Conceptual Chemistry

Nature of Matter

Unit 1

Chemical reactions are the focus of this first unit in Conceptual Chemistry.  Students will understand how substances change and they will explore the Law of Conservation of Matter as they perform and analyze chemical reactions. Students will balance equations and apply their understanding of the periodic table and periodic trends to the types of reactions and the reactivity of different elements. Students will engage in a variety of laboratory experiments that will emphasize scientific inquiry skills such as collecting, analyzing, and communicating data with tables and graphs as well as making claims that are supported with data and evidence.  Students will experience activities that will require them to follow safety protocols and appropriately use laboratory equipment. Students will work with mathematical conversions, commensurate with the level of challenge and rigor found in Algebra1. 

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Collective Intelligence

Water and Solutions

Unit 2

This unit focuses on the unique structure of water and its ability to dissolve a variety of substances. Students will understand how substances dissolve in water and will be able to describe solutions in terms of concentration and particle interactions. Students will test various solutions to determine if they are electrolyte solutions and will be able to explain how electrolyte solutions conduct electricity. Students will use their understanding of density to determine the density of various beverage drinks by performing a laboratory experiment and interpreting qualitative data. Students will also get an introduction to acids, bases, and pH and will be able to distinguish between acidic, basic and neutral solutions. Students will engage in a variety of laboratory experiments that emphasize inquiry skills such as planning and conducting experiments, collecting, analyzing, and communicating data (creating and interpreting graphs). Students will have laboratory experiences that will support their understanding in Chemistry 2 if they choose to enroll in that class the following year. 

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Collective Intelligence, Product Creation

Polymers

Unit 3

Polymers are the focus of the third unit in Conceptual Chemistry. Students will understand the basic structure of hydrocarbons (including alkanes, alkenes and alkynes) and they will explore how common functional groups impact the properties of hydrocarbons.  Students will name and write formulas for various hydrocarbons. Students will differentiate between natural and synthetic polymers and will explore the chemical reactions used to synthesize polymers. Students will engage in a lab experiment where they will create bioplastics from various plant starches and will collect quantitative data on tensile strength. Students will analyze their data and will propose novel applications for the materials they have created. Students will have laboratory experiences that will support their understanding in Chemistry 2 if they choose to enroll in that class the following year. 

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Collective Intelligence, Innovation