Chemistry is only taught as a separate subject in Forms IV to VI.Prior to this it is taught as part of General Science in preparation for the Junior Certificate.
This is Form IV.It is a time to consolidate work covered for the Junior Certificate and to build a solid foundation for the Leaving Certificate examination that will be taken at the end of Sixth Form.
The overall emphasis is on practical work, with hands on experience.A lot of time will be spent covering basic chemistry that is not covered directly in the Leaving Certificate Syllabus: making basic chemicals and looking at their properties. There will be much manipulation of data obtained from experimental work.Students will do more than thirty experiments during the year. Each terms work will be tested by an end of term exam, but there is also continuous assessment using class tests and by examination of practical workbooks.
Senior Cycle [Leaving Certificate]
The uptake of Chemistry here is generally high; usually up to four times the national average. There is no requirement to have done chemistry in form IV as the subject is taught from the most basic level.However those who have done chemistry before are at an advantage for the first term, but not thereafter.
All students are taught to Honours Level and very few end up taking the Ordinary Level [less than one student per year, on average] .
The Syllabus provided by the Department of Education and Science is followed. Students are given a copy of the syllabus and the course is explained to them in detail. They are given a timetable of classes and the topics to be covered at the start of each term. All are required to have a standard text book for reference purposes, and in addition to this the teachers notes and a whole variety of revision materials are available to them on the Science Department website [sccscience.com]. Hard copies of the notes are also available in the library. Maximum use is made if IT to enhance teaching and animations are used, where appropriate, to explain difficult conceptual work. Once again practical work is very important and they will do a practical each week. Each pupil is given a summary of all mandatory practicals which can account for more than one third of the possible marks in the final exam.
We would normally have finished the vast majority course by the middle of Hilary Term of Form VI and the rest of the time is spent going over areas where the students have encountered difficulties and practising past questions. One of two small new topics are covered during this period to give fresh impetus. Results are well above the national average. [See below]
Assessment is by :
- regular class tests at the end of each topic,
- experiment reports and
- by an end of term exam lasting 1.5 to 2.0 hours.
The end of term exam covers the work of the preceding term with about 25% of the marks allocated to work covered in earlier terms. In the Hilary term of Form VI a full mock exam is held and marked under the same conditions as the Leaving Certificate. Their experiment reports are important as these may be requested, by the Department of Education, for inspection.Failure to produce a satisfactory report book can lead to refusal of permission to sit the Leaving Certificate exam in this subject.
Summary of topics covered in each year
Two singles and one double period
- Preparation and properties of many basic chemicals
- Basic Atomic Structure ·Rates of reaction
- Water in our world
- Identifying compounds
- Chemical equations
- The mole and stoichiometry
Three singles and one double period
- Atomic Structure and Periodic Table
- Organic chemistry
- Rates of Reactions
Three singles and one double period
- Chemical Equilibrium
- Acids, bases and pH
- Metals ·Electrochemistry
- Nitrogen and sulphur
- Industrial Chemistry
- Atmospheric Chemistry
- Practice and Revision