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NSW Syllabuses

Chemistry Stage 6 - Year 11 - Module 1: Properties and Structure of Matter Module 1: Properties and Structure of Matter


A student:

  • CH11/12-2

    designs and evaluates investigations in order to obtain primary and secondary data and information

  • CH11/12-3

    conducts investigations to collect valid and reliable primary and secondary data and information

  • CH11/12-4

    selects and processes appropriate qualitative and quantitative data and information using a range of appropriate media

  • CH11/12-7

    communicates scientific understanding using suitable language and terminology for a specific audience or purpose

  • CH11-8

    explores the properties and trends in the physical, structural and chemical aspects of matter

Content Focus

Students analyse trends and patterns in relation to the properties of pure substances and use these to predict the properties of other pure substances. This knowledge is used to determine the ways in which substances can be separated from each other and those that allow them to remain together.

Matter can be either pure substances with distinct measurable properties (eg melting and boiling points, reactivity, strength, density) or mixtures with properties that are dependent on the identity and relative amounts of the substances that make up the mixture. The analysis of these properties has led to the expansion of the periodic table of elements and the advancement of atomic theory. This understanding has allowed for the development of complex models that have been subject to extensive peer review, and has contributed to advances in many disciplines over time.

Students use knowledge obtained from the study of the periodic table to examine trends and patterns that exist between chemical elements and atoms in order to discover that fundamental particles, and their role in the structure of an atom, give all chemicals their properties.

Working Scientifically

In this module, students focus on: designing, evaluating and conducting investigations; obtaining and processing data in the most appropriate manner; and communicating ideas about the structural, physical and chemical aspects of matter. Students should be provided with opportunities to engage with all Working Scientifically skills throughout the course.


  • Properties of Matter

  • Inquiry question: How do the properties of substances help us to classify and separate them?
  • Students:
  •  using separation techniques based on physical properties (ACSCH026)
  •  calculating percentage composition by weight of component elements and/or compounds (ACSCH007)
  • investigate the nomenclature of inorganic substances using International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) naming conventions
  • classify the elements based on their properties and position in the periodic table through their:
  •  physical properties
  •  chemical properties ICT
  • Atomic structure and atomic mass

  • Inquiry question: Why are atoms of elements different from one another?
  • Students:
  • investigate the basic structure of stable and unstable isotopes by examining:
  •  their position in the periodic table
  •  the distribution of electrons, protons and neutrons in the atom
  •  representation of the symbol, atomic number and mass number (nucleon number) ICT
  • model the atom’s discrete energy levels, including electronic configuration and spdf notation (ACSCH017, ACSCH018, ACSCH020, ACSCH022) ICT
  • calculate the relative atomic mass from isotopic composition (ACSCH024) ictn
  • investigate energy levels in atoms and ions through:
  •  collecting primary data from a flame test using different ionic solutions of metals (ACSCH019) ICT
  •  examining spectral evidence for the Bohr model and introducing the Schrödinger model
  • investigate the properties of unstable isotopes using natural and human-made radioisotopes as examples, including but not limited to:
  •  types of radiation
  •  types of balanced nuclear reactions
  • Periodicity

  • Inquiry question: Are there patterns in the properties of elements?
  • Students:
  • demonstrate, explain and predict the relationships in the observable trends in the physical and chemical properties of elements in periods and groups in the periodic table, including but not limited to:
  •  state of matter at room temperature
  •  electronic configurations and atomic radii
  •  first ionisation energy and electronegativity
  •  reactivity with water
  • Bonding

  • Inquiry question: What binds atoms together in elements and compounds?
  • Students:
  • investigate the role of electronegativity in determining the ionic or covalent nature of bonds between atoms ICTN
  • investigate the differences between ionic and covalent compounds through:
  • using nomenclature, valency and chemical formulae (including Lewis dot diagrams) (ACSCH029)
  • examining the spectrum of bonds between atoms with varying degrees of polarity with respect to their constituent elements’ positions on the periodic table
  • modelling the shapes of molecular substances (ACSCH056, ACSCH057)
  • investigate elements that possess the physical property of allotropy ICT
  • investigate the different chemical structures of atoms and elements, including but not limited to:
  • ionic networks
  • covalent networks (including diamond and silicon dioxide)
  • covalent molecular
  • metallic structure
  • explore the similarities and differences between the nature of intermolecular and intramolecular bonds and the strength of the forces associated with each, in order to explain the:
  • physical properties of elements
  • physical properties of compounds (ACSCH020, ACSCH055, ACSCH058)