DP Chemistry course outline

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Diploma Program – years 1 and 2
IB Chemistry – (HL & SL)
International School of Belgrade
Teodora Zujovic, MSc
School years: 2019 - 2021

“Never trust an atom, they make up everything” – Chemistry
“Chemists have solutions” - Chemistry


Welcome to IB Chemistry. This is a two-year course designed to cover the equivalent of two introductory semesters of college level chemistry. It promotes in-depth investigations into the nature of matter and the chemical principles guiding changes in our environment. Student will develop a conceptual understanding of chemical principles while also honing applied math skills. Chemistry is available at standard (SL) and higher level (HL). The minimum prescribed number of hours is 150 for SL and 240 for HL. While there are core skills and activities common for both SL and HL, students at HL are required to study some topics in greater depth, as well as to study additional topics. The distinction between SL and HL is one of breadth and depth. Chemistry students at SL and HL undertake a common core syllabus and a common internal assessment (IA) scheme.


The following are the aims and objectives of experimental sciences, as described by the IBO Subject Guide:

  1. To provide opportunities for scientific study and creativity within a global context which will stimulate and challenge students.
  2. To provide a body of knowledge, methods and techniques which characterize Science and Technology.
  3. To enable students to apply and use a body of knowledge, methods and techniques which characterize science and technology.
  4. To develop an ability to analyze, evaluate and synthesize scientific information.
  5. Engender an awareness of the need for, and the value of, effective collaboration and communication during scientific activities.
  6. To develop experimental and investigative scientific skills.
  7. To develop and apply the students’ information technology skills in the study of science.
  8. To raise awareness of the moral, ethical, social, economic and environmental implications of using science and technology.
  9. To develop an appreciation of the possibilities and limitations associated with Science and Scientists.
  10. To encourage an understanding of the relationships between scientific disciplines and the overarching nature of the scientific method.


Having followed the chemistry course at the standard or higher level, candidates will be expected to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of:

  1. scientific facts and concepts
  2. scientific methods and techniques
  3. scientific terminology
  4. methods of presenting scientific information.
2. Apply and use:
  1. scientific facts and concepts
  2. scientific methods and techniques
  3. scientific terminology to communicate effectively
  4. appropriate methods to present scientific information.

3. Construct, analyze and evaluate:

  1. hypotheses, research questions and predictions
  2. scientific methods and techniques
  3. scientific explanations.
4. Demonstrate the personal skills of cooperation, perseverance and responsibility appropriate for effective scientific investigation and problem solving.

5. Demonstrate the manipulative skills necessary to carry out scientific investigations with precision and safety.


As the IBO Subject Guide (2016) states:

“Chemistry is an experimental science that combines academic study with the acquisition of practical and investigational skills.

It is often called the central science, as chemical principles underpin both the physical environment in which we live and all biological systems. Apart from being a subject worthy of study in its own right, chemistry is a prerequisite for many other courses in higher education, such as medicine, biological science and environmental science.”

Throughout the study of IB chemistry at ISB, students will not only learn the language of chemistry but will also develop practical laboratory skills that will aid them in their future studies of natural science. The syllabus below provides a more detailed account of the topics studied throughout the two-year program.



Topic 1: Stoichiometric Relationships – Mathematics of Reactions
1.1 Particle nature of matter

Topic 2: Atomic Structure

2.1 The nuclear atom
2.2 Electron configuration
2.3 Electrons in atoms (Higher Level)

Topic 3: Periodicity
3.1 Periodic Table
3.2 Periodic Trends
3.3 First row d-block elements (Higher Level)
3.4 Colored complexes (Higher Level)

Topic 4: Chemical bonding and structure

4.1 Ionic bonding and structure
4.2 Covalent bonding
4.3 Covalent structure
4.4 Intermolecular forces
4.5 Metallic bonding
4.6 Further aspects of covalent bonding and structure (Higher Level)
4.7 Hybridization Theory (Higher Level)

Topic 1: Stoichiometric Relationships – Mathematics of Reactions
1.2 The mole concept
1.3 Reacting masses and volumes of solids, liquids and gas
Topic 5: Energetics/Thermochemistry
5.1 Measuring energy changes
5.2 Hess’s law
5.3 Bond enthalpies
5.4 Energy cycles (Higher Level)
5.5 Entropy and spontaneity (Higher Level)
Topic 11: Student Led Investigation (Measurement and data processing)
11.1 Uncertainties in errors in measurement and results
11.2 Review of Graphical techniques
Topic 6: Chemical Kinetics
6.1 Collision theory and reaction rates
6.2 Rate laws and half-life (Higher Level)
6.3 Activation energy of reactions (Higher Level)
Topic 7: Equilibrium
7.1 Equilibrium reactions
7.2 The equilibrium law (Higher Level)

