Students that are eager to take chemistry in high school often develop their love for science at a young age. 

An interest in the subject starts young, when we first start playing and mixing different fluids. Perhaps it was a food colouring experiment you did that first got you fascinated with the topic. You may have swirled colours together on a plate, or mixed paint with glue and loved seeing the results. Maybe it was mixing baking soda and vinegar and watching the substance fizz - whatever experiment you did, you are ready to learn about chemistry as an older student.

High school is a time for big decisions that have a direct impact on the future. The courses you pick in high school will likely determine what kind of courses you will take in university, and if you don’t choose your classes strategically, you could end up taking more courses than you need to graduate. If you enjoy science and chemistry, and see it even as merely a potential pathway in your future, it’s probably a good decision to start learning chemistry in grade 9 so you can decide whether or not you want to take it in university later without worrying about taking extra courses.

Basic Chemistry
Even a basic chemistry class will require you to use scientific tools. Source: Unsplash.

Consider all the possible career pathways you can have with a chemistry background. You might be a medical doctor, a researcher, a scientist, a chemical engineer, a nutritionist, an entrepreneur, pharmacist, educator - just to name a few. Being a chemist can open up so many opportunities in the future that are both financially and mentally rewarding.

Let’s take a closer look at what chemistry is, and what you can expect to learn in grade 9 chemistry and beyond. We think you’ll see that enrolling into chemistry can be one of the best decisions you make in secondary school!

Do you love science and want to continue learning chemistry in high school? Here’s everything you need to know about basic chemistry classes.

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What is Chemistry?

Chemistry is an area known as the ‘central’ science between the areas of biology and physics. It is the study of matter, and how matter behaves when it changes in chemical reactions. It deals with the basic building blocks of reality, such as fundamental particles - atoms, molecules, and chemical processes.

There are many branches of chemistry -  a few of major areas are described briefly in the chart below.

BranchDescription
Analytical chemistryIdentification and quantification of materials in a mixture.
BiochemistryThe study of chemical principles underlying biological systems.
Organic ChemistrySubfield of chemistry that involves studying the structure and behaviour of molecules of life, which are composed of only a few different types of atoms: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and a few others.
Inorganic ChemistryThe study of inorganic compounds, like metals.
Physical Chemistrythe study of physical principles that govern the way atoms, molecules, and other chemical systems behave; looking at chemistry through a physics lens.

Chemists play an important role in society: their research and discoveries have lead to major medical breakthroughs and treatments. The development of plastics, technology, medicines, cosmetics and even much of the food we eat can be attributed in some way to the work of a chemist. Everything from vaccines to motor oils and even skincare has a connection to a chemist. To learn chemistry and to do research in chemistry follows the footsteps of some of the greatest and intelligent minds in human history.

If you’re worried that you won’t be able to handle this much in grade 9, there’s no need to fret. Grade 9 chemistry will start with the basics that will help you to build a foundation for more complex learning.

table of elements
Chemistry is the study of matter and its properties. Source: Unsplash.

What happens in a grade 9 chemistry class? Experiments, labs, research and so much more.

What Topics Will I Learn in Basic Chemistry Class?

A basic chemistry class will teach you the foundations of matter: atoms, elements, compounds and how they interact with one another. You will cover the physical and chemical properties of matter, gaining a deeper of understanding of concepts like flammability, reaction with water, colour, and solubility. 

You will likely review different types of fluids and mixtures, which very much be a review of the Science curriculum in grade 8 and grade 7. Some terms you will encounter are compounds, elements, heterogeneous mixtures, homogeneous mixtures, pure substances, particle theory, solution, suspension, electrons, neutrons and proton.

You will learn about the periodic table of elements, which is a tabular array of the chemical elements. They are organized by atomic number, from the element with the lowest atomic number to the highest. In some cases, you may be required to memorize the properties of some elements.

