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Key concepts: Chemistry

Key concepts are the big ideas and understandings that we hope will remain with our students long after they have left school.

The following are key concepts/big ideas in chemistry:

All matter is made of particles

The fundamental particle from which all matter is made is the atom. There are approximately 115 different atoms which form the building blocks of the molecular and ionic structures that make up all the known substances.

The properties of materials derive from the identity and arrangement of particles

Atoms come together to form bonds during chemical reactions. The properties of the resulting materials depend on which atoms are combined and the way they are arranged.

Energy plays a key role in determining the changes that matter can undergo

Energy changes occur during physical and chemical transformations as the bonds between atoms or molecules are broken and new bonds are formed. Since energy can be neither created nor destroyed, energy will determine the changes that matter can undergo.

Chemistry is everywhere

Chemical transformations maintain the world around us. Most natural processes are based on chemistry and can be understood at a molecular level. For example, the chemical reactions occurring in cells will determine their structure and function and ultimately the nature of the organism to which it belongs.

Last updated December 3, 2010