Environmental Science National 5

Course Overview

The purpose of the N5 Environmental Science course is to develop learners’ interest and enthusiasm for the subject by tackling issues such as global climate change, pollution, use of land and water resources and changes in wildlife habitats. It involves using investigative and experimental skills to develop an understanding of scientific principles, economic influences and political action. Environmental Science takes a problem solving approach to attempt to develop solutions that prevent or reverse environmental deterioration and aim for sustainable practices.

Course Content

The course is made up of three units:

• Living Environment
• Earth’s Resources 
• Sustainability

In addition to this, pupils need to complete a piece of research which will be assessed and count towards their final grade, this is called the assignment.

Unit 1: Living Environment
The topics you will study in earth’s resources are:
• Investigating ecosystems and biodiversity
• Interdependence and adaptation
• Human influences on biodiversity
• Impact of natural hazards on biodiversity

Unit 2: Earth’s Resources
The topics you will study in earth’s resources are:
• Overview of Earth’s systems and their interactions
• Geosphere
• Hydrosphere
• Biosphere
• Atmosphere

Unit 3: Sustainability
The topics you will study in earth’s resources are:
• Food Security
• Water Resources
• Energy Supplies
• Waste management
• Transport

Added Value Unit: Assignment (National 5)
In this unit pupils will choose an environmental issue and write up a research project based on fieldwork or an experiment. The project will be marked by the SQA and is worth 20% of their final grade.


A variety of active learning and teaching strategies will be involved, from teacher led explanation and discussion to individual work; paired work ;group work; researching and presenting information ;interpretation and analysis of various sources of information ; self and peer evaluation of work produced.


Pupils will receive homework on a regular basis, this might involve finishing off class work, revising for assessments or undertaking research into investigation work.

Assessment Approaches

The National 5 course assessment will consist of an exam paper which will account for 80% of your final grade and an Added Value Assignment which will account for 20% of your final grade. The course assessment is graded A-D.

Further Information 

It is expected that pupils will already have achieved a N5 pass in Geography or Biology, Chemistry or Physics. Pupils who have achieved a N4 pass in these subjects will also be considered.

For further details please contact Mr J McAuley Principal Teacher of Geography.