I like playing with modelling clay, painting, sticking and using the games console. I have a lot of friends here and the teachers are nice.

Liam Fraser
Kindergarten 2012

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Chemistry

The essence of scientific enquiry is problem solving based on a sound framework of knowledge and understanding. The Chemistry department aims to help all pupils develop the skills necessary to achieve success in these enquiries. Our courses are designed to highlight ways in which the quality of everyday life is influenced by chemical processes and products. Pupils will be encouraged to form and express opinions and attitudes towards this important aspect both individually and by working in groups.

From S1 Chemistry is taught as a separate science. In S1 and S2 our courses follow the Curriculum for Excellence guidelines. From S3 onwards the subject is optional, continuing with National 4/5 Course then opting for Higher and on to Advanced Higher.

We encourage our pupils to take part in a variety of trips and activities in relation to Chemistry e.g. the ‘Chemistry Masterclass' held in St Andrew's University and a number of competitions which we take part in each year, namely the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) ‘Top of the Bench' Competition, RSC Scottish Schools Analyst Competition, and the Salter's Festival of Chemistry. These cater for a wide range of stages in school and levels of interest.

S1 & S2 Chemistry

S1 

Content Taught
The S1 Course follows the CFE level 3 & 4 guidelines and covers a wide variety of content and skills and provides an enjoyable experience for all pupils whilst providing a strong foundation for future courses in Chemistry. The units covered are: 1) An Introduction to Chemistry, 2) Solids, Liquids and Gases, 3) Gases in the Air and 4) Water.

Methodology:
Throughout the course pupils have the opportunity to take part in a lot of practical work both individually and in a variety of group sizes.  All pupils are encouraged to expand their knowledge and understanding and develop their problem solving /investigative skills using a wide variety of resources.

Homework
Homework is set regularly and is used to compliment, further and reinforce the pupils’ experience of the unit work.

Assessments
Pupils sit end of Unit tests and a May exam to assess their progress.

S2 

Content Taught
In S2 our course covers the following content from Nat 4 & 5 courses. Chemical Reactions and their Speed, Formula Writing, Fuels and Hydrocarbons & Homologous Series.

Methodology
The classes will be mixed ability and pupils will have an opportunity of working on their own and in groups. A range of teaching approaches ensures that pupils achieve to the best of their ability and enjoy the subject. In addition to prepared notes and text references, molecular models and a number of computer packages will be used to enhance this course.

Pupil Notes
In some areas pupils make their own notes from the unit notes provided, textbooks and other resource references while others are more teacher directed. Guidance will be given at the beginning of the course on the methods of note making. Notes will be checked regularly by the class teacher.

Homework 
Homework will consist of completing notes begun in class, answering questions on the current unit and for revision, writing summaries and revising for  unit tests/ examinations. Homework will be issued by the teacher as appropriate to the pupils’ position in the topic.

Assessments
Tests will be given at the end of each section of work with at least one week’s notice. All tests/examinations will assess achievement of knowledge and understanding and problem solving skills and the results will be used in pupil reports.

National 4/5 Chemistry

Content Covered
In S3/4 our course covers the National 4 and 5 coursework. This course contributes to pupils’ general education by helping them become aware of the applications of chemistry in everyday life. In addition it will provide a suitable base for study training and for work. The essence of scientific enquiry is problem solving, based on a sound framework of knowledge and understanding. The Chemistry Department aims to develop the skills necessary to achieve success in these enquiries. Units covered are:- Chemical Changes and Structure, Nature’s Chemistry and Chemistry in Society.

Skills
The course assessment will assess scientific inquiry skills, analytical thinking skills and the impact of applications on society and the environment.

