Course Description:

This class is designed to be the equivalent of a first year, college level general chemistry course and will provide a fun, interesting and challenging learning experience to help you understand the integral relationships and relevance of chemistry in our world. The course is structured around the enduring understandings within the six big ideas  as well as the seven science practices articulated in the AP Chemistry curriculum framework provided by College Board. They include:

Big Idea #1: Structure of matter

Big Idea #2: Structure of matter-characteristics, states, and forces of attraction

Big Idea #3: Chemical reactions

Big Idea #4: Rates of chemical reactions

Big Idea #5: Thermodynamics

Big Idea #6: Equilibrium


Science Practice #1: The student can use representations and models to communicate scientific phenomena and solve scientific problems.

Science Practice #2: The student can use mathematics appropriately.

Science Practice #3: The student can engage in scientific questioning to extend thinking or to guide investigations within the context of the AP course.

Science Practice #4: The student can plan and implement data collection strategies appropriate to a particular scientific question.

Science Practice #5: The student can perform data analysis and evaluation of evidence.

Science Practice #6: The student can work with scientific explanations and theories.

Science Practice #7: The student is able to connect and relate knowledge across various scales, concepts and representations in and across domains.


In AP Chemistry, there is so much content to learn I could spend every day lecturing and still not get through all the content and students would not spend any time actively engaging in the content. Therefore, I am going to try to run the class as a “Flipped Classroom” where I require you to watch videos of lectures about the topics we need to learn, take notes and write down questions that arise for homework. Then you bring your questions to class for us to explore through scientific reading and writing, demonstrations, lectures and interactive assignments, and then you will apply the concepts through labs using scientific equipment and procedures, practice problem activities, and independent homework.  Short quizzes and tests will also be used to determine your grasps of the concepts and prepare you for the format of the AP Exam. I will be teaching you about how you best retain information after you have taken notes. These skills will help develop your scientific thinking to be used for the rest of your life, help prepare you to find success on the AP Chemistry test to receive college Chemistry credit, and will also be used for success in future college courses of Chemistry.


Brown, LeMay, Bursten (11th edition). Chemistry, the Central Science. Pearson/Prentice-Hall, 2009

Take good care of the textbook checked out to you, you can leave it at home as I will have a class set to be used in the classroom. If you damage or lose your textbook you will be fined or have to pay replacement cost.


Reference Materials:

Zumdahl, Steven, and Susan Zumdahl. Chemistry. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Classroom Website.

CHEM Matters Magazines

Flipped Classroom Videos:


Resources for Laboratory Activities and Demonstrations:

College Board, AP Chemistry Guided Inquiry Experiments: Applying the Science Practices

Randall, Jack, Advanced Chemistry with Vernier Laboratory Manual

Flinn Scientific Inc. Chem Fax : instruction and suggested activity sheets that accompany Flinn products and ChemTopic Labs Manuals

Shakhashiri, Bassam. Chemical Demonstrations: A Handbook for Teachers of Chemistry.

Summerlin, Lee, R. and James L Ealy. Chemical Demonstrations: A Sourcebook for Teachers


Other Materials needed for class:

Organization is an important part of your success in AP Chemistry. Your planner should be carried everyday. If you don't have one, get one...this will be your pass out of the classroom for anything. In addition, you will need to purchase 2 bound notebooks. One notebook will contain all lab investigations and the other notebook will be for notes, demonstration explanations, class work and homework. These notebooks should be well organized and neatly written as they may be used by your future college to grant you credit for the course. A calculator will also be needed for the many computations studied in AP Chemistry.  Finally, some kind of writing utensil will be needed daily.


Effective Classroom Community

I would like our classroom to become a tight community; all working together to help each other find the greatest success on the AP Chemistry Exam and learn the maximum amount possible during the class.  The following areas will help establish this community.

