Chemistry in S5-S6

Purpose and Aims of the Course

The purpose of the Course is to develop learners’ curiosity, interest and enthusiasm for chemistry in a range of contexts. The skills of scientific inquiry and investigation are developed throughout the Course. The relevance of chemistry is highlighted by the study of the applications of chemistry in everyday contexts. This will enable learners to become scientifically literate citizens, able to review the science-based claims they will meet.

The Course provides well-mapped concept and skills development pathways. The Course develops scientific understanding of issues relating to chemistry, and uses the development of chemical theory to build an extensive set of skills for learners. Through application of a detailed knowledge and understanding of chemical concepts, in practical situations, learners develop an appreciation of the impact of chemistry on their everyday lives. The Course gives the opportunities for learners to develop the ability to think analytically, creatively and independently, and to make reasoned evaluations. By using the broad skills base and knowledge and understanding of detailed chemistry concepts, learners will become scientifically literate citizens.

It offers a broad, versatile and adaptable skills set which is valued in the workplace, and forms the basis for progress onto study of chemistry at a higher level, while also providing a knowledge base useful in the study of all of the sciences.

The main aims of this Course are for learners to:

  •  develop and apply knowledge and understanding of chemistry
  •  develop an understanding of chemistry’s role in scientific issues and relevant applications of chemistry, including the impact these could make in society and the environment
  •  develop scientific inquiry and investigative skills
  •  develop scientific analytical thinking skills, including scientific evaluation, in a chemistry context
  •  develop the use of technology, equipment and materials, safely, in practical scientific activities, including using risk assessments
  •  develop planning skills
  •  develop problem solving skills in a chemistry context
  •  use and understand scientific literacy to communicate ideas and issues and to make scientifically informed choices
  •  develop the knowledge and skills for more advanced learning in chemistry
  •  develop skills of independent working


The Course also serves to equip all learners with an understanding of the impact of chemistry on everyday life, and with the knowledge and skills to be able to reflect critically on scientific and media reports. This will also equip learners to make their own reasoned decisions on many issues within a modern society where the body of scientific knowledge and its applications and implications are ever developing.

The Course content has been selected to allow learners to study key chemical areas within situations of personal relevance using up-to-date contexts. Skills of scientific investigation, communication skills, literacy and numeracy are all developed within the Course. The Units offer opportunities for collaborative and independent learning, set within familiar and unfamiliar contexts, and for high-quality experimental work.

Pupils are required to produce their own record of work as directed by the teacher. There will be a requirement to summarise material from the course textbook, label diagrams, watch video material, take lecture notes, use computers and attend field trips or excursions to enrich the course. In addition an investigative approach will be taken with students drawing heavily on experimental work

The course covers the following topics:

  • Inorganic and Physical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry and Instrumental Analysis
  • Researching Chemistry
  • Chemical Investigation

A variety of teaching approaches will be employed to include formal direct teaching and opportunities for some self paced pupil work. Pupils are expected to make some of their own notes as a result of explanation and discussion in class, and regular use is made of SCHOLAR, the course textbook and the in-house pupil notes. Tutorial style lessons where pupils work independently in completing a range of examples are also common. Pupils are expected to carry out a range of practical activities, and work much more independently than previously in doing such activities.

  • Acquire and apply knowledge and understanding of chemistry concepts.
  • Develop scientific and analytical thinking skills in a chemistry context.
  • Develop applied problem solving skills in a chemistry context.
  • Develop an understanding of chemistry’s role in scientific issues.
  • Develop understanding of how chemical products are formed and why they are formed.
  • Develop understanding of relevant applications of chemistry in society.


Formal homework will be issued weekly in the form calculation practise, multiple choice, short answer and past paper questions.  Candidates are expected to spend at least  2 hours on set homework in addition to time spent on revision of class work.

Advanced Higher

Homework will involve written exercises based on course work, steady revision throughout the session and the production of reports of experimental and investigative work. Pupils are expected to work independently on SCHOLAR resources, ink exercises, past paper questions and practise calculations on a regular basis

‘Chemistry really helped me understand the chemistry of everyday life. The practical experiments are great.’

Beth Thorburn 

Is chemistry for me? 

You will enjoy this subject if: 

  • You’d like to find out more about how the world is made.
  • You’d like to find out more about how chemistry creates life.
  • You enjoy real life and theoretical problem solving.
  • You enjoy learning through practical experiments.

Influential Chemists

  • Charles Macintosh  –  Scottish chemist and inventor of waterproof fabrics. The Mackintosh raincoat is named for him.
  • Marie Curie – Chemist who conducted some of the foundation research on radioactivity. Curie discovered two new elements—radium and polonium—and won the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Her work formed the foundations of  the medical applications of x-rays and radiology. Curie worked in mobile X-ray units during World War I, and died in 1934 as a result of complications due to extensive radiation exposure.
  • Mario Molina –  Part of a team of scientists that discovered the ozone hole over the Antarctic, and predicted that certain chemicals would cause this issue. Molina’s article on the subject led directly to an international treaty to protect the ozone hole and ban chloroflourocarbons. He received the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.