Chemistry is a practical science with a lot of application in and outside school. At MKASS the students are allowed to approach the Chemistry with this understanding. They are introduced to Chemistry by investigating purity of substances and separation of mixtures. This helps our learners to interact with laboratory apparatus, learn safety precautions and acquire practical skills which they require in the course. The introduction enable our learners to understand that Chemistry is applied in everyday life, such medicine, problem solving e.g. management of bad weather by applying salt to snow on the roads.
The course develops into investigation of composition of inorganic and organic matter most of which we interact with in day to day life. The learners acquire scientific language which is universal enabling them to read and interpret scientific concepts from various sources. They also learn how use of chemical products affects the environment. At this point they sensitized about environmental conservation which is one of the core values of our school.
On completion of the course the learners have the necessary prerequisite knowledge that prepares them for the next level of education. The course is handled by competent faculty who make learning of Chemistry interesting. The faculty has consistently posted good results in Chemistry over the years and many students pick the subject at senior classes At MKASS we have KCSE Kenyan Curriculum and IGCSE British Curriculum. The two syllabi have a lot in common but the degree of depth greatly varies. Most of the major topics in both syllabi are the same, such as experimental techniques, structure and bonding, periodic table, electrochemistry and organic chemistry.
The school has one well equipped laboratory where most of the lessons are conducted. The laboratory has most of the required apparatus, fume chamber and serviced smoke detector. Safety is well catered for and necessary measures are put in place.
The standard eight graduates are introduced to chemistry by learning laboratory apparatus as well as safety measures. This prepare them for practical nature of the subject throughout the course. At the end of form one the students have grasped major concepts of chemistry especially the elements and scientific language necessary for communication. They sit for an end of year exam which is used as a feedback whether learning is taking place.
The students discuss the periodic table, structure and bonding, salts and carbon and its compounds. At this point the learners have fully grasped nature of chemistry and most of them like it. At the end of the year the students are allowed to continue or discontinue with the subject. Majority of them continue with the subject due to its importance in pursuance of science based careers. Chemistry gels well with Biology and Physics based courses, making it almost compulsory to any student pursuing science course.
FORM THREE AND FOUR
The bulk of the syllabus is taught at this level. Majority of the students have made chemistry a choice subject. They are therefore willing to learn and make teaching and learning interesting. The syllabus is complete by June of the fourth year, leaving ample time for revision.
The course is divided into three examination papers that are compulsory;
- Paper 1; Short structured questions that covers most of the topics, 2 hours
- Paper 2; Structured questions that covers the main topics, 2 hours
- Paper 3; Practical, 2 hours and 15 minutes The department has consistently produced good results. It prides itself as the best performed science 2012 with a mean of 8.4.
The school receives students from both British and Kenyan curriculum, we follow CIE syllabus. They are introduced to chemistry by discussing experimental concepts in laboratory apparatus and separation of mixtures. Practical work starts right from year 9, making teaching and learning of chemistry more interesting. Leaning is continuously evaluated through progressive test and at the end of year 9 a formative test is done. The students are allowed to continue or discontinue with the subject to year 10. Parents and a career counsellor is invited so that the students can make informed decision in full support of the parents.
Chemistry year 10 and 11
Most students choose to pursue chemistry to this stage mainly due to its importance to their dream careers. The main topics are discussed and first term of year 11 the syllabus is complete. The students sit for mock exams two weeks after the Christmas break giving a feedback on core and extended candidates. Majority of the students register for extended.
The course is divided into three main examination papers. All students sit;
- Paper 1; multiple choice ,45 minutes, weighted at 30% of the final grade
- Paper 5; practical ,1 hour and 15 minutes, weighted 20% of the final grade.
- Paper 2, structured questions comprising of core component of the syllabus, 1 hour 15 minutes, weighted 50% of the final grade.
- Paper 3, structured questions comprising of extended component of the syllabus, 1 hour 15 minutes weighted 50% of the final grade.
The department has consistently done well over the years. It prides as the department with the highest A* in 2013 results; 28% A*, 22% A, 22% B, 17% C, 10% D and 1% E.