The best textbook for VCE Chemistry Units 3 & 4
496 pages, ★★★★★
Heinemann Chemistry 2 Enhanced (Heinemann 2) is the best VCE Chemistry textbook in existence. There are two other major brands (Nelson and Jacaranda) but Heinemann 2 beats both of them in terms of comprehensiveness and clarity.
I read the whole book from start to finish in preparation for teaching VCE Chemistry. I love the clarity, the use of full colour and the connections to real life in this book. I also love how the most difficult unit, Unit 4, consists of hard and easy chapters in alternation! Left-brained chemical production processes are interspaced with right-brained “chemistry in society” chapters, which are easier to understand. The whole book is organised according to the VCE Chemistry Study Design, too—and the Key Knowledge from the Study Design are pasted at the start of each chapter.
Heinemann 2 isn’t perfect, though. I noticed two errors:
Page 91: the infra-red (IR) spectrum of ethanol is wrong. Compare the book’s example (top) with a typical example found online (bottom):
Why is the O-H stretch in Heinemann 2‘s spectrum so narrow and short?
Page 445: the bottom paragraph on tin plating is very unclear. The book uses “tin” to refer both to the “tin can” and to the “tin plating”, even though only the latter is actually made of tin. An extract from Heinemann 2 is below.
With the exceptions of IR spectroscopy and tin plating, Heinemann 2 gives you comprehensive coverage of all the topics in VCE Chemistry. As long as you look up those two topics on ChemGuide, Heinemann 2 is the only textbook you’ll need to buy. ★★★★★
More resources might pique students’ interest, though. Try these websites:
- ChemGuide — succinct, text, covers VCE well ★★★★★
- Richard Thornley — tutorials for VCE and a little beyond ★★★★★
- Kahn Academy — tutorials for VCE and far beyond ★★★★★
- ShowMe — covers most of VCE ★★★★
And try these iPhone apps for organic chemistry:
- Organic Chemistry Nomenclature — revision flashcards ★★★
- MolPrime — great for drawing organic molecules with your finger ★★★
- ChemSpider — look up properties of the molecules you drew in MolPrime! These two apps work seamlessly together. ★★★