It will give learners an opportunity to demonstrate the following skills, knowledge and understanding by:

  • demonstrating knowledge and understanding of chemistry by making statements, describing information, providing explanations and integrating knowledge
  • applying knowledge of chemistry to new situations, interpreting information and solving problems
  • planning or designing experiments/investigations to test given hypotheses or to illustrate particular effects, applying safety measures.
  • carrying out experimental procedures safely, recording observations and collecting data
  • selecting and presenting information appropriately in a variety of forms
  • processing information (using calculations and units, where appropriate)
  • making predictions and generalisations based on evidence/information
  • drawing valid conclusions and giving explanations supported by evidence/justification
  • identifying a source of error and suggesting improvements to experiments
  • communicating findings/information

The course Assignment will give learners the opportunity to:-

  • select an appropriate chemistry topic within the set guidelines provided by SQA
  • investigate/research the topic, focusing on applications and impact on society/the environment
  • process the information/data collected

Methodology: The classes will be mixed ability and pupils will have an opportunity of working on their own and in groups. A range of teaching approaches ensures that pupils achieve to the best of their ability and enjoy the subject. In addition to prepared notes and text references, molecular models and a number of computer packages will be used to enhance this course.

Pupil Notes: In some areas pupils make their own notes from the unit notes provided, textbooks and other resource references while others are more teacher directed. Guidance will be given at the beginning of the course on the methods of note making. Notes will be checked regularly by the class teacher.

Homework
Homework will consist of completing notes begun in class, answering questions on the current unit and for revision, writing summaries and revising for class tests, unit assessments and examinations. Homework will be issued by the teacher as appropriate to the pupils’ position in the topic.

Assessments (Internal and External)
Internal assessments will be given at the end of each section of work, end of each unit and in a prelim exam. Pupils will also be assessed on a practical investigation and writing of a scientific report.

External assessment
The paper will assess scientific inquiry skills, analytical thinking skills and the impact of applications on society and the environment.

The question paper will have 80 marks (80% of the total mark)

The question paper will have two Sections.                                                                                                 
Section 1, titled ‘Objective Test’, will have 20 marks.
Section 2, titled ‘Paper 2’, will contain restricted and extended response questions and will have 60  marks.

The assignment will assess the application of skills of scientific inquiry and related chemistry knowledge and understanding.

The assignment will have 20 marks (20% of the total marks).

Next Steps
Pupils can then choose to move onto Higher or Intermediate 2 Chemistry.
Chemistry can open up a vast range of course and careers choices to you. Even if you think it will not require chemistry, it probably does! Listed here are just some of the wide range of careers that require a knowledge of chemistry: doctor, dentist, pharmacist, engineer, zoologist, metallurgist, archaeologist, oceanographers, laboratory technician, research scientist, agricultural scientist, vet food scientist, forensic scientist, industrial chemist, biochemist, photographer, art restorer, nature conservationist and water technologist.

Higher Chemistry

Topics Taught
The course is designed for students who wish to continue their study of chemistry beyond National 5 level/Intermediate 2 and who may wish to progress to Advanced Higher. As such the Higher course could form the first year of a two-year post Credit level /Intermediate 2 course.

As a one year course the study of chemistry at Higher can make an important contribution to the pupils’ knowledge and understanding of the physical and natural world.

Course Content
The course has been designed in 3 independent units which together provide a wide and varied experience of chemistry

All units seek to develop knowledge and understanding, problem solving and practical abilities in the context of:-

  • ENERGY MATTERS (H) 40 hrs - reaction rates; enthalpy; patterns in the Periodic Table; bonding, structure and properties; and the mole.
  • THE WORLD OF CARBON (H) 40hrs - fuels; nomenclature and structural formulae; reactions and uses of carbon compounds; polymers; and natural products.
  • CHEMICAL REACTIONS (H) 40 hrs - the chemical industry; Hess’s law; equilibrium; acids and bases; redox reactions; and nuclear chemistry.

Homework
Homework will consist of completing notes begun in class, answering questions on the current unit and for revision, writing summaries and revising for unit tests and examinations. Homework will be issued by the teacher as appropriate to the pupil’s position in the unit. Homework is expected to take up to approximately 3 hours per week.

Assessments (Internal and External)
To gain the award of this course, the pupil must achieve a pass in all component units of this course as well as the external assessment, which will provide the basis for grading the attainment in the course award. Pupils will have to write one report of an experimental activity per unit which will be internally assessed. Pupils will also sit a prelim. The external assessment will take place in May /June and consist of 2 papers; Paper 1 (1hr)- Fixed response paper (40marks) & Paper 2 (1hr 30 min)-Extended answer paper (60 marks).

