By now I hope that you will have looked over and warmed to the new chemistry guide. The course has been modernized to reflect both chemistry in the 21st century and 21st century teaching. It is a really inspiring document and offers some new and exciting teaching opportunities to both the SL and HL parts of the course, as well as the options. My last blog post focused on the subject material that is new to the SL and HL parts of the course and this blog post will focus on the new options.

The options in the new course have been slimmed down from eight to four. However, we are only required to teach one of these options (instead of two). These are: A, Materials B, Biochemistry C, Energy D, Medicinal Chemistry Each of the options has four themes (strands to it) – these are: • Quantitative Chemistry • Analytical Chemistry • Organic Chemistry • Environmental Chemistry

The reason behind this is to make each of the options equally ‘difficult’ or ‘easy’ (!) as there was some feeling that some of the previous options we harder than others. Something to think about when you are planning your course is where to put the option. Some of the chemistry is now quite difficult, so if you teach the option too early you may find the students really struggle.

What really excites me about the new guide is the subheading ‘utilization’ – this is found on the ‘right hand side’ of the guide (and is the material that won’t be examined – material on the ‘left hand side’ will be examined – if you are not sure what I mean – have a look in the guide!) The utilization links chemistry with other diploma subjects as well as other parts of the chemistry course and it is this latter point that offers potential. Will it actually be possible to teach the option with the ‘regular’ core and AHL material? Only time will tell but I do think it is possible and could really open the course for the students. So, which option will you offer? Do any catch your eye? Be warned, spend some time reading over the options and planning them – don’t leave it to the last minute. There are some really exciting (and challenging) additions and it is probable that you will have to do some research before offering them. For example: Option A, Materials includes material such as bond triangles, ICP, x-ray diffraction, Faraday calculation, the Bragg equation, atom economy, the Haber-Weiss/Fenton reaction and Ksp. Option B, Biochemistry’s additions include green chemistry, atom economy and guest-host chemistry. Option C, Energy contains gems such as energy density, the Nernst equation (isn’t this in the current guide?), Graham’s Law, radioactive decay and Nuclear equations. Option D, Medicinal Chemistry brings in aspects such as the Henderson-Hasselbach equation and green chemistry. And who chooses this new option – you or the students? Well, I’ll let you decide!