skip to main content
NSW Syllabuses

Science K–10 (inc. Science and Technology K–6) - Stage 5 - Knowledge and Understanding Chemical World


A student:

  • SC5-16CW

    explains how models, theories and laws about matter have been refined as new scientific evidence becomes available

  • SC5-17CW

    discusses the importance of chemical reactions in the production of a range of substances, and the influence of society on the development of new materials

Related Life Skills outcomes: SCLS-22CW, SCLS-23CW, SCLS-24CW


  • CW1 Scientific understanding changes and is refined over time through a process of review by the scientific community.
  • Students:
  • a. identify that all matter is made of atoms which are composed of protons, neutrons and electrons (ACSSU177)
  • b. describe the structure of atoms in terms of the nucleus, protons, neutrons and electrons
  • c. outline historical developments of the atomic theory to demonstrate how models and theories have been contested and refined over time through a process of review by the scientific community L
  • d. identify that natural radioactivity arises from the decay of nuclei in atoms, releasing particles and energy (ACSSU177)
  • e. evaluate the benefits and problems associated with medical and industrial uses of nuclear energy EUSECCT
  • CW2 The atomic structure and properties of elements are used to organise them in the Periodic Table. (ACSSU186)
  • Students:
  • a. identify the atom as the smallest unit of an element and that it can be represented by a symbol
  • b. distinguish between the atoms of some common elements by comparing information about the numbers of protons, neutrons and electrons
  • c. describe the organisation of elements in the Periodic Table using their atomic number
  • d. relate the properties of some common elements to their position in the Periodic Table
  • e. predict, using the Periodic Table, the properties of some common elements
  • f. outline some examples to show how creativity, logical reasoning and the scientific evidence available at the time, contributed to the development of the modern Periodic Table LCCTN
  • CW3 Chemical reactions involve rearranging atoms to form new substances; during a chemical reaction mass is not created or destroyed. (ACSSU178)
  • Students:
  • a. recall that all matter is composed of atoms and has mass
  • b. identify a range of compounds using their common names and chemical formulae
  • c. classify compounds into groups based on common chemical characteristics
  • d. investigate a range of types of important chemical reactions that occur in non-living systems and involve energy transfer, including:
  • combustion (ACSSU179)
  • the reaction of acids including metals and carbonates (ACSSU179)
  • corrosion
  • precipitation
  • neutralisation
  • decomposition
  • e. identify some examples of important chemical reactions that occur in living systems and involve energy transfer, including respiration and reactions involving acids such as occur during digestion (ACSSU179)
  • f. construct word equations from observations and written descriptions of a range of chemical reactions L
  • g. deduce that new substances are formed during chemical reactions by rearranging atoms rather than creating or destroying them
  • CW4 Different types of chemical reactions are used to produce a range of products and can occur at different rates and involve energy transfer. (ACSSU187)
  • Students:
  • a. identify that chemical reactions involve energy transfer and can be exothermic or endothermic
  • b. compare combustion and respiration as types of chemical reactions that release energy but occur at different rates
  • c. describe the effects of factors, eg temperature and catalysts, on the rate of some common chemical reactions
  • d. analyse how social, ethical and environmental considerations can influence decisions about scientific research related to the development and production of new materials CCTEULSE
  • e. describe examples to show where advances in science and/or emerging science and technologies significantly affect people's lives, including generating new career opportunities in areas of chemical science such as biochemistry and industrial chemistry (ACSHE161, ACSHE195) CCTLWE
  • Additional content

    Additional content is not prerequisite knowledge for following stages, but may be used to broaden and deepen students' skills, knowledge and understanding in Stage 5.
  • Students:
  • use models to describe the arrangement of electrons in the energy levels of common elements
  • research the development of ideas about the nature of radioactivity L
  • investigate the order of activity of a range of metals
  • balance a range of common chemical equations
  • conduct flame tests and explain the colours in terms of subatomic structure
  • research ways that are used to restore and prevent corrosion of submerged objects
  • investigate the processes involved in the production of new materials from synthetic fibres L
  • evaluate, using scientific evidence, the claims, explanations or predictions made in the media or advertising in relation to a substance, material or product
  • construct simple electrochemical cells using fruit and describe energy transfer
  • research the structure of small portable electrochemical cells, eg mercury cells and rechargeable batteries L