Chemistry is the study of matter and the changes that matter undergoes. Matter is anything that has mass and occupies space. A better question would be what in the world is “not chemistry”. Thus, when you study chemistry, you take a very close look at the world around you. The chair you sit in, your clothes, the air you breathe are all made of matter and thus will be studied in chemistry. Chemistry is involved in some way with almost everything we do or use. It is central to most of science and technology, blending at one extreme into physics, mathematics and engineering and at the other end into the earth and life sciences.
The major principles, concepts, and applications of chemistry will be reviewed while employing a hands-on approach to learning. The goal is to prepare the student for college-level chemistry and/or science-related college majors.
Unit 1: Introduction to Chemistry
In this unit, students will learn the basics of chemistry. Chemistry builds upon itself. Chemistry is sort of like an onion – there are layers and layers each more complex than the other. During this unit, students will explore the introductory concepts of chemistry to prepare them for the subsequent units. Included in this unit are classifying matter, the scientific method, significant figures, and dimensional analysis.
Unit 2: Atomic Structure and The Periodic Table
In this unit, students will learn about the development of the most important tool they will use in this class – The Periodic Table of Elements. Students will also utilize its arrangement to know certain trends without the need of memorization. The structure of an atom is introduced as the background of the historic development of the periodic table. By looking at how the periodic table changed along with discoveries of the structure of the atom, students clearly see that science is constantly changing and improving based on new information. Included in this unit is also a discussion about the nature of science.
Unit 3: Nuclear Chemistry
In this unit, students learn about the reactions that do not involve the electrons, but rather require an unstable nucleus. Different types of radioactive decay will be discussed, Einstein’s famous equation E = mc^2 and the conversion of mass to energy are also looked at.
Unit 4: Bonding
Students will learn how atoms and ions bond to form molecules and other structures. Various properties will be investigated, including electronegativity, ionization energy, and electron affinity. The unit will then shift into drawing structures. After drawing Lewis dot structures, more geometrically accurate structures with molecular shapes will be completed. Once the correct shapes are drawn, students will investigate how to determine molecular polarity.
Unit 5: The Mole
Students will learn about two of the most important topics in chemistry – chemical formulas and the mole. Knowing chemical formulas will be of great importance as it is essentially the language of chemistry. Mole calculations will be the basis of a majority of the calculations students perform throughout the remainder of this course.
Unit 6: Chemical Reactions
In this unit, students will learn about chemical reactions. This is the essence of chemistry – creating new chemicals with different properties than the reactants. Along with producing new chemicals, chemical reactions also involve the transfer of electrons. This transfer of electrons leads to electricity being produced from a chemical reaction.
Unit 7: Stoichiometry & Solutions
This unit combines chemical reactions and mole calculations by calculating quantities within a chemical reaction. This topic is known as stoichiometry. Because units 5 & 6 were so critical to the understanding of chemistry, learning how to convert from one chemical to another, will be the only new concept taught. A majority of this unit will be a review and reinforcement of the previous two units.
Unit 8: Gas Laws
While other units have primarily focused on solids and liquids, this unit will solely focus on gases. Gases have some unique properties, such as gases have mass and particles are in constant motion, will be studied. Boyle’s Law, Charles’ Law, the Combined Gas Law, Ideal Gas Law, and gas stoichiometry will also be covered in this unit.