Topic 8: Acids and Bases

8.1 Theories of acids and bases
8.2 Properties of acids and bases
8.3 The pH scale
8.4 Strong and weak acids/bases
8.5 Acid deposition
8.6 Lewis acids and bases (Higher Level)
8.7 Calculations involving acids and bases (Higher Level)
8.8 pH curves (Higher Level)


Topic 9: Redox process
9.1 Oxidation and Reduction reactions
9.2 Electrochemical cells
9.3 Advanced electrochemical cells and the Nernst Equation (Higher Level)
Topic 10: Organic Chemistry
10.1 Fundamentals of organic chemistry
10.2 Introduction to functional groups
10.3 Types of organic reactions (Higher Level)
10.4 Synthetic routes (Higher Level)
10.5 Sterioisomerism (Higher Level)
Topic 11: Student Led Investigation (Measurement and data processing)
11.3 Spectroscopic identification of organic compounds (Higher Level)

Topic 12: OPTION D – Medicinal Chemistry

12.1 Pharmaceutical products and drug action
12.2 Aspirin and penicillin
12.3 Opiates
12.4 pH regulation of the stomach
12.5 Anti-viral medications
12.6 Environmental impact of medications
12.7 Taxol – study of chiral anti-cancer drugs (Higher Level)
12.8 Nuclear medicine (Higher Level)
12.9 Drug detection and analysis (Higher Level)


The teacher will…
  • Use a wide variety of instructional methods, from Socratic discussions and collaborative work (such as labs and projects) to lectures and videos.
  • Clearly explain the expectations for each individual assignment beforehand, including the IB grading rubric to be used in their assessment.
  • Give students opportunities to show their understanding through various types of assessments that all stretch their critical thinking and analytical abilities.
  • Prepare students for internal and external IBO assessments by providing practice throughout the course.
  • Be available for extra help and guidance, by appointment, and after school.
The student will…
  • Be prepared for each day’s activities by keeping up with the numerous assignments given.
  • Be present and on time to class, ready with the necessary materials.
  • Make sure all work is your own only, or the group’s in a collaborative situation.
  • Utilize moodlic
  • Take responsibility for making up work (including tests) due to absences— make-up tests are generally more difficult than the ones in class, so it behooves you to take them on time. If you know you are going to miss class for any reason, please speak with me beforehand to make arrangements to make up work.
... and  most importantly,
  • RESPECT each other’s opinions and ideas as you shape your own.

Students must have scientific calculators. They do not need to be graphing calculators, but if the student is considering a math or science degree in university, then I would recommend that he or she go ahead and get a graphing calculator now in order to become familiar with all of the functions.

Good Luck, and have a great year.



The IB program concludes with an external assessment that is worth 80% of the student’s final grade, which consists of three written papers.

Paper 1:
Paper 1 is made up of multiple-choice questions which test knowledge of the core and additional higher level (AHL) material for higher level (HL) students (40 questions) and the core only for standard level (SL) students (30 questions). The questions are designed to be short, one- or two-stage problems which address objectives 1 and 2 (see page 2). No marks are deducted for incorrect responses. Calculators are not permitted, but students are expected to carry out simple calculations.
Paper 2:

Paper 2 tests knowledge of the core and AHL material for HL students and the core only for SL students. The questions address objectives 1, 2 and 3 and students are expected to answer extended response questions, which may involve writing a number of paragraphs, solving a substantial problem, or carrying out a substantial piece of analysis or evaluation. A calculator is required for this paper.

Paper 3:

Paper 3 has two parts and tests knowledge of practical lab investigations as well as the option unit studied. The paper addresses objectives 1, 2 and 3. Students will answer a variety of data based questions throughout this paper.


IB Grade:
Student work is internally assessed by the teacher and externally moderated by the IBO. Students will conduct a variety of classical practical investigations throughout each unit of the course and will learn fundamental laboratory skills in chemistry in preparation for their own individual research project known as the IA. The final work is externally assessed by the IBO and accounts for 20% of the final grade. Students primarily develop an appreciation for scientific communication throughout the process of the IA.

Our in-class internal assessments are based on labs and projects spread throughout the two years. Grading criteria for each will be provided beforehand.

ISB Grade:
In addition to the IBO grade, students will also receive a quarterly ISB grade, given on a 1 to 7 scale. The correlation between percentage points earned and the 1 through 7 grade will be determined per assignment, and when determining the final quarter grade, the following weights will be used:

Tests and labs 40% per quarter
Semester and Final year test 20%


Feel free to contact me via e-mail tzujovic@isb.rs