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Chemistry AP

SCI 507/508

Chemistry AP

  • Course ID:SCI 507/508
  • Semesters:2
  • Department:Chemistry
  • Course Rank:College Level
  • Teachers:Peter Bancroft

Description and Objectives

AP Chemistry is a comprehensive advanced chemistry course, in which students will learn about the fundamental properties of the materials in the world around us, and the ways in which these materials are formed and transformed. The course builds on the topics covered in Introductory Chemistry, focusing especially on mathematical problem-solving.

The curriculum corresponds to two semesters of university chemistry for science, engineering, or pre-medical majors. Topics include Atomic Structure, Bonding, States of Matter, Stoichiometry, Aqueous Reactions, Oxidation-Reduction Reactions, Acid-Base Reactions, Chemical Kinetics, Equilibria, Thermodynamics, Nuclear and Organic Chemistry. Laboratory concepts and techniques will also be covered.

Textbooks

Chemistry: Structure and Dynamics, Spencer, Bodner & Rickard, 4th ed.

The lead author of this textbook was the head of the College Board team that produced the current AP Chemistry curriculum. The textbook was first prepared on behalf the American Chemical Society, with the aim of setting chemistry education on a firmer theoretical foundation.

Course Requirements

The textbook and notebooks will be provided. A scientific calculator must be purchased; it need not be a graphing calculator. Daily homework will consist of outlining the text and solving practice problems. Some labs may take more than a period, and thus would require students to finish outside of class. Occasional unannounced quizzes may be given. The majority of the student’s grade will be determined by tests given after each chapter. Since this course corresponds to two semesters of college-level science, in contrast to the one semester covered by most AP courses, students will find that they need to put in more time than other AP courses.

Successful Students

Successful students will study each night until they thoroughly understand all new material. This will allow them to focus in class on the finer points and problem-solving techniques rather than on basic understanding; and test preparation will consist in reviewing material rather than in trying to master it for the first time.

A student fully understands a chemical concept only when he is able to use it in mathematical calculations to evaluate data and determine the value of unknown variables. This kind of problem-solving requires an orderly method, attention to detail, and patience. When a student’s first attempt to solve a problem results in a wrong answer, it is crucial to review the lesson and figure out how to get the correct answer (given in the back of the book). Nothing contributes more to mastering concepts than figuring out your mistakes in solving problems.

An orderly method of problem-solving includes: parsing each sentence of a problem to identify what quantities are given and what must be found; identifying equations that describe the relationships of known and unknown quantities; and writing out every step of your calculations, including the equations you are using, the values you are substituting in for the equations’ variables, and the units for each quantity. Working in an orderly fashion ends up saving time by reducing false starts and mistakes and making it easier to figure out the source of mistakes.

This course will serve as an excellent foundation for those students who go into math or science in the future, and the mental discipline and habits it develops will serve students in whatever field they eventually choose.

Additional Resources

We will also make regular use of prior years’ AP problems, published by the College Board. Additionally, AP review books will be made available to student for exam preparation.