High school chemistry classes will typically take place in a lab where you will conduct experiments relating to fluids and gases. This is probably the part of chemistry you have been looking forward to the most in your learning - what could be more fun and educational than experimenting in a lab? In many schools, lab classrooms will be comprised of stations, each containing sinks and different connections for elements like electricity or gas. Because of this intense, hands-on environment, you will have to take some lessons on lab safety and requirements. You will have to wear the appropriate gear, such as goggles, coats, gloves, mitts, and anything else that will ensure you work in a safe environment.

You might conduct inquiries into basic substances like toothpaste or starch, and record your findings using the scientific method. Gases are also explored, and you will learn specific tests to identify some basic gases. It’s important to note, however, that chemistry will not be solely based on labs: you will have to write reports and possibly even essays that connect chemistry learning to nature and society.

Chemistry courses in high school can have a positive impact in your life, with many benefits that last long into your career.

Which Chemistry Course Should I Take in Grade 9?

If you are looking to take chemistry in grade 9, make sure you understand that chemistry is not a standalone course but a strand or component of the Science course. Of course, this may depend on the province you live in, but in most cases you will not see a chemistry-specific course until the senior grades where you will specialize into different branches of science.

In terms of choice, you will likely have to choose between an applied or academic science course. Both courses will enable you to learn chemistry, but the applied or academic version will determine what pathway you take in postsecondary.

Let’s quickly review the difference between applied and academic science courses.

Applied Science

Applied science will enable students to develop an understanding of basic concepts in biology, chemistry, earth and space science, and physics. The main goal of applied science is to develop a foundational understanding that you can apply to everyday situations. The focus of applied science is on practical problems, and the issues that arise when humans impact the natural world and innovate solutions with chemical compounds.

Taking grade 9 chemistry is a great way to prepare for higher learning. Explore the best ways to study and be successful in the sciences.

Academic Science

Academic science will enable students to develop their understanding of basic concepts in biology, chemistry, physics, earth and space science, and make connections with science learning to technology, society and the world. Students will gain a theoretical understanding of science and investigate issues relating to sustainability. Students that take academic science are usually planning a pathway that includes postsecondary studies in science, such as university or college.

Chemistry lab tools
Your grade 9 chemistry class will likely take place in a lab. Source: Pexels

Is There General Chemistry Tutoring?

Whatever type of course you take, you may find that science or chemistry tutoring will help you to be successful in your learning. To score higher marks and equip yourself with a base of knowledge for academic level chemistry courses in the senior grades, you will want a tutor that can review all the concepts you are learning in class with you. 

Superprof.ca is one amazing site you can use to find the perfect tutor for science and chemistry. The Superprof site contains listings for dozens of science and chemistry tutors across Canada who are passionate and well versed in the subject. Many of them are professionals or university students in Science degrees, so you can feel confident that you are learning with someone who knows their content. The site is easy to navigate, and you can quickly compare different tutor profiles and rates.

a basic chemistry tutor works at a computer
You can find a tutor who can help you succeed in your grade 9 chemistry class. Source: Unsplash.

Superprof is also one of the most popular sites around the world - not just in Canada - for people to find the best help for their courses. Students in so many different countries, from Mexico to France and the United States, explore the site daily to find a great tutor. You will not only find tutors for chemistry, but nearly every subject and topic you can imagine: English, Art, Biology, Math, Cooking, Dance, Coding, and so much more.

Chemistry tutoring will give you a significant advantage in your courses. A tutor can review unfamiliar concepts with you, review and provide feedback on your inquiries, and help you develop clear and concise lab reports. They can help prepare you for the big exams, and give you lots of insight on how to be successful on assessments and exams. 

Do you need help in more than one subject? The right tutor for you may be able to help you not only in science, but in other subjects like math or English. 

Start by finding the right tutor, using the following questions as a guideline:

  • Do they live in the same province as you and understand the curriculum?
  • Do they have the educational background to help you with the grade level of math you are learning?
  • Are they able to make the extra learning and review fun and engaging?
  • Does their price meet you budgetary needs?
  • Can they meet you at a time that works with your schedule?

With your family, work to find the right tutor for you on Superprof. 

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Colleen

Colleen is a Toronto-based educator, mom and freelance writer who believes in lifelong learning and strong coffee.