  • Lab Groups: With labs being conducted a minimum of 25% of class time, you need to chose individuals you can work with efficiently and effectively. Your lab groups will be 2-4 individuals working together to question, find solutions to challenges, write procedures or draw pictures to solve those challenges, collect and analyze data, and draw conclusions from the data collected. Written reports with this information will be included in your lab notebooks and graded. See format for these reports below.
  • Study Groups: You’ll also need to establish study groups that will exchange contact information to be able ask questions from home on an assignment or to study together before quizzes and tests. Your study group can also stay after school to work on practice tests or to do extensions of labs we do in class.
  • Individual problem presentations to class: Finally, during each chapter, practice problems from the text book and old AP Exam questions that relate to concepts being studied will be assigned. Each student will be required to present the solution (including step-by-step calculations if necessary) to one of these problems from each unit before the class on the document camera. Each student will have to present a specific number of questions each hexasemester to receive their participation points for that hexasemester. I will post the detailed solution to each problem in the classroom so students can examine the problems they do not understand beforehand. Study groups can also help students prepare for these small presentations. Students can sign up to present these problems either the day before when they are assigned or when they arrive in class the day they are due. Student may feel nervous about these presentations, but they will soon find that the rest of the class is behind them and wants them to succeed. To this end, the class is attentive during the explanation and even tries to help the presenter over the rough spots. Discussions often arise when students get different answers for a problem. My job as teacher is to stand near the back of the room and oversee the process. This involves my knowing when to step in and ask pertinent and probing questions to make sure you and the rest of the class truly understands what is important for those problems and that your explanation is clear. True understanding of concepts can be best achieved and remembered through teaching the concepts. Students will hopefully thrive in this environment and feel comfortable asking questions of their peers when they do not understand a concept or how an answer was achieved.

Grading Policy:
The following grading scale will be used throughout each quarter using the total points of all your assignments. 

100-93% = A              92-90% = A-   89-87% = B+   86-83% = B        82-80% =B-   79-77% = C+              76-73% = C     72-70% = C-   69-60% = D

Family access is the district wide grading program where students and parents can access many important aspects of student life in the district. Current real life grades are available to view from family access during the year to determine your progress in the class. If you have any questions about your grades throughout the year please send me an email and I will try to address you questions as soon as possible. All daily work is kept current in the grade book, and labs and tests should be graded 1-2 two weeks after they turned in if turned in on time. Late labs and tests will be grade at teacher convenience. 

Students earning a 4 or 5 on the AP Chemistry exam will receive a 1/3 grade bump that would be distributed as follows:  

4 = (i.e. C+ to B-)

5 = (i.e. B to A-)

Grade change requests are the responsibility of the student. Since exam results usually aren't available until summer break, student requests should be made in the form of an email to their teacher's school email account or student discussion when we return to school. The grade change will be initiated by teachers when they return to school in September.

Graded Assignments
Through out each unit you will be doing many assignments to support the concepts that are being taught. Unit practice problems will be checked off for completion at the beginning of the class period they will be discussed. Activities done in class will be checked off the following day that they are completed in class. If assignments are not done when due, then they will need to be checked off on the student’s own time such as before or after school. Once a unit is completed, assignments for that unit will no longer be accepted for credit. However, to avoid receiving an incomplete for the class, the assignment will still need to be completed.  All these practice problems and any other assignments for class will be recorded in our class notebook.

Lab Reports
Students will be required to complete at least 16 hands-on experiments throughout the course while using basic laboratory equipment  to support the learning objectives listed within the AP Chemistry Curriculum  Framework. The investigations will allow students to apply the seven science practices defined above.  Six of the 16 labs conducted will be in a guided-inquiry format.  Students will be required to keep a lab notebook where they document their work for each scientific investigation. The following is the format for all investigations in this lab notebook, each section should be clearly labeled as stated below.  This format is very similar to what you  would be required to keep in a college chemistry course. Organization and neatness need to be considered and all reports should be in 3rd person.

Part 1: Pre-lab (what is required to enter class on a lab day)
    Title: Should be descriptive of the lab to be conducted
    Lab Partners: Who students will be working with
    Challenge or Problem Given: State the challenge or problem for the investigation

    MSDS information: All hazards for all chemicals to be used as well as how to clean up if spilled should be included
    Diagrams or written description of procedure: If a procedure is given, students will just need to create a diagram of the setup to show they understand how the lab is going to be conducted. For guided inquiry labs when students create their own procedure a written description of the procedure would be necessary.
    Pre-lab questions: Any assigned pre-lab questions should be answered in complete sentences with question integrated in answer or if you include the assigned questions, answers can be in incomplete sentences.
    Data Table: Students will need to create any data tables or spaces necessary for data collection in the lab.


