Subject Information - Chemistry

National 4/5

Head of Department: Mrs Helen Inglis

Course Progression: Chemistry

Chemistry is not limited to beakers and laboratories. It is all around us, everything we see, hear, smell, taste and touch involves chemistry and chemicals (matter). Chemistry plays a major role in the development of medicines, food production, consumer products, energy production and, essentially in caring for our ever more fragile environment. Chemists are needed to help solve some of society's most challenging technological problems through research, development and teaching.

Chemistry National 4 and 5

National 5 Chemistry provides pupils with the opportunity to acquire knowledge and develop an understanding of how chemistry impacts everyday life within a rigorous and detailed framework.

All pupils will begin to study for the National 5 qualification, although some pupils may find the demands of National 5 too challenging and therefore, the National 4 qualification may be more suitable. For these pupils there will be an opportunity to transfer to the National 4 course at some point during S3/S4.

The National 5 course is designed to allow pupils to develop skills of scientific enquiry, investigation, analytical and creative thinking, and knowledge and understanding of chemistry in nature and in society. Practical work plays a central role as pupils apply laboratory techniques to investigative tasks. In addition, pupils are encouraged to discuss their ideas about chemistry and explain observations. In this way we seek to promote a positive attitude to the role that chemistry plays in today's society: stimulating a more general interest in scientific issues which affect the wellbeing of the pupils themselves as well as the wider community and environment.

Course Structure

The three units studied in the National 5 course are:

  • Chemical Changes and Structure
  • Rates of reaction
  • Atomic structure and bonding related to properties of materials
  • Formulae and reaction quantities
  • Acids and Bases

 

  • Nature’s Chemistry
  • Homologous Series
  • Consumer Products
  • Energy of Fuels

 

  • Chemistry In Society
  • Metals
  • Properties of Plastics
  • Fertilisers
  • Nuclear Chemistry
  • Chemical Analysis

Assessment

There is an external examination of 2.5 hours (100 marks) as well as an assignment (20 marks, scaled to 25), which will be marked by the SQA and conducted under exam conditions at school.

Assignment 

The National 5 Chemistry Assignment can contribute up to 20% of the final mark. It provides learners with an opportunity to demonstrate the following skills and knowledge:

  • Applying knowledge of chemistry to new situations and interpreting information
  • Selecting and presenting information appropriately in a variety of forms
  • Processing the information/data collected (using calculations and units where appropriate)
  • Drawing valid conclusions and giving explanations supported by evidence/justification
  • Communicating findings/information

The Assignment will be carried out in two distinct phases:

  • The research stage
  • The report stage

It should be noted that there are clear guidelines provided by the SQA in relation to the National 5 Chemistry Assignment and teacher assistance. All teachers are limited to providing “reasonable assistance” during the research and preparation phase. Such “reasonable assistance” includes:

In the research stage:

  • Directing candidates to the Instructions for Candidates
  • Clarifying instructions/requirements of the task
  • Advising candidates on the choice of topic or issue

In the report phase:

  • Conducted under a high degree of supervision and control where no assistance, with the exception of Support for Learning arrangements, is provided.

For the full SQA documentation relating to the assignment can be found in a PDF available online.

Chemistry (S4) National 4

National 4 Chemistry provides pupils with the opportunity to acquire knowledge and develop an understanding of how chemistry has helped to shape modern society, and the way in which we live today.

The course is designed to allow pupils to acquire a core understanding of chemical processes and the skills to solve chemical problems. Practical work plays an important role as pupils learn a range of techniques and carry out simple chemical investigations. In addition pupils are encouraged to discuss their ideas about chemistry and to use them to explain observations to an appropriate audience. In this way we seek to encourage positive attitudes by helping pupils to be open minded, to be interested in science and to be aware that they can take decisions that affect the wellbeing of themselves and others and the quality of the environment.