Next Steps
Pupils may choose to continue with Advanced Higher Chemistry in school. 
Chemistry is also a pre-requisite for many degree courses such as biochemistry, medicine, dentistry, forensic, pharmacy and many other science based courses.
Qualifications in chemistry can of course lead to employment in traditional chemical industries such as the oil and pharmaceutical industries. Chemistry graduates have many opportunities for employment or studies in research, teaching, commerce and industries.

Advanced Higher Chemistry

The study of chemistry at Advanced Higher level develops the students’ knowledge and understanding of the physical and natural environments. The course builds on the Higher level, developing further the underlying theories of chemistry and the practical skills used in the chemical laboratory. The course also develops the skill of independent study and thought that are essential in a wide range of occupations.

Topics Taught
The course has four mandatory Units, three of which are content Units i.e. –

  •        Electronic Structure and the Periodic Table 0.5 credits (20 hours)
  •        Principles of Chemical Reactions 1 credit (40 hours)
  •        Organic Chemistry 1 credit (40 hours)

The fourth Unit is practically based but is also externally assessed i.e.-

       Chemical Investigation 0.5 credits (20 hours)

All units seek to develop knowledge and understanding, problem solving and practical abilities in the context of each Unit.

Homework
Formal homework exercises will be issued, but students will be expected to take responsibility for planning their own learning, revision and completion of course work by predetermined deadlines.

Assessments (Internal and External)
To gain the award of the course, the student must achieve passes in all component Units of the course as well as the external assessment, which will provide the basis of grading attainment in the course award. Each component Unit will be assessed by means of end of Unit tests.

External assessment will consist of two parts:

1. Written examination (2½ hours):
Part 1 – Fixed-response paper (40 marks)

Part 2 – Extended-answer paper (60 marks)
2. Assessment of the Chemical Investigation is by submission of a written report. (25 marks)

Next Steps
This course is particularly suitable for those pupils who wish to progress to degree courses either in chemistry or in subjects where chemistry is a major component such as medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, forensics, chemical engineering and the environmental and health sciences. A degree in chemistry may leas to employment in traditional chemical industries such as the petrochemical or pharmaceutical industries. There are opportunities for further studies in leading to the award of research degrees. Chemistry is also recognised as being a sound education that develops a variety of skills appropriate to employment in teaching, commerce and other industries.
 

Intermediate 2 Chemistry

Introduction
The course is primarily designed to provide a ‘bridge’ between achievement in knowledge and understanding and problem solving at General level in Standard Grade and further study at Higher. As such the Intermediate 2 course could be the first year of a two-year Higher programme and is particularly useful for those pupils in S5 and S6 who wish to study chemistry for the first time.

Course Content
The course has been designed in 3 independent units which together provide a wide and varied experience of chemistry. The content of these units will be largely based on the content of Standard Grade Chemistry at Credit level but will also include appropriate content from Higher Chemistry. Titles, lengths and brief descriptions of the units are detailed as follows:-

All units seek to develop knowledge and understanding, problem solving and practical abilities in the context of:-

BUILDING BLOCKS (INT2) 40hrs- substances; reaction rates; the structure of the atom; bonding; structure and properties; chemical symbols; and the mole.

CARBON COMPOUNDS (INT 2) 40hrs- fuels; nomenclature; structural formulae and reactions of carbon compounds; plastics and synthetic fibres and natural products.

ACIDS, BASES AND METALS (INT 2) 40 hrs- acids and bases; salt preparation; and metals.

Homework
Homework will consist of completing notes begun in class, answering questions on the current unit and for revision, writing summaries and revising for unit tests and examinations. Homework will be issued by the teacher as appropriate to the pupil’s position in the unit and is expected to take up to approximately 2 hours per week. 

Assessments
To gain the award of this course, the pupil must achieve a pass in all component units of this course as well as the external assessment, which will provide the basis for grading the attainment in the course award. Pupils will have to write one report of an experimental activity per unit which will be internally assessed. Pupils will also sit a prelim. The external assessment will take place in May /June and consist of 1 paper;- Paper 1 (2hr) consists of two parts: -Fixed Response (30 marks) and Extended answer (50 marks).