Unit 1 : Energy Matters This unit covers the sub-topics of reaction rates, energy changes, patterns in the Periodic Table, bonding and the mole. Varied topics from the unusual properties of water that enable life to exist to the important ideas surrounding the quantity and ease with which new chemicals can be formed are covered here. One welcome development (for some students) is a cutback in the amount of calculation and its replacement by more descriptive chemistry.
Unit 2 : The World of Carbon This unit covers the sub-topics of fuels, naming compounds, reactions and uses of carbon compounds, polymers and natural products. The basic chemistry of compounds that occur in living things (fats and proteins) is covered.
Unit 3 : Chemical Reactions This unit covers the sub-topics of chemical industry, Hess’s Law, equilibrium, acids and bases, redox reactions and nuclear chemistry. Most chemical reactions, both in living and non-living things, take place in solution! This unit gives more understanding of the rules that govern these.
Each sub-topic is assessed on completion to build up competence for the end of unit test. There is also an assessment of one practical technique (along the lines of Standard Grade).
There is an examination at the end of the course, comprising multi-choice questions and short written answers.
About 90 minutes per week to go over notes, answer questions and prepare for tests.
Value of the course
The course has links with Higher Physics and Higher Biology (which has a biochemistry component). Higher Chemistry is essential for any medical, dental or veterinary course. It is extremely desirable for any biological course eg biochemistry, microbiology, anatomy, botany, biophysics, genetics, zoology and marine biology. It is also necessary for agriculture, is taught in most first year university engineering courses and is needed by those wishing to study pharmacy, dietetics, marine chemistry, pharmacology, forensic science, physiotherapy, pathology, food science, geology, textile science and environmental science. It also carries weight as proof of numerical and analytical skills in fields like accountancy, management studies and computing.
Students should have a Credit award in Standard Grade Chemistry with a minimum grade 3 in the Knowledge and Understanding element.
Chemistry Advanced Higher
We will be using on-line help from the ‘Scholar’ programme from Heriot-Watt University together with their prepared student booklets as an aid to teaching the course.
There are four units :
Electronic Structures and the Periodic Table: electromagnetic spectrum; electron configuration; spectroscopy; covalent bonding; shapes of molecules; ionic lattices; superconductors and semiconductors; oxides, chlorides and hydrides; transition metals and their complexes. There is some overlap with physics in this unit.
Principles of Chemical Reactions: stoichiometry; chemical equilibria – reactions, different phases, ionic (acid/base, indicators, buffers); thermochemistry – Hess’ Law; bond enthalpies; Born Haber cycle; reaction feasibility – entropy and free energy; electrochemistry; kinetics. There are useful features in this unit for the study of biological sciences at university.
Organic Chemistry: reaction types; reaction mechanisms; physical properties; hydrocarbons and halogenoalkanes; alcohols and ethers; aldehydes, ketones and carboxylic acids; amines; aromatics; stereoisomerism; structural analysis; infra-red spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance and X-ray crystallography; drugs and medicines. This unit is obviously extremely useful for the study of any biological science at university.
Short Practical Investigation: examples include – preparation and properties of aspirin; biodegradation; crystal growth; electroplating; hair; ion exchange; phosphates in washing powders.
Each unit is assessed on completion. There is also a pass/fail assessment of one of the twelve prescribed practical activities.
Examination at the end of the course (80%) and a practical investigation mark (20%).
About 120 minutes per week to go over notes, answer questions, write up practical work and prepare for tests.
Value of the course
The course gives a thorough grounding for students who either need chemistry to help them with first-year university courses in chemistry, environmental sciences, medicine, veterinary science and biological sciences or wish simply to take the subject a stage further.
Students should have at least a grade C in Higher Chemistry.