Course structure

The three units studied in the National 4 course are:

  • Chemical Changes and Structure
  • Rates of reaction
  • Atomic structure and bonding related to properties of materials
  • Energy changes of chemical reactions
  • Acids and Bases

 

  • Nature’s Chemistry
  • Fuels
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Consumer Products
  • Plants for Products

 

  • Chemistry In Society
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials
  • Fertilisers
  • Nuclear Chemistry
  • Chemical Analysis

Assessment

Each unit has one end-of-unit assessment. The award at National 4 depends on the successful completion of an assignment. For the assignment pupils will use the skills and knowledge they have learnt during the course to carry out an in depth investigation on an unfamiliar and/or integrated context which is internally assessed. There is no external end of course examination.

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Higher

Head of Department: Mrs Helen Inglis

Course Progression: Chemistry

Chemistry is not limited to beakers and laboratories. It is all around us, everything we see, hear, smell, taste and touch involves chemistry and chemicals (matter). Chemistry plays a major role in the development of medicines, food production, consumer products, energy production and, essentially in caring for our ever more fragile environment. Chemists are needed to help solve some of society's most challenging technological problems through research, development and teaching.

Chemistry (S5/S6) Higher

The study of chemistry at Higher seeks to extend the pupils' knowledge beyond National 5 and to further develop problem solving and practical skills associated with scientific enquiry. The course is designed to develop independent, creative and critical thinking within new contexts and to promote positive attitudes by helping pupils to be open minded and to critically assess scientific claims that will affect their wellbeing and the quality of their environment.

It provides a grounding for pupils wishing to study chemistry and chemistry related subjects, or to work in certain employment sectors requiring a more detailed knowledge of chemistry; for example, chemistry, biochemistry, biology, environmental science, food sciences, chemical engineering, pharmacy, medicine, dentistry, radiography, physiotherapy, vet medicine etc.

Recommended Entry

Pupils will normally be expected to have attained one of the following awards or its equivalent:

  • National 5 Chemistry at Grade A or B
  • National 5 Mathematics at Grade A or B, or equivalent.

NB If the Higher course proves to be too demanding then pupils can opt to complete Higher Units in S5 and go on to sit the Higher exam in S6 after another year of study.

Course Structure

The mandatory units are:

  • Researching Chemistry (Half Unit)
  • Chemical Changes and Structure (Half Unit)
  • Nature's Chemistry 
  • Chemistry in Society 

 

  • Researching Chemistry (Half Unit)
  • In this Unit pupils will work in groups to develop the key skills necessary to undertake research in Chemistry and demonstrate the relevance of chemical theory to everyday life by exploring the chemistry behind a topical issue. They plan and undertake a practical investigation then prepare a scientific communication presenting their aim, results and conclusions.

 

  • Chemical Changes and Structure (Half Unit)
  • Controlling the Rate,
  • Periodicity (Trends in the Periodic Table)
  • 
Structure and Bonding

 

  • Nature's Chemistry (Full Unit)
  • Esters, Fats and Oils
  • Proteins
  • Chemistry of Cooking
  • Oxidation of Food

  • Soups, Deteregents and Emulsions

  • Fragrances
  • Skincare

 

  • Chemistry in Society (Full Unit)
  • Getting the most from costly reactants

  • Equilibria

  • Oxidising and Reducing Agents

  • Chemical analysis

 

Assessment

There is an external examination of 3 hours (120 marks) as well as an assignment (20 marks, scaled to 30), which will be marked by the SQA and conducted under exam conditions at school. The external examination will be split into two papers: Paper 1 (25 marks) and then Paper 2 (95 marks)

The Higher Chemistry Assignment can contribute up to 20 marks. It provides learners with an opportunity to demonstrate the following skills and knowledge:

  • Applying knowledge of chemistry to new situations and interpreting information
  • Selecting and presenting information appropriately in a variety of forms
  • Processing the information/data collected (using calculations and units where appropriate)
  • Drawing valid conclusions and giving explanations supported by evidence/justification
  • Communicating findings/information

