Syllabus as web page

General Chemistry I, NSC158                                             Fall 2013

 

Instructor     Todd Smith, Sci. 110

Location        Science 117A

Days/Time    MWF 9:30-10:20

Text                Principles of general chemistry, 2e, by M. Silberberg

 

Course description

            Chemistry has a rich history, including ancient theories on the nature of matter and recipes for converting lead into gold. Modern research and applications are equally exciting, and include topics such as creating more efficient solar collectors and the reactions of natural and human-made chemicals in the environment. We will explore these topics as we learn about atomic structure and the periodic table, reaction stoichiometry, chemical bonds, molecular structure, and other concepts central to modern chemistry. Many of these topics are related to current health and environmental issues. For example, discussions of pH and reduction-oxidation reactions include research on the natural chemistry of surface waters and the effects of acid rain on aquatic organisms.

 

 

Course goals

This course will help students:

  • Understand that the study of chemistry allows us to predict the physical and chemical properties of atoms & molecules
  • Demonstrate the connection between the properties of atoms and the macroscopic world we experience in our daily lives
  • Illustrate that science is a process
  • Hone their writing and problem-solving skills, develop their ability to work collaboratively, and increase their facility with analytical software

 

Grading policy

            I expect students to attend all lectures and to complete all reading assignments. There will be two 1-hour exams during class (100 pts each), weekly homework assignments, a research paper (100 pts), and a final exam (100 pts).   The grade received in the course will be the ratio of points earned over points possible: 90% & above = A, 80-89% = B, 70-79% = C, 60-69% = D. Diligent and conscientious participation in class and on assignments will boost borderline grades to the higher grade.

If extenuating circumstances will prevent you from taking an exam notify me as soon as possible so that we can make alternative arrangements for administering the exam.

 

Paper assignment – final papers are due Monday, 11/18/13

            The topic for your paper is the emerging science of nanotechnology, and your challenge is to decide whether or not it’s a good idea for people to continue to pursue this avenue of research. Nanotechnology is the ability of humans to create specific, tiny particles and intricate surfaces by the in vivo manipulation of matter at the atomic scale. This technology has scientists and engineers excited about possible applications to everything from human medicine to art conservation. Two substances in particular have recently generated a lot of interest:  carbon nanotubes and graphene. However, many scientists and health advocates are also concerned about the negative effects of nanotechnology on biological systems. Many products of nanotechnology do not occur naturally. In some cases these tiny new particles are known to be toxic to living systems. To repeat: your challenge is to decide whether or not it’s a good idea for people to continue to pursue this research on carbon nanotubes and graphene.

You must take a clear position on this idea in your paper and defend that position based on your review of recent literature on the topic:  either you support develop of nano-products based on carbon nanotubes and graphene and think it’s safe, or you argue that it’s unsafe and a bad idea. In your paper you must cite at least two secondary sources (i.e., textbooks) from the Rice-Aron Library, and at least two articles from peer-reviewed scientific journals that you used to develop your argument for or against this aspect of nanotechnology.

            The citation format you should use is that of the Council of Science Editors, as described at: http://library.osu.edu/help/research-strategies/cite-references/cse/ .

 

 

            Assignment                                                                    due dates

    • Topic, research questions & 3 sources                            9/25, in class
    • Paper outline or concept map, with argument              10/18, in class
    • Final paper                                                                            11/18, in class

 

Co-requisite

            General Chemistry I Laboratory, NSC444

 

Policy on Academic Integrity

Students must understand Marlboro College’s Policy on Academic Integrity. This policy defines plagiarism and describes consequences for students who commit plagiarism and is described in detail in the Marlboro College Handbook.

            The Marlboro College library hosts several resources for students on the proper use and citation of sources, including a Library Guide called “Creating Citations,” which also contains a link to Handling Sources: a Guide for Marlboro College Writers.  These are excellent resources and students should take some time to explore them.

 

Course schedule – an approximate guide to the semester

 

Week of

Week

Topic

Chapter

9/2

0

Intro class;

Central themes in chemistry;

science is a process

1

9/9

1

The components of matter; mass laws & Dalton’s atomic theory

1 & 2

 

 

Stoichiometry & mole-to-mass conversions

3

9/16

2

An introduction to chemical reactions;
Wednesday - Getting ready to write: librarians are analytical

4

9/23

3

Discovering the gas laws;

Paper topic, research questions & 3 sources due Wednesday 9/25

5

9/30

4

Kinetic molecular theory (KMT)

5

10/7

5

Exam 1 – Monday 10/7

Thermochemistry  & the nature of heat

6

10/14

6

Calorimetry;

Discuss research papers on Wednesday;

Paper outlines & arguments due Friday 10/18

6

10/21

7

Hendricks Days – no classes Mon & Tues

 

 

 

Catch-up / Structure of the atom

7

10/28

8

Structure of the atom, continued

7

11/4

9

Electron configurations – building-up atoms

8

11/11

10

Models of chemical bonding

9

11/18

11

Exam 2 – Monday 11/18

The shapes of molecules

10

11/25

12

Research papers due Monday 11/25

10

 

 

Thanksgiving break - no class on Friday

 

12/2

13

Two theories of covalent bonding

11

12/9

14

Covalent bonding, continued

11

12/12 & 13

 

Reading Days

 

12/13

 

Final exam – take-home on Friday, 12/13

 

Last modified: Tuesday, November 5, 2013, 8:45 PM