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Semester 1: Introduction

What in the world isn't chemistry?


Chemistry is a branch of physics that explains how atoms and molecules interact. A complete understanding of chemistry will help you understand a host of interesting things: What causes color? How does your body work? Why does unpainted iron rust? Why is unpainted aluminum impervious? How do detergents work? How do lasers and semiconductors work? Why is water so special? How do the acids in vitamin C, in your car battery, and in your stomach differ? What makes things burn? What stops the fire? You eat, breathe, look at, or work with chemicals every second of every day.


In this introductory chemistry course, you will study many principles that help explain the world around you. Topics for the first semester include measurement, energy and matter, atomic structure, chemical formulas and bonding, chemical reactions, the mole, chemical equations, heat in chemical reactions, electron configurations, the periodic table, and groups of elements. The lessons point out many real-life applications and examples of these concepts. In addition, your study of chemistry will be reinforced through a number of laboratory activities.


What will you need for this course?


Textbook: You will not need a textbook for this course.  All pertinent information will be in each lesson.


Calculator: You will need a calculator that has scientific notation.


Periodic Table:  A periodic table is provided for you to print out.  You will need a copy of the periodic table available when working on submissions and exams. Please click here for the periodic table.


Teacher/Mentor: The laboratory activities are an important part of this course. Many of the activities require assembly of an apparatus or handling of chemicals. Therefore, it is recommended that you find an adult to help you obtain materials, supervise activities, and aid you when necessary.


Materials: For the course, the student will need a notebook.  It is important that you take notes on the lessons.  Most of the materials you will need for the labs are easily obtained, common items and frequently, a substitute item will work if you don't have access to the appropriate lab equipment. Ask you teacher or mentor for help with anything you can't find on your own.