NCEA L3 Chemistry A - Mātai Matū A

Course Description

Teacher in Charge: Mrs S. Withers

Recommended Prior Learning

Level 2 Chemistry A - Mātai matū A - Required 

Level 2 Chemistry B - Mātai matū B  - Will be an advantage and allow for a wider choice if student is designing a unique personal course  

The chemistry of vehicles

Chemistry is a fascinating subject because of its history, the beauty of its logic and its multitude of applications. 

At MBC chemistry is a subject for everyone. 

Chemistry is the study of the composition of matter and the changes in composition that this matter undergoes. We do experiments to describe what matter looks like and does and then we learn how to use chemical principles to explain and discuss why matter behaves in this way. 

This Chemistry of Vehicles course is for students keen to extend the development of their thinking skills, ability to engage in logical argument, laboratory skills and their understanding of chemistry and for those who plan to study science or any form of applied science at tertiary level. 


This course provides opportunities for students to design their own unique course according to their abilities and aspirations. For example, there are options to take extra practical and theoretical extension units or to follow an unendorsed course where external assessments are replaced by unit standards. 

Topics you will learn about include 

  • Redox processes in batteries 
  • Thermochemistry of fuels 
  • Physical properties of materials
  • Spectroscopy of vehicle emissions  

By the end of the course you will be able to

  • use the principles of Aufbau and lone electron pair repulsion to draw electron configurations of atoms and structures of molecules and predict and justify their physical properties
  • predict and justify whether a reaction is spontaneous and non spontaneous reactions 
  • understand the implications of a material's structure on its chemical and physical properties
  • calculate the enthalpy change of a reaction from book and experimental values
  • use 12C NMR, Infrared and mass spectroscopy to identify unknown organic molecules 
  • predict the chemical reactions that occur in a cell from Redox Potential values.

Course Overview

Semester A
Having set up electrolytic and electrochemical cells you will develop the skills to use Redox Potential values to predict the chemical reactions that occur in these cells. Then, using these skills together with the knowledge you built in the Redox section of the Level 2 course you, you will apply your knowledge to predict, describe and justify the chemical reactions that occur in the Lead Acid Accumulator, the NICAD, Vanadium and the mercury- zinc button batteries.
While learning to read 12C NMR, Infrared and mass spectrographs you will practise identifying and eliminating a variety of unknown organic molecules and then justifying your predictions using concise scientifically worded discussions.
Thereafter, you will build the knowledge to be able to predict the physical properties of atomic, molecular, ionic and metallic substances. Molecular substances are the main focus of this section and, to arrive at a point where you can justify their physical behaviour, you will have opportunities to use the principles of Aufbau and lone electron pair repulsion to draw electron configurations of atoms and structures of molecules. Using these will support you in understanding the implications of atomic and molecular structure on a molecule's polarity and thus a material's boiling point, melting point and solubility.
The last step in completing the course involves carrying out experiments and calculations to classify a selection of chemical and physical reactions as exothermic or endothermic. Using this information you will be able to discover and justify if reaction is spontaneous or not.
If you choose to complete another internal in place of the external you could make soap, mayonnaise, vinaigrette, butter and moisturisers and develop an understanding about how the chemicals involved cause these substances to have their unique properties (US 6347) or /and you can use your Level 2 Redox and Quantitative chemistry knowledge to balance Redox reactions in an alkali environment and carry out a Redox titration and calculate an unknown concentration (US6345) or/and you can use your Level 2 Quantitative chemistry knowledge to carry out an extended practical investigation to find how the concentration of a species changes under different conditions (AS 91387). These options can be negotiated with your teacher before/during the course.

Learning Areas:

NCEA Level 3, Science - Pūtaiao

Career Pathways

Mining Engineer, Acupuncturist, Registered Nurse, Agricultural/Horticultural Scientist, Agricultural/Horticultural Consultant, Paramedic, Anaesthetist, Anaesthetic Technician, Pathologist, Veterinary Nurse, Zoologist, Chemist, Marine Biologist, Medical Physicist, Microbiologist, Chemical Engineer, Biochemist, Biomedical Engineer, Biotechnologist, Metal Worker, Phlebotomist, Brewer, Mechanical Engineer, Dairy Processing Operator, Clinical Physiologist, Physician, Surgeon, Midwife, Dental Assistant, Chemical Production Operator, Science Technician, Podiatrist, Chiropractor, Civil Engineer, Meteorologist, Medical Laboratory Scientist, Clinical Coder, Dental Technician, Community Karitāne, Pharmacist, Conservator, Crop Farmer/Manager, Oral Health Therapist, Dentist, Medical Imaging Technologist, Diagnostic Radiologist, Dietitian, Forensic Scientist, General Practitioner, Gynaecologist/Obstetrician, Psychiatrist, Geologist, Environmental Scientist, Energy and Chemical Plant Operator, Energy/Carbon Auditor, Environmental Engineer, Environmental/Public Health Officer, Plastics Worker, Food Technologist, Forest Manager, Forestry Scientist, Pest Control Technician, Geophysicist, Health and Safety Adviser, Health Promoter, Naturopath, Veterinarian, Ship's Master, Medical Laboratory Technician, Occupational Therapist, Winemaker, Optometrist, Osteopath, Pulp and Paper Mill Operator, Physiotherapist, Plastics Technician, Production Manager, Radiation Oncologist, Speech-Language Therapist, Water/Wastewater Treatment Operator, Orchard Farmer/Manager, Ophthalmologist, Viticulturist, Epidemiologist

Contributions and Equipment/Stationery

All curriculum costs will be covered by the school.

Assessment Information This course has three documented assessments - two 3 credit internals on Batteries and Spectroscopy and one 5 credit external on Particles and Thermochemistry. This course does however provide opportunities for students to design a personal unique course according to their abilities and aspirations. For example there is an option to take a year long 5 credit Level 3 Organic Chemistry course (AS 91391) and an option to swop the 5 credit external on Particles and Thermochemistry for an internal 4 credit Redox (US6345) or 2 credit Organic Chemistry Unit Standard (US 6347). A 4 credit extended practical investigation can also be done (AS 91387). These options can be negotiated with your teacher before/during the course.
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