Part 2: Data Collection, Analysis and Conclusion (to be completed the night after a lab is conducted in class)
    Completed Data Table: All data was clearly recorded and units were included in table.
    Analysis of Data: Work for all necessary calculations would be included in this section as well as any assigned analysis questions. Calculations for precision of data/measurements using standard deviation or standard error should also be included here. Finally, when a graph of data is needed, it would be included in this section.
    Conclusion: State what was discovered through the investigation and explain how that discovery addressed the challenge or problem given. Discuss precision of measuring tools and of data collection. Explain how what was learned in the investigation could be used in the real world. Discuss how the investigation could be improved or extended in the future.

Quizzes and Tests
Short quizzes will be given during a unit throughout the semester as well to evaluate the students’ abilities to answer AP test-like questions individually.  These quizzes will be graded in class using scoring guides so students understand how they are graded. Tests will only be given after more than one chapter is completed and will include information for the multiple chapters like the AP Exam. All students wanting to improve their score on a test can come in and do test corrections with the teacher if they have completed all assignments from the unit as well as the test review prior to taking the test. Half credit will then be given for missed questions that are corrected. These corrections must be done within a week of when the test was taken.

Make up work from absences
To help students avoid getting behind, all make up work will be posted online and students need to take the responsibility for getting their own make up work from this website. Any work that can be done at home should be completed before returning to class. Work that was due on the day of an absence is due on the day you return. Appointments need to be made within one week to make up a missed lab investigation or test. Make ups can only be completed for excused absences. The student must make the arrangements for the make-up with the teacher as soon as they return. If a student feels they have special circumstances, write them down and have parents sign and turn them in for review to receive a due date extension.

I will be available every day before and after school for help and make up. Before school I will be available from 7:00 to 7:20 and after school I will be able until 4:00 Monday-Thursday unless I have a scheduled meeting. Please use these times efficiently!

Course Outline:

Unit 1:                                                                                             (7 weeks)

Big Ideas #1, 3
EK 1.A.1, 1.A.2, 1.A.3, 1.B.1, 1.D.1, 1.D.2, 1.E.1, 1.E.2, 3.A.1, 3.A.2, 3.B.1, 3.B.2, 3.B.3, 3.C.1


Chapter 1- Measurements/Calculations/Uncertainty/Scientific Method:                      (2 week)

Review types of measurements and units, dimensional analysis, problems solving techniques, accuracy and precision, uncertainty/significant figures, classification and properties of matter, and process for exploring science.

Lab Experiences:
Guided Inquiry- Introduction to Vernier Lab Pros and Logger Pro Lab


Chapter 2- Atoms, Molecules and Ions:                                                                (2 week)

Review early history of chemistry/atoms, law of conservation of mass, law of definite and multiple proportions, Dalton’s Atomic Theory, Avogadro’s hypothesis, early experiments to characterize atomic structure, atomic weight, molecular formulas, empirical formulas, formula writing, oxidation states, periodic table review, and ionic and simple organic nomenclature

Lab Experiences:
Guided Inquiry-Determination of the Percent Water in a Hydrate Compound


Chapter 3 and 4: Stoichiometry:                                                                       (3 weeks)

Balancing chemical equations, types of reactions, formula weights, moles conversion using balanced equations, percent composition, limiting reactants, percent yield, aqueous solutions, molarity, introduce precipitation/acid-base/oxidation-reduction reactions and solution stoichiometry (solubility rules)

Lab Experiences:
Determining the Empirical Formula of Copper Iodide by Direct Synthesis from the Elements

Investigation 7: Using the Principle that each Substance has Unique Properties to Purify a Mixture: An Experiment Applying Green Chemistry to Purification.



Unit 2:                                                                                              (3 weeks)

Big Ideas #1, 2
EK 1.B.2, 1.C.1, 1.C.2, 1.D.3, 2.C.1, 2.C.2, 2.C.3, 2.C.4, 2.D.1, 2.D.2, 2.D.4

Chapter 6 and 7- Atomic Structure and Periodicity in the Periodic Table:               (1.5 weeks)

Wave and particle nature of light, Atomic spectra, Bohr atom, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty principle, quantum numbers, atomic orbitals, electron configurations, development of periodic table, trends in the periodic table in terms of physical and chemical properties.

