National 5

The Chemical Dictionary


National Course Outline

  • The course provides a broad experience of Chemistry

The course aims to:

  • Develop scientific and analytical thinking skills in a Chemistry context.
  • Develop an understanding of the role of Chemistry in scientific issues.
  • Acquire and apply knowledge and understanding of concepts in Chemistry.
  • Develop understanding of relevant applications of Chemistry in society.
  • Develop problem solving skills in a Chemistry context.

In addition to scientific skills, learners will continue to develop and acquire the capabilities of the four capacities as well as skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work. They will continue to develop their skills in literacy, numeracy and communication.

To achieve a National 5 award in Chemistry pupils must pass all of the required units as well as the course assessment. The added value unit will focus on breadth, challenge and application. The added value unit and the exam will be externally assessed.

Mandatory Units:

Nature’s Chemistry

In this unit, pupils will study the formation, extraction and uses of hydrocarbons. Pupils will look at the environmental impact of fuels and how alternative energy sources, including biomass, hydrogen, ethanol and biodiesel are being developed. Topical areas of work include the use of alcoholic drinks in our world and their production.

Chemical Changes and Structure

In this unit, pupils will study the pH scale and the uses of acids in food and drink. Pupils will investigate neutralisation reactions and their impact on health and the environment. They will also study the structure of the atom and patterns in the periodic table.

Chemistry in Society

In this unit pupils will study the properties of metals and their uses. Pupils will discover how fertilisers are produced and how they have benefited society. Through experimentation students will learn about the development of batteries and fuel cells which will help power our future energy needs. Pupils will also learn about the development and design of new materials such as plastics and ceramics.

Added Value Unit

In this unit, pupils will draw on and extend the skills they have learned from across the other units, and demonstrate the breadth of knowledge and skills acquired in a topical Chemistry issue.

Course Assessment:

Component 1 - External Exam

The question paper will have two Sections and will take place over 2.5 hours as the External Exam.

Section 1 Multiple Choice worth 25 marks.

Section 2 will contain restricted and extended response questions and will have 75 marks.

Component 2 - Assignment

The assignment will have 20 marks out of a total of 100 marks. This is 20% of the overall marks for the Course assessment.

This assignment has two stages:

  • a research stage
  • a communication stage

In the course of their assignment, learners are required to:

  • choose, with support, a relevant topic in chemistry that has an effect on the environment and/or society
  • devise an appropriate aim
  • describe the relevant application(s) of chemistry and explain the effect on the environment/society
  • research the topic by selecting, processing and presenting relevant data/information
  • draw a conclusion
  • describe underpinning chemistry knowledge and understanding and explain its relevance to the topic researched
  • communicate the findings of the research in a report