Class Syllabus

Instructor: J. Berkeley



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Science is fun. It is everywhere. It is a set of tools and methods by which we try, as human beings, to explain our physical universe. We will explore the vastness of the Creation and as we travel and explore from the innermost portions of the atom to the outer reaches of the known physical universe...and beyond!

So don't miss anything! I am excited to teach you all of these things!
Whether or not you may think of yourself a scientist, I really want to teach you how to act and THINK like one!

All real scientists, mathematicians, and engineers are curious little kids in grown-up bodies. We are inquisitive, annoying creatures who need to know everything: how something works, why something works, what will happen if we do this or that, and so on. Bring out that curious inner child within you -- Be Child-like, not Child-ish.

Honors Chemistry and Chemistry

New West Charter High School -- J. Berkeley -- 2019-2020

This is the standard and honors course of chemistry. It is an in-depth course in all of the topics necessary for succeeding in the future at the college/university level in the technical discipline of general chemistry and related subjects.

It will satisfy the University of California A-thru-G requirement for a proper Honors-level designation.

Here is a general course outline (honors-only topics have an asterisk):

I. Introduction

A. Safety rules and procedures
B. Scientific Method
C. Branches and careers in chemistry
D. Scientific Notation
E. Accuracy, precision, significant figures
F. Control vs. test and other types of experimentation

II. Measurement

A. System Internationale units (SI) vs. English units
B. Metric system and prefixes
C. Dimensional analysis conversions and technique
D. Percentage error calculations
E. Density, area, and volume calculations
F. Temperature scales and conversions

III. Matter

A. Mass vs. weight
B. Hetero- vs. Homogeneous matter
C. Extensive, intensive, physical and chemical properties
D. Phases of matter and changes in phase
E. Physical vs. chemical changes in matter
F. Elemental occurrences in nature, ores, minerals
G. Laws of conservation of matter/energy
H. Compounds vs. mixtures

IV. Energy

A. Definition, work, joules F. Heat vs. Temp., cal, kcal, Cal, kinetic theory of matter
B. Kinetic vs. potential, types of each G. Activation energy, calorimetry, specific heats
C. Endothermic vs. exothermic H. Specific heat calculations
D. Forms of energy, changes in form
*E. Electrostatic forces, current, voltage, resistance, insulators, conductors

V. Gases

A. Pressure defined, various units of pressure C. Standard temperature and pressure (STP)
B. Atmospheric pressure, barometer, manometer D. Boiling, melting, viscosity, changes in water

VI. The Gas Laws

A. Boyle’s Law (PV=k), Charles’ Law (V=kT), Gay-Lussac’s Law (P=kT), combined laws, (PV=kT) with calculations
B. Dalton’s Law of partial pressures E. Mole concept, molar volume and calculations
C. Graham’s Law of Diffusion F. Kinetic theory, Ideal gases, PV=nRT
D. Avogadro’s hypothesis and number

VII. Changes in Gases, Liquids and Solids

A. Mechanism of Evaporation
B. Vapor vs. Gas, volatility, vapor pressure
*C. Liquid-vapor equilibrium and pressure at equilibrium
D. What is Boiling?
E. Liquefaction, critical temperature and pressure
*F. Heats of vaporization, condensation, fusion, and crystallization
*G. Fractional distillation, hydration, cracking and related terms

VIII. Atomic Structure, History and Theory (Part 1)

A. Democritus, Lavoisier, Proust, Dalton, etc.
B. Atomos, conservation of matter experiments, laws of definite and multiple proportions
C. Dalton’s Modern Atomic Theory (1803) and its limitations
D. Crookes, Thomson, Millikan, Rutherford, Chadwick
E. Crookes tube, anode, cathode, cathode ray tubes
F. Charge-to-mass ratio of an electron - Oil Drop experiment
G. Discovery of the nucleus - Gold Foil experiment
H. Relative charges and masses of subatomic particles
I. Isotopes, avg. atomic masses, notation, important carbon and hydrogen isotopes
J. Atomic number vs. atomic mass
K. Waves and their characteristics (amplitude, wavelength, crest, trough, frequency, velocity, etc.)
L. The Electromagnetic Spectrum
M. c = λν, E = hν (or c = λf and E = hf)


IX. Atomic Structure, History and Theory (Part 2)

A. Four branches of mechanics
B. Planck, Einstein, de Broglie, Heisenberg, Schroedinger, Bohr, Roentgen, Becquerel, Curie, Pauli, etc.
C. Wave particle duality of nature, exclusion principle, uncertainty principle, basic quantum theory, Hund’s Rule
D. Ground state energies, excited states, standing waves, nodes, *modes of vibration, spectroscopy
E. Four quantum numbers for each electron (principal, sublevel, orbital, spin)
F. Electron configurations, valence shell electrons
*G. Kernel concept, electron clouds, quantum mechanical probabilities, time-dependent psi
H. X-rays, transmutation, radioactivity (alpha, beta, gamma radiations), fission, fusion
I. Half-life calculations, nuclear equations, *rates of nuclear decay and causes thereof