Lab Experiences:


Chapter 8 and 9- Chemical Bonding:                                                                 (1.5 weeks)

Lewis structures, ionic bonding, metallic bonding, character of bonds, polarity, electronegativity covalent models, octet rule and exceptions, resonance, VESPR model, molecular shapes, multiple bonds and hybridization  

Lab Experiences:
Guided Inquiry-Investigation 6: What's in that Bottle?

Investigation 5: How do you separate Molecules that are Attracted to One Another?



Unit 3:                                                                                             (3 weeks)

Big Idea #3, 5
EK 3.C.2, 5.A.1, 5.A.2, 5.B.1, 5.B.2, 5.B.3, 5.B.4, 5.C.1, 5.C.2, 5.E.1, 5.E.2, 5.E.3, 5.E.4, 5.E.5

Chapter 5 and 19- Thermochemistry:                                                                 (3 weeks)

Types and nature of energy, laws of thermodynamics, enthalpy, calorimetry, specific heat, Hess’s Law, thermochemical equations, heats of formation, bond energies, heats of reaction, Gibbs free energy equation, entropy, free energy, energy and work, exo and endothermic reactions, and state functions.

Lab Experiences:
Guided Inquiry-Investigation 12: Designing the Ideal Hand Warmer  

Determining the Enthalpy of a Chemical Reaction (Vernier AP Chem #13)



Unit 4:                                                                                             (4 weeks)

Big Idea #2, 5
EK 2.A.1, 2.A.2, 2.A.3, 2.B.1, 2.B.2, 2.B.3, 2.D.3, 5.D.1, 5.D.2, 5.D.3

Chapter 10- Gases:                                                                                       (2 weeks)

Characteristics of gases, pressure, Gas laws, Ideal gas law, van der Waal’s equation, Avogadro’s Law, STP, Dalton’s Law, Graham’s Law, Kinetic theory of gases.

Lab Experiences:
Exploring the Properties of Gases (Vernier AP Chem #30) 

Molar Volume of a Gas (Vernier AP Chem #5)


Chapter 11- Intermolecular Forces, Liquids and Solids:                                      (1 week)

Molecular comparison of phases, Dipole-dipole interactions, hydrogen bonding, London forces, liquid state, types of solids, network solids, vapor pressure, change of state, phase diagrams and specific heat.

Lab Experiences:


Chapter 13- Properties of Solutions:                                                                (1 week)

Electrolytes and nonelectrolytes, saturated solutions,  mole fraction, colligative properties, Raoult’s Law, Henry’s Law, freezing point depression, boiling point elevation, and osmotic pressure. 

Lab Experiences:
Investigation 1: What is the relationship between concentration of a solution and the amount of transmitted light through a solution?

Guided Inquiry Investigation: What is the molarity or concentration of blue#1 dye in a blue colored sports drink? 

Investigation  2: How Can color Be Used to Determine the Mass Percent of Copper in Brass?


Unit 5:                                                                                             (3 weeks)

Big Idea #4
EK  4.A.1, 4.A.2, 4.A.3, 4.B.1, 4.B.2, 4.B.3, 4.C.1, 4.C.2, 4.C.3, 4.D.1, 4.D.2

Chapter 14- Chemical Kinetics:                                                                         (3 weeks)

Reaction kinetics, rate laws, order of reactions, rate constant, catalysts, activation energy, and reaction mechanism 

Lab Experiences:
Guided Inquiry- Investigation 10: How Long Will That Marble Statue Last?

Guided Inquiry- Investigation 11: What is the Rate Law of the Fading of Crystal Violet Using Beer's law? 



