Unit 1: Classification and Properties of Matter

Students are introduced to Chemistry through the study and classification of matter and its properties at the macroscopic level.  Students will deepen their understanding of the changes matter undergoes by performing laboratory investigations and observation of chemical phenomena which will allow the students to distinguish between chemical and physical changes.  Students will also become familiar with the language of the course and the elements of the Periodic Table, which are the fundamental building blocks of all matter. Since all chemical changes involve energy, students are introduced to the concept that there is a single quantity called energy.  Students will further investigate and learn through laboratory investigation that a system's total energy is conserved, and within the system, energy is continually transferred from one object to another and between its various possible forms.  

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Unit 2: Problem Solving and Precise Measurement in Chemistry

In this unit, students learn how to make precise quantitative measurements as well as the importance of units and their relevance to scientific calculations.  Students will develop the necessary mathematical skills for scientific study of data. Students develop an understanding of the meaning of exponents of ten and become proficient in calculations involving scientific notation as well as reviewing metric prefixes.  Students are introduced to significant figures while using instrumentation in a chemistry lab followed by the rules for handling of significant figures in calculations. Students will then learn to solve problems using dimensional analysis, a problem-solving method that will be used throughout the year. Application of mathematical skills to the physical property of density is the basis for the culminating performance task.

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Unit 3: Structure of the Atom and Nomenclature

In Unit 3, students explore the Periodic Table and its versatility as the organizing framework for understanding the fundamentals of chemical behavior. Students explore groups on the Periodic Table as well as distinguishing characteristics and chemical properties.  Students then take a deeper dive into their understanding of subatomic particles, the relationship between the particles and their relevance to atomic mass and isotopes. The last unit focuses on a study of chemical nomenclature, the highly structured process of writing names and formulas of ionic compounds, molecular compounds and organic compounds. The unit concludes with a student designed project where chemical nomenclature, compound classification, chemical formulas, their respective ratios and compound functionality are applied to everyday household items. 

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Unit 4: The Mole, Chemical Reactions and Stoichiometry

In Unit 4, the previous learnings of Units 1 through 3 are brought together in an integrated level of conceptual understanding as students begin an in depth look at chemical quantities, chemical reactions and the importance of both topics to the quantitative understanding of chemical reactions.  Students will apply the fundamental concept of the 'mole' in order to count particles using the mass of a sample. Based on the mole concept, students will be able to determine the percent composition of a substance and deduce the empirical and molecular formula of an unknown compound. Ultimately, students will balance chemical equations and analyze the amounts of reactant and products involved in a chemical reaction. Students will apply these learnings in an inquiry style lab where the student will use an experimental mole ratio to determine the balanced chemical reaction that occurred. 

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Unit 5: Electron Configuration and Periodic Relationships

Students will expand their understanding of the atomic structure with an emphasis on electrons in atoms and the relationship of electrons within the atom to physical and chemical properties. An in depth study of the electromagnetic spectrum is the anchoring phenomenon used to develop a model for the electronic structure of the atom. Through the evaluation of electron configuration, students will develop an understanding of periodic properties including ionization energy, electronegativity, and atomic radius, and the relationship to the valence electrons of each element.

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Unit 6: Gas Laws

Students begin this unit by conducting a series of experiments to investigate the variables of temperature, pressure and volume and develop an initial model of what is happening at the molecular level. Through various hands-on activities, students enhance and deepen their understanding of the kinetic molecular theory of gases and refer back to and revise their models using their new learnings. The final project culminates in an inquiry style lab where students determine the density of carbon dioxide gas and demonstrate their ability to describe gas behavior and the gas laws both qualitatively and mathematically.

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Unit 7: Molecular Geometry and Intermolecular Forces

Students will deepen their understanding of chemical bonding between atoms and how the degree of electron sharing impacts the type of bonds between atoms.  From here, students will learn how to use two dimensional Lewis Structures and the Valence Shell Repulsion Theory as the basis for predicting the shapes of small molecules as well as molecular polarity.  Students will use this knowledge to identify the intermolecular forces present in a molecule and how these forces explain and predict the physical and chemical properties of that molecule. The unit will then explore the application of this phenomenon to everyday applications.

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Test Tubes in the Chemistry lab
Chemistry teacher and students working in the lab
Chemistry lab materials
student working with test tubes in the lab
students working in the chemistry lab
chemistry lab
Chemistry Lab

Unknown Liquids Lab

Over several days, students tests a variety of compounds while taking data on the reactions that occured.  Ultimately, students were able to apply their understanding to identify an unknown solution.