X. Chemical Bonding (Part 1)

A. Chemical bonding, reactions and valence electrons
B. Noble gases and stable octets, octet rule and exceptions
C. Ionization energies, cations, anions
D. Electron dot diagrams, Lewis notation, configurations
E. Ionic bonding, crystal lattices, *42 crystal varieties
F. Covalent bonding, coordinate covalency, resonance
G. Metallic bonding, hydrogen bonding, Van der Waals forces, London forces

XI. Chemical Bonding (Part 2)

A. Electronegativity and the border number 1.7
B. Polar vs. non-polar compounds
C. Molecules and network solids, ionic crystals, *Bragg equation, *diamagnetism and paramagnetism
D. The VSEPR model, hybrid orbitals, *pi and sigma bonds, *bond order
E. Polyatomic ions, old vs. new names for cations
*F. Bond energies, bond angles, bond geometries

XII. The Periodic Table

A. Dobreiner, Newlands, Mendeleev et al
B. Periodicity and the Periodic Law
C. Periods, groups, families, trends and characteristics within them, compare and contrast
D. Ionic radii, cations vs. anions, electron affinity, atomic sizes
E. Metals, non-metals, metalloids

XIII. Chemical Formulas

A. Empirical formulas, molecular formulas, valences of ions, multivalent ions (old vs. new names)
B. Naming of compounds, prefixes, per-, hypo-, binary, ternary compounds
*C. Coordination compounds, ligands, metallic bonds, isomerism, etc.

XIV. Chemical Equations

A. Reactants vs. products
B. Balancing a chemical equation
C. Phases in chemical equations
D. Four types of chemical reactions

XV. Stoichiometry

A. The mole - Avogadro’s number
B. Molecular formula mass, formula weights
C. Percentage composition, empiricals F. Mass-mass & mass-volume problems
D. Determining formula from percentages G. Net ionic eqns, redox reactions, activity series
E. Limiting reagents, theoretical yields, spectator ions

XVI. Solutions

A. Characteristics of solutions, solutes, solvents
B. Types of solutions
C. What affects solubility, Henry’s Law, etc.
D. Factors affecting rate of solution
E. Solubility curves
F. Unsaturated, saturated, supersaturated
G. Dilute vs. concentrated

XVII. Expressing Solution Concentrations
A. Percentage by mass
B. Mass of solute per unit volume of solution
C. Parts per million, billion, trillion
D. Molarity and molality

XVIII. Colligative Properties of Solutions

A. Electrolytes, non-electrolytes, vapor pressure, conductivity
B. Freezing point depression, boiling point elevation, *calculations of both

XIX. Chemical Kinetics

A. Reaction rates and effective collisions
B. Hetero- vs. homogeneous reactions
C. Catalysis
*D. Reaction mechanisms, rate-controlling steps
E. Potential energy diagrams w/activation energies w/ and w/o catalysts, activation complex

XX. Enthalpy and Entropy

A. Enthalpy and heat content
*B. Heats of formation vs. stability of a compound, Hess’ Law
C. *Entropy changes (DS), thermodynamic basics
*D. Gibbs Free Energy equation, spontaneity

XXI. Chemical Equilibrium

A. Reversible reactions
B. What is equilibrium?
C. Equilibrium constant (Keq) and the mass-action expression
D. Le Chatelier’s principle and its changes, the Haber Process

XXII. Solubility Products

A. Solubility product, Ksp, and its uses
B. Prediction of precipitation

XXIII. Acids, Bases and Salts

A. Ionization vs. dissociation, weak vs. strong acids and bases
*B. Definition of acids and bases (Arrhenius, Bronsted-Lowry, Lewis)
C. Ionization constants of acids and bases, Ka and Kb
D. Properties, consumer uses, and preparations of common acids and bases
E. Four types of salts, acid-base reactions w/gas formation
F. Ionization of water, Kw, and calculations
G. Definition and calculation of pH, pH + pOH = 14
H. Buffers, amphoterism, conjugates, titrations, indicators, neutralizations, hydrolysis, normality

XXIV. Electrochemistry

A. Redox revisited, voltaic cells, activity series potentials, half-reactions
B. Batteries, *Nernst equation, EMF, corrosion, *electrical work, fuel cells

XXV. Organic Chemistry

A. Structural formulas, isomers, saturated vs. unsaturated
B. Hydrocarbon chains and names
C. Benzene rings and related ideas
D. Alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, ethers, esters, and organic esters

