General Chemistry Lecture (On-Level or Honors)


Through the study of chemistry, high school students will learn the science behind things they observe every day! Chemistry explains properties of the food we eat, the beverages we drink, the medicines we take, the fibers we wear, and fuels in the cars we drive. Chemistry is a foundation to understanding the world around us and fundamental to other sciences such as biology, physics, geology, and environmental science.

This full-year laboratory course makes chemistry come alive through at-home readings, practice problems, supplementary activities, and in-person hands-on labs to demonstrate key concepts. Course themes include matter, changes in state, scientific measurement, atomic structure, electrons in atoms, and characteristics of the periodic table. Students will then study ionic, metallic, and covalent bonding, chemical names and formulas, and chemical reactions. Further chemistry topics include the behavior of gases, water and aqueous solutions, acids, bases, and salts; oxidation-reduction reactions, solutions, and thermochemistry.

Students will learn the skills necessary for successful study of chemical reactions and molecular phenomena, using common high school laboratory chemicals, glassware, and techniques. This is not a course done in microscale using pre-mixed solutions: students will learn to calculate molarity and use dimensional analysis to mix solutions, calculate yields, analyze errors, and construct graphs. Example labs include experiments in molar mass, hydrates, precipitates, filtration, density, distillation, reactants, single and double displacement, acid/base titration, polymers, heat of fusion, heat of vaporization, and stoichiometry. Class demonstrations will model other chemical concepts and processes, such as a radioactive cloud chamber.

Note:This course has two class meetings: In-person Lecture from 11:00 am-11:55 am on Mondays and in-person Lab from 12:00 pm- 1:30 pm on Fridays. Students must enroll in both sections.

Prerequisites: High school Algebra I

Levels: This course provides a substantive, full-credit experience on either an on-level or honors track. All class members complete the same core material and participate in the same labs. Students taking the course at the honors level have additional assignments and alternative scoring. Honors students' homework will be graded and recorded as part of the students' total earned points. (On-level students' homework will be corrected and graded, but not factored into the total earned points.) Honors students will complete an additional research paper each semester on a chemistry topic of their choice using a minimum of 5 sources, and Honors students will be asked to memorize the polyatomic ions. Students must identify their level prior to the start of class. At any point in the year, a student may transition from honors to on-level if the workload exceeds the students' expectations.

Workload: Students should expect to spend 3-4 hours per week outside of class. Outside work must be completed to support the "flipped classroom" approach to this course in which the student pre-reads and prepares much of the lecture content at home, allowing in-person class time to be spent on highlights, clarification of challenging topics, class discussion, homework review, demonstrations, labs, and activities. In addition, students should plan for additional meeting and coordination time most weeks with their lab partners in-person, by phone, shared documents, or via virtual meeting. Students will also be required to read one scientific, non-fiction book or current events article each quarter and prepare a 2-page summary and response book report.

Assignments: All assignments will be posted on password-protected Canvas classroom management site. There, students access assignments, upload homework, take automated quizzes and tests, track grades, and message instructor and classmates. Parents can have an observer account in Canvas to review assignments and graded work. Students will have weekly readings, practice problems, and mandatory pre-lab assignments. The pre-lab assignment must be completed prior to lab and will serve as the student's "ticket" into the lab session each week.

Assessments: Students will earn points for completed homework, unit tests, lab reports, book reports, and semester exams. Parents can calculate a letter grade using the student's points earned divided by points available. Parents may view all scoring and comments at any time through the Canvas site.

Textbook/Materials: Students should purchase or rent Prentice Hall Chemistry by Wilbraham, Staley, et. al. 2008 edition (ISBN #978-0132512107).

Lab/Supply Fee: A class fee of $125 is due payable to the instructor on the first day of class for a composition notebook, graph paper, lab equipment and supplies, and safety supplies.

What to Bring: Students should bring a paper or a notebook, pen or pencil, and a scientific calculator each week.

What to Wear: Students should not wear any loose, drapey clothing to lab. They should also come to class with long hair tied back and should wear closed toe shoes.

Credit: Homeschool families may wish to count this course as a full credit in Lab Science for purposes of a high school transcript.

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