The introduction to Chemistry centres on elements and the Periodic Table. Learn how to use an interactive Periodic Table to find information about an element.

Try some revision worksheets at Doc Brown’s Chemistry Clinic

Atoms and elements:


Compounds and mixtures:

Get your textbook and start reading! Jacaranda Chemistry VCE Unit 1 and 2, 2nd ed. 2019 (Textbook and StudyON).

Go to the VCAA website for more information about this subject.



Things to have a look at

The Periodic Table

The Periodic Table – a musical summary. A fun way to understand how the elements are organised and related to the first topic in this Unit.

Creative Chemistry

The Creative Chemistry website is a great site to reference with revision topics, interactives and games. Test your science skills and develop your interest in Chemistry.