XXVI. Possible and Suggested Labs

A. Finding the Ratio of Moles of Reactants in a Chemical Reaction
B. Identification of Alum, KAl(SO4)2 • 12H2O
C. An Activity Series
D. Thermochemistry and Hess’ Law
E. Molecular Mass of a Volatile Liquid
F. Molecular Mass by Freezing Point Depression
G. Vapor Pressure and Enthalpy of Vaporization of Water
H. Analysis of a Commercial Bleach
I. Determination of the Hardness of Water
J. Study of the Kinetics of a Reaction
K. Determination of the Solubility Product of an Ionic Compound
L. Determination of the Equilibrium Constant for the Formation of FeSCN2+
M. Determination of the Dissociation Constants of Weak Acids
N. Determination of the Equivalent Mass and pKa of an Unknown Acid
O. Equilibrium and Le Chatelier’s Principle
P. Determination and Comparison of Solubility Curves
Q. Qualitative Analysis Using Paper Chromatography
R. Determination of Percentage Copper in an Alloy
S. Determination of the Formula of Various Hydrates
T. An Exploration Into Electrochemical Half-Cells
U. Laboratory Techniques for the Identification of Unknown Cations
V. The Preparation of Esters

XXVIII. Demonstrations

I will perform fifty to seventy-five demonstrations throughout the course of the school year chosen from my collection of over 500 that will supplement the student’s comprehension of chemical principles. Most of these are either too dangerous for the students to perform in groups or are subject to limitations in the chemical stockroom.



Activities, lab inquiries, projects and demonstrations are of course intended to stimulate the students to a greater comprehension of the prevailing concepts at hand. Objectives and procedures will be clearly stated for each. Activities and labs normally involve a write-up to be included in a mandatory lab notebook/journal, as are all lab experiments and demonstrations. Usually intended to test a certain hypothesis, such activities and demonstrations may be presented merely to enlighten.

A typical laboratory inquiry involves a proper expression of a problem, a possible explanation of an observed phenomena, and a method by which such a hypothesis can be either verified or discounted. These also the students to produce a formal lab write-up which includes materials and procedure, data acquisition, calculations (where necessary), conclusions, and error considerations. Later analysis of the class’ results by the class as a whole is mandatory for each.

The course is designed to cover the following topics through careful text reading, analysis and synthesis of progressive learning. Text assignments will include response to section, chapter, and unit review questions, as well as quizzes, informal checks for understanding, and embedded assessments. Research and demonstration of understanding will include web-based research and presentation, research of current mathematics studies through published reports, and current events examination and reporting. Assessments and grading procedures are covered in the certification handout and need not be repeated here.

CLASS RULES (normally I detest rules, but good fences make good neighbors)

1) Okay, here’s the deal: I will do all I can to teach and you will do all you can to learn.
2) I wish to train you to think logically -- bring your inner child, be curious, be inquisitive -- always ask the how and why questions.
3) Though I do not require you bring your textbook every day (though it’s not a bad idea), I do require you to bring your notebook/journal every day -- every class note, every problem, and all lab data will be in there -- and it will be graded for completion. You will also need a calculator though we won’t always use it. (Believe it or not, they can be purchased at the 99 cent store.)
4) It is YOUR responsibility to read your textbook. I reserve the right to use any homework questions on exams. Just because we may not have actual class time to discuss them all does not mean that you are not responsible for the information contained in them. I will do my best to discuss them all of course.
5) If you have to miss class, that will be too bad for you (and for me too) but it is YOUR responsibility to get the notes and assignments you missed. If homework was due that day, you may turn it in the next day without penalty. If homework was assigned that day, you will need to get that from me, your fellow students or my website and turn it in on time (or when you return).
6) Your work is your work. Their work is their work. Never copy another student. Automatic zero for copying - both for the student who copied and for the student who permitted it. A grade of F for the semester for a second offense (yikes!).
7) If notecards are permitted for an exam, only original handwritten or typed ones are allowed.
8) All notes in your notebook/journal must be written in your own handwriting/printing. Copying someone else’s notes and stapling them in will not be accepted.
9) Do not ditch my class. Any unexcused absence will result in a zero for any work due that day AND for any work assigned that day...besides, you’ll probably miss some good stuff (my class is fun!).
10) Late homework is accepted, but at half-credit at best. No late homework will be accepted after each exam. Once an exam is given, all missing assignments will be given a score of zero. Get all your work in BEFORE the exam.
11) Though the grading software and your teacher make mistakes (I’m only human you know), it is YOUR responsibility to see that your grades were entered correctly. Once an exam is given, all prior grades will remain unchanged.
12) If you were on campus for just one period, it is your responsibility to see that any work due on that day is received by me; either give it to the office, put it in my box, have a friend give it to me, or slide it under my door. No excuses will be granted to athletes, half-day field trips, early doctor’s appts., hangnails, nauseousness, etc.
13) This is a “family show.” No profanity, no violence, no disrespect, no taunting or antagonism.
14) All of NWCHS’ rules stated in the student handbook are always in force, including dress code, cell phone usage, unexcused absences and tardies and decorum.

Please see the certification for your agreement to and understanding of these rules and other class concerns.

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