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Dunfermline High School

What Will I Learn?

Chemistry is the study of matter and involves learning about different substances and how they can react with each other. This allows us to understand and understand the world around us.

In S3 - Higher, Chemistry is broken up into three units:

  • Chemical Changes and Structure
  • Nature's Chemistry
  • Chemistry in Society


Unit 1: Chemical Changes and Structure

This unit focuses on atoms and how they join together to form compounds. You will also learn how the structure of substances can affect their chemical and physical properties such as melting point, conduction of electricity and solubility. 

The different sub-topics, which we call Key Areas, for each level are shown below. The table also displays some of the content covered in each Key Area.


unit 1 chemistry 2.pdf





Unit 2: Nature's Chemistry

This unit focuses on a branch of Chemistry often called 'Organic Chemistry' which looks at carbon compounds. 

At N4/5, we start by learning about fossil fuels such as crude oil and start to look deeper at the structure of the hydrocarbon molecules which make up the fuel. We will also learn about other common carbon compounds such as alcohols and vinegar.

At Higher, we will learn about many more carbon compounds from those in fragrances and soaps to those in the proteins we eat in our diet.

unit 2 chemistry.pdf


Unit 3: Chemistry in Society

This unit focuses on important chemical reactions and applications of Chemistry that we use in our lives.

At N4/5 the main focus of this unit is metals with plastics, fertilisers and nuclear chemistry added in too.

At Higher, we start to look more deeply at how chemists can get the most out of chemical reactions.


unit 3.pdf


Content Covered in S3 and S4

In S3 we will start working towards National 4/5 Chemistry with the following topics:

Structure of the Atom June - September 
Chemical Formulae and Calculations September - November 
Chemical Bonding November - January
Fuels and Homologous Series January - March
Rates of Reaction March - April
Everyday Consumer Products and Plants April - June
End of S3 Exam

 In S4 it is decided if you will be aiming for N4 or N5 and the topics covered are:

Acids and Bases August - September
Fertilisers September - October
S4 Prelim at N5 Level
Metals and Materials December - February 
Plastics February - March
Nuclear Chemistry March
Exam Revision/ N4 Assessments March - April
N5 Final Exam