The Assignment will be carried out in two distinct phases:

  • The research phase
  • The communication phase

It should be noted that there are clear guidelines provided by the SQA in relation to the Higher Chemistry Assignment and teacher assistance. All teachers are limited to providing “reasonable assistance” during the research and preparation phase. Such “reasonable assistance” includes:

In the research phase:

  • Directing candidates to the Instructions for Candidates
  • Clarifying instructions/requirements of the task
  • Advising candidates on the choice of topic or issue

In the communication phase:

  • Directing candidates to the Instructions for Candidates
  • Clarifying instructions/requirements of the task

At any stage, reasonable assistance does not include:

  • Providing model answers
  • Providing feedback on drafts

For the full SQA documentation relating to the assignment can be found on the SQA website (PDF)

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Advanced Higher

Head of Department: Mrs Helen Inglis 

Course Progression: Chemistry

Chemistry is not limited to beakers and laboratories. It is all around us, everything we see, hear, smell, taste and touch involves chemistry and chemicals (matter). Chemistry plays a major role in the development of medicines, food production, consumer products, energy production and, essentially in caring for our ever more fragile environment. Chemists are needed to help solve some of society's most challenging technological problems through research, development and teaching.

 

Chemistry (S6) Advanced Higher

The Advanced Higher course is suitable for pupils who have achieved a good pass at Higher Chemistry and who wish to further their knowledge of the subject.

Those pupils who may be looking to study a science-based subject at the university or college level (eg chemistry, biology, biochemistry, environmental sciences, forensic science, pharmacy, medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine) will almost certainly find that the further study of chemistry is a large component of their chosen course - particularly in the first year of further education. Without the Advanced Higher Chemistry qualification these choices of tertiary course might prove extremely difficult. This is particularly pertinent for those pupils who may apply to English universities where they will be competing with candidates with A-level Chemistry.

Recommended Entry

Pupils will normally be expected to have attained the following awards or their equivalent:

  • Higher Chemistry
  • Higher Mathematics

 

If pupils do not have Higher Mathematics, but have a National 5 pass at A or B they should discuss entry to the course with the Head of Department.

Course Structure

An essential feature of Advanced Higher Chemistry is the requirement that all pupils undertake an individual investigation. This is an extended piece of work that requires the compilation of a detailed scientific report. Suggestions and help are given in the choice of topic and in the subsequent experimental work as and when necessary. Nevertheless much more in the way of independence, planning and initiative are needed than in earlier courses.

Academically the course builds on many concepts that were introduced in earlier years. Several new topics are also introduced; these include analytical techniques such as gas-liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, X-ray crystallography, as well as the development and function of medicines.

The course has three units.

  • Inorganic and Physical Chemistry  
  • Electromagnetic radiation and atomic spectra,
  • Atomic orbitals, electronic configurations and the Periodic Table,
  • Transition metals,
  • Chemical Equilibrium,
  • Reaction Feasibility,
  • Kinetics.

 

  • Organic Chemistry and Instrumental Analysis
  • Molecular orbitals,
  • Molecular structure and stereochemistry,
  • Experimental determination of structure (mass spectrometry, infra-red spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy)
  • Synthesis
  • Pharmaceutical Chemistry

 

  • Researching Chemistry 
  • Develop key techniques and practical skills
  • Develop a plan for an investigation
  • Collect and analyse information obtained from the investigation 

 

Assessment

Unit 1, 2 and 3 are assessed internally by end-of-unit assessment. For the Researching Chemistry unit pupils must write a detailed plan for their investigation and collect and record experimental results to specified standards in an appropriate format. This is assessed internally as pass or fail.

The investigation report produced by the pupil is externally assessed and worth 30 marks. The external end of course examination consists of one paper of 2 hours 30 minutes with an allocation of 100 marks.

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