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Chapter 1: 1-6 Introduction to the study of chemistry

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Homework Expectations for Chemistry Course

This homework page has some extra introductory material to help you get started.

Organizing your Work

The following list gives you a general idea of each task you need to complete for our meetings. You may want to copy it to another file or spreadsheet to help you keep track of your assignment completion.

  • To prepare for the next honors course chat session:
    1. ____Check the homework page on the course content site for reading assignments, weblecture links, study activities, optional web reading
    2. ____Read the textbook sections assigned, making notes for review and listing questions to ask in chat
    3. ____Read the web lecture posted by the teacher, making notes for review and listing questions to ask in chat
    4. ____Complete the mastery exercises for the section.
    5. ____Complete any study activities, such as interactive lab simulations, listed on the homework page.
    6. ____Watch suggested videos, especially if you are having problems with particular concepts.
    7. ____Write your answer to the question assigned to you in the forum
    8. ____Study the lab assignment and make note of any questions you have on performing the lab; be sure to ask these in chat or email the instructor
    9. ____Attend chat and ask your questions, defend your forum essay, and participate in the discussion
  • After completing a chapter in the text (check Moodle for due dates)
    1. ____Complete the mastery exercises and achieve 85% or better
    2. ____Take the Moodle Chapter Quiz: note these have limited availability dates and plan accordingly!
    3. ____Perform the assigned lab, analyze your data, and post your lab report by the due date

Getting to know the textbook

Take the time to become acquainted with the organization of the textbook, so that you can easily find things as we work through it.

Chapter 1 Homework

[Most homework pages will start with your reading assignment, like this:]

Reading Preparation

Textbook assignment: Read Kotz and Triechel, Chemistry and Chemical Reactivity, Prefaces and Chapter 1: Sections 1-6.

General Preface

Review the General Preface and About the Authors (xix-iiiiv). Pay particular attention to how the text is laid out, the purpose of chapter goals and focus pages, and the recommended use of example problems, section exercises and study questions.

Chapter 1 MATTER AND MEASUREMENT: Sections 1-8

The introductory chapter of our text is typical of most textbooks: it was written to entice you with some of the more interesting (to the authors of the text at least) aspects of chemistry, and in response to some popular sense of how chemistry is useful. For their own purposes, the authors are simply happy to have knowledge that gives them some sense of control over the universe — and for most pure scientists, this is enough. Even if they can't do anything about a situation, at least they know why it is happening, and why this event is different from other events.

For practical purposes, the authors offer the currently popular (and real) circumstance that as future voters, you will determine how research dollars are spent and how laws are enforced, particularly environmental and public health laws, based on research done by chemists. If you cannot properly evaluate and understand the results of chemical research at some level, you will not be able to make informed decisions about issues that rest on the professional chemists' understanding of the way the universe works. At the very least, as a consumer of chemicals (every material object you buy is made of them, after all), you should have some sense of what you are spending your money to acquire.

Christians (and Jews and Moslems and anyone else who believes in a created universe) have the additional responsibility of appreciating the nature of the universe because it may tell us something about the Creator. We accept the idea that the natural world is real and than it follows certain ordained laws, that its behavior is regular and therefore predictable. The more we understand about the complexity of the relationships of particulate matter, the more we can wonder at the Mind that thought all of this up.

The study of chemistry links us to a long line of philosophers and theologians and scientists who were fascinated by the forms of matter and the ways it changes from one form to another. Welcome to Chemistry....and to the company of Thales of Miletus, Aristotle, Paracelsus, John Dalton, and Linus Pauling, just to name a few.

As you read this material, keep in mind the following questions:

Details matter

Chapter 1 also introduces us to (and sometimes assumes that we know something about) the most basic concepts and the most common experiences we share about matter. While some of these ideas are thousands of years old, others date back only a century or two. Humans have long been aware of the three common states of matter, solid, liquid, and gas, because one of the chemicals fundamental to all life —water — can assume all of them within most normal weather temperature ranges. Humans have also been in pursuit of pure substances —things that cannot be "split" into component substances — for centuries as well, and early identified certain metals like gold and silver as "pure". The breakdown of substances into atoms and molecules is much more recent, and the realization that the molecules move around according to their heat content (as measured by their temperature) is more recent still.

As you read these sections, pay attention to the definitions of the basic terms:

When you get to an in-text example, stop and work it out. The answers are in the back of the book. These "checkpoints" will help you identify whether or not you really understand the material just presented.

Study Notes

Important Formulae

ConceptRelationshipFormulaSymbolsTypical Units
Volume of cubelength * width * height V = l * w * h V: volume
l: length
w: width
h: height
cm3, m3
Volume of spherevolume to radius V = 4πr3 V: volume
l: length
w: width
h: height
cm3, m3
Density mass/volume ρ   =   m V ρ: density
m: mass
V: volume
g/cm3, kg/m3

Web Lecture

Read the following weblecture before chat: Introduction to the study of Chemistry

Take notes on any questions you have, and be prepared to discuss the lecture in chat.

Study Activity

Videos for Chapter 1

Our textbook publisher has a video website at Thinkwell Video Lessons that contains short 3-5 minute videos on selected topics. As we go through chapters, I'll point out videos you may want to view, especially if you are having problems visualizing the material simply by reading it. You should bookmark the Thinkwell link to the index page here...and after study points on homework pages, I'll suggest which videos you may want to view on specific topics.

For this part of chapter 1, you my want to review the videos listed below. You'll have to experiment and determine whether you find it more useful to watch the videos before or after reading the text.

Chat Preparation Activities

Chapter Quiz

Lab Work


Please read the introductory materials -- preface and table of contents -- and Chapter 1, pp. 1-7, of your lab work book: Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture. You may also find this set of Instructions for Using Your Laboratory Notebook from MIT useful. As you can see, you lab notebook will probably not look very neat, but it should be possible to read anything you wrote down, even if you decide later that it was wrong.

Online Resources

The "hybrid" edition of textbook uses the OWLv2 site which is included with the purchase of a new copy of the text. I do not recommend that you purchase this version of the text, but if you did and your text did not come with end-of-chapter exercises, please let me know. I do not require that you purchase access to OWLv2 for this course.

OWLv2 does give you access to MindTap, a dynamic and interactive set of exercises and presentations that supplement the text materials. If you did purchase access, you should use these often to observe chemical reactions and processes and supplement your learning: you might as well get what you paid for! If you did not purchase the OWLv2 access, be sure to use the ThinkWell video resources (which are free) referenced in the blue box on homework pages to provide similar observing opportunities.