SMGS Head of Stage 6 and Chemistry/Physics teacher, Dr Darryl Nelson, has had two Chemistry videos accepted for the Royal Australian Chemical Institute’s (RACI) 100 Reactions series, celebrating their 100th anniversary.

The two films that were accepted are:

1)    The Oxidation States of Vanadium

2)    Flame Colours

To learn more about the project, 100 Reactions for RACI100, visit:

We caught up with Dr Nelson about the RACI Chemistry videos. Of the experiments he chose to showcase, he said, “These experiments are conducted by the students during senior Chemistry classes, and many are compulsory. I have filmed them specifically to draw out the nuances of the reactions. Students have access to these videos, so the annotations are important in ensuring they understand the nature of the reactions while also being able to admire their beauty. It is really all about the electrons!”

At SMGS, we understand that it is no longer enough to pass on information to students; we must be teaching and inspiring students with what they can do with the information, equipped with advanced thinking and analytical skills. Through these RACI videos, Dr Nelson provided our students with another opportunity to build their skills as noted above, and he explains this by saying, “While Physics underpins the Universe as we know it, Chemistry can often be the visual manifestation of it. Chemistry is a component of many university subjects, and the concepts are sometimes difficult to grasp, so it is important to have an understanding of it in secondary school.”

Dr Nelson clearly loves teaching, and when asked what his favourite part of teaching Chemistry/Physics is, he said, “My favourite part of teaching Chemistry is creativity and how this can assist in improving student learning. Creating resources from scratch and developing technical skills to make videos such as these, while encouraging students to make their own, can help them to develop a deeper understanding of the subjects. Using visuals to draw students into the subjects initially is useful. At a later date, after the visual hook has been relegated to memory, they realise just how interesting Chemistry is and how useful it will be when they leave Year 12.”

Congratulations, Dr Nelson. We are looking forward to hearing further about your innovative ways to help teach and engage our students in the subjects of Chemistry and Physics in the future!