Unit 6:                                                                                             (4 weeks)

Big Idea #1, 2, 3, 6
EK1.E.2, 3.B.2 6.A.1, 6.A.2, 6.A.3, 6.A.4, 6.B.1, 6.B.2, 6.C.1, 6.C.2, 6.C.3, 6.D.1


Chapter 15- Chemical Equilibrium:                                                                    (2 weeks)

Laws of mass action, equilibrium expressions, calculations of K and equilibrium concentrations, Le Chatelier’s principle, and how equilibrium is shifted by stresses  

Lab Experiences:
The Determination of an Equilibrium Constant (Vernier AP Chem #10 refer to supplemental CD)

Investigation 3: What Makes Hard Water Hard?

Investigation 13: Applying Le Chatelier's Principle 


Chapter 16 and 17- Acid and Bases:                                                              (2  weeks)

Acid and base properties, pH, Ka and Kb expressions titration, degree of ionization, Kw expressions, Arrhenius, Bronsted-lowry, Lewis acid theories, salt hydrolysis, indicators, equivalence points, buffers, and acid-base titrations

Lab Experiences:
Investigation 4: How Much Acid is in Fruit Juice and Soft Drinks?

Investigation 14: how Do the Structure and the Initial Concentration of an Acid and a Base Influence the pH of the Resultant Solution During a Titration?

Investigation 15: To What Extent Do Common Household Products Have Buffering Activity?

Investigation 16: the Preparation and Testing of an Effective Buffer: Ho Do Components Influence a Buffer's pH and Capacity?



Unit 7:                                                                                             (2 weeks)

Big Ideas #3
EK 3.C.3

Chapter 20- Electrochemistry:                                                                          (2 weeks)

Oxidation and reduction half-cells and equations, electrochemical (voltaic) cells, standard voltages, standard voltages from a table, Nernst equation, Faraday’s laws, writing redox equations and balancing equations in acid/base solutions

Lab Experiences:
Investigation 8: How Can We Determine the Actual Percentage of H2O2 in a Drugstore bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide?

Electrochemistry Investigation


AP Exam Review

(one hour after school once a week starting 2nd semester and then every day the week before the AP Exam)


Optional Units:

Chapter 25- Organic Chemistry:                                                               (after AP Exam)

Naming functional groups such as alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, basic characteristics of functional groups, esterification reaction, polymerization reactions, petrochemical industry 

Lab Experiences:
Molecular Gastronomy-Chemistry of Cooking


Chapter 21- Nuclear Chemistry:                                                               (after AP Exam)

Nuclear stability and radioactive decay, Kinetics of radioactive decay, nuclear transformations, detection and uses of radioactivity, thermodynamic stability of the nucleus, nuclear fission and fusion, and effects of radiation.

Lab Experiences:
Alpha, Beta and Gamma (Vernier AP Chem #27)

Radiation Shielding (Vernier AP Chem #28)

Determining the Half-Life of an Isotope (Vernier AP Chem #33)


Classroom Expectations:
yourselves, each other, the school and all its contents, and Mrs. Berwick. Take Responsibility for yourself and your actions. J

We will be creating a social contract as a class to discuss how we each want to be treated, so that we agree on classroom standards.

The Student Handbook rules will also be enforced in our class as well as throughout the school so make sure you understand them fully.

If I see or hear food or drink, you will be asked to put them away.

Cell phone and other electronic device policy:
Now that you each have a chromebook for the school year, there should be no reason to use your cell phone in class. If you have any missing assignments, I will ask you to put your cell phone or other electronic device in the cell phone box in the front of the room as you walk in so they will not distract you from getting your missing assignments completed. If you have a valid reason to use these items in class other than stated, please ask before using them.

If any science items are broken or damaged by students, a fine will be assessed to that student to replace the items.

Discipline Procedures:
--Removal to the hallway until an appropriate time for teacher to leave to discuss behavior, if an understanding is made; student can return to class but will have to get makeup work from classmates. Prohibited items will be confiscated for the rest of the period.
--Removal from class, a phone call home to discuss situation, and letter to take responsibility for return. Prohibited items will be confiscated and turned into front office to be picked up by parents.
-- Removal from class, a phone call home to discuss situation again, and a meeting with parents, Mrs. Berwick and a counselor.
--Referral to administrator

* * * Depending on severity of violation, actions may not occur in order

I am looking forward to a great year with you and hope that we don't have to use the discipline procedures because you all will be so well behaved now that you are in high school.

Mrs. Berwick