In its teaching of Chemistry, the Department aims to develop skills of understanding, problem solving and practical investigation and to produce responsible,and creative scientists who have enthusiasm for learning and an ability to use and communicate their knowledge.
Staff, both teaching and technical, have a wide range of experience and expertise. All staff are encouraged to share ideas, which leads to lively and frequent discussions of our methodology. We use a range of approaches, including direct teaching, group work and resourced based learning.
The Department is well equipped with excellent resources and also benefits from many external links. Pupils annually attend regional competitions and exhibitions run by the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Salters' Institute, as well as courses organised by the Universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews.
The S1 course is taught initially by whole class teaching using common course materials. There is an emphasis on the development of practical skills. Throughout the year pupils are encouraged to develop their thinking skills and to become independent learners whilst carrying out a variety of exciting investigations.
In S3 and S4, pupils are able to access National 4 and 5 Chemistry. Teachers are passionate about their subject and engaging the pupils in their learning. This allows for differentiation, a high level of individual support for pupils and the opportunity to set targets.
In Chemistry, we aim to develop study skills from S1 onwards, introducing revision techniques such as mind maps and concept diagrams, in preparation for the first national examination. Pupils are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning; self assessment and target setting are actively encouraged.
With both National 5 and Higher available in S5 and S6, pupils can progress at a pace which supports their progress, and for those with a keen interest Advanced Higher offers the opportunity for in-depth study in S6. At all stages pupils are encouraged to be open minded and questioning and to appreciate the importance of chemistry in their lives.