This is a first-year chemistry class. As such, it has two goals. Of course, you will learn all the skills and concepts that are outlined in the Texas Science TEKS. These have been recently streamlined to make them easier to cover in the time needed for a regular high school chem class.
But our primary objective is to prepare you for AP chemistry. That college level chem course is an entry portal for just about all college science, engineering and medical programs. Coming into pre-AP chemistry, you need to be at least open to taking AP chem next year.
What is pre-AP chem going to be like? It’s a lab-based course. Investigations are critical to learning chemistry well You are going to spend as much as four of every ten days preparing for lab, working in the lab, or analyzing your lab results.
A big part of that is learning the mathematics of chemistry. That will require you to focus on your problem-solving skills. Don’t worry if those skills aren’t completely developed. We’ll help you grow in your ability to solve problems. We get started on that in the very first weeks of the class.
Part of those skills involves taking your lab data and expressing them in tables and graphs. You can then turn your data into equations that help you make predictions of further results. You will use a bound, quadrille notebook for this.
As you solve problems, you will get more and more comfortable using the dimensional units of chemistry–grams, liters, Celsius and Kelvin degrees, and moles. You will learn compound units of density and the concentration of solutions.
You will find integrated technology a big help as you measure, relate data, and make graphs. The Vernier probes gather and upload data directly into your lab computer, and aid you in analysis and equation-making.
Very soon after you begin class, you will review the rules of safety in the lab, so that nobody is ever in any danger from your work in the lab. You will learn about the MSDS papers, chemical showers, eyewash fountains and fire safety.
On the first day of school, take home the district safety contract. Sign it, have your parent or guardian sign it, and return it before the end of the first week.
All of our lectures, labs, and worksheets are available through the Edmodo application. Immediately, you must join both the general Edmodo group and the Cunningham-Edmodo group. I will give you the Edmodo codes to join. Be sure to read the syllabus for your class, and write down everything your teacher says about how he or she prefers to communicate with you and your parents.
Chemistry is interesting and even fun. It can be the beginning of a rewarding career in STEM if you want it to. Even if you don’t, chemistry will expand your understanding of science and the world, and help you to become a competent citizen and informed consumer. Welcome and have an awesome year.