Accelerated Chemistry (Honors)
Placement and Prerequisites
Honors Chemistry is for Upper School students who are taking Algebra II concurrently or have already taken Algebra II. Students who have shown a mastery of material from Algebra I could also be successful in this course. The course utilizes mathematical skills such as algebraic manipulations of equations; use of ratios and proportions, exponential functions, and logarithms; dimensional analysis; and significant figures. Students will need to have both significant experience in applying math skills to scientific problems and a solid grasp of dimensional analysis. Students must also be able to read, interpret, and analyze a sophisticated text and take notes from the text and lectures. Students’ oral and written communication must be both mature and grammatically correct. If assistance is required to determine a student’s qualifications, Dr. Clancy will provide appropriate materials and/or meet with the student and his parents to determine the best placement. Finally, students must have the maturity to study regularly and keep pace with the course.
Content and Approach
The course text, Chemistry for Accelerated Students by John D. Mays, contains thirteen modules covering topics ranging from atomic structure and chemical bonds to kinetics and redox reactions. Please see the Course Map in the syllabus for a complete list of topics. Scientific calculations and the history of atomic theory will also be reviewed. This course employs a mastery approach which will provide students with a solid grasp of the foundational concepts of chemistry and the skills to apply these concepts quantitatively. This solid groundwork will provide students with the tools and knowledge to extend and expand their education in other scientific fields, including biology, physics, and advanced chemistry. Regular review of important standard problem types throughout the course will help keep concepts relevant and fresh, as well as deepen the students’ understanding of the scientific and mathematical principles involved. Students are expected to keep up with a daily workload which may include reading, notetaking, homework, quizzes and tests, class attendance and participation, and review of previous material.
A good scientist must be able to design and conduct experiments, interpret results, and clearly and precisely communicate his findings. Honors Chemistry provides a robust and high-quality laboratory component which includes experiments that use laboratory-grade materials. Experiments will be provided by the laboratory text Chemistry Experiments for High School at Home. Guidelines for writing lab reports will be provided by The Student Lab Report Handbook and templates produced by Dr. Clancy. Supplies can be found at Home Science Tools under the name “Economy Lab Kit for use with Novare General Chemistry”. Families can of course provide supplies from their own previously acquired equipment or from other sources, but it is crucial that all materials necessary for the experiments are acquired in a timely fashion and that students are prepared in advance of the days on which the experiments are performed.
NOTE: Parents will be expected to be present during laboratory exercises to ensure the safety of their student. This will include the proper handling of chemicals and waste. Parents ay also assist students in performing the lab, but students should be the primary experimentalists. Students and parents must read the lab procedure and other directions prior to the scheduled lab performance, and it is best if they do this together. Supplies and equipment must be acquired and set up prior to the start of the class when experiments are conducted during class time.
Evaluation and Grading
Students’ grades will be based on cumulative quizzes, chapter tests, class participation, homework completion, and written laboratory reports.
For each skill instructors have determined whether it is a prerequisite skill or a skill to be developed throughout the course. For lower school, instructors indicate where parent support is expected.
- With Parent Support: Skills that most lower school students will need help with.
- Developing: Skills that the instructor will help develop and emphasize throughout the year.
- Mastered: Prerequisite skills that the instructor is expecting students to possess.
- Be able to manage Canvas assignments and submissions (view assignments, check for teacher messages, submit homework as pdf file, submit revisions if necessary, set Canvas notifications for the class, view class notifications when posted, etc.).
- Be able to set notifications settings to alert the student of class announcements, homework assignments, due dates, instructor comments made on assignments, instructor comments made on individual student submissions, instructor comments made on graded items, etc.
- Be able to review notifications ongoing throughout the year. These notifications may include class announcements, homework assignments, due dates, instructor comments made on assignments, instructor comments made on individual student submissions, instructor comments made on graded items, etc.
- Be able to respectfully and charitably engage with other students and the instructor on Canvas discussion boards.
- Be able to respectfully, charitably, and formally engage with instructor through private Canvas messaging.
- Be responsible for reviewing teacher feedback, suggestions and comments about student work and employing that feedback as necessary.
- Be able to hand-write answers in complete sentences.
- Be able to write sentences with basic sentence syntax (i.e. capitalization of first word in a sentence, punctuation at the end of each sentence, space between sentences, capitalization of proper nouns, each sentence having a subject and predicate, etc.).
- Be able to spell at grade level and employ course vocabulary cumulatively throughout the course.
- Be able to employ the feedback of the instructor into future edits and submissions of the assignment.
- Be able to self-edit written submissions for grammar and spelling mistakes.
- Be able to build and communicate in writing logical, well-reasoned arguments (i.e., true premises, valid arguments, sound conclusions).
- Be able to synthesize material from readings, lectures, and other sources and communicate the information and concepts in well-organized written form
- Be able to read material independently and identify the information which might be relevant to course discussions and objectives (even if the student doesn’t fully understand all of what’s being read).
- Be able to mark, underline or highlight important words, definitions or concepts within a text being read both while reading independently and reading corporately as a class.
- Be able to identify key terms in a passage and follow the author’s argument.
- Be able to read material independently and identify questions which require clarification or further explanation from the instructor.
- Be able to type short answers in complete sentences.
- Be able to take notes during class.
- Be prepared to thoughtfully answer questions when called on in a group setting during class.
- Be prepared to volunteer thoughtful comments, answers, and ideas in a group setting, during class.
- Be prepared to generate thoughtful questions to enhance the class discussion, to identify areas needing clarification, and to make valuable connections with other course content.
- Be able to follow class discussions and seminar conversations and to record notes without the instructor identifying specifics.
- Be prepared to perform calculations in class, to respond to questions about the calculations.
- Be prepared to follow calculations and problem solving performed by others in class and to offer comments and questions.
- Be responsible to study at home for quizzes, tests, and other assessments.
- Understand the difference between assignments given by an instructor and the necessary and independently initiated need for private study of material.
- Be able to schedule and manage multiple projects from multiple instructors and courses.
- Be able to schedule time outside of class to complete independent review of materials.
- Be able to determine the best places and ways to study at home (i.e., quiet, undistracted, utilizing various methods of review (auditory, written, visual, practice tests, flashcards, etc.).
- Understand that arriving at the correct answer is not the goal of mathematics review and practice, but rather understand that consistent application of the correct processes are the goals of review and practice.
- Be able to deductively apply content and previously learned mathematics skills and processes to the understanding of newly introduced content.
- Chemistry for Accelerated Students by John Mays, 2nd Edition, Novare Science and Math 2018.
• Chemistry Experiments for High School at Home, Christina H. Swan and John D. Mays, Novare Science and Math, 2019.
• The Student Lab Report Handbook: A Guide to Content, Style, and Formatting for Effective Science Lab Reports, 2nd edition, John D. Mays. Novare Science and Math. 2014.
• Solutions Manual to Chemistry for Accelerated Students, John D. Mays. This is a companion answer key to the problems in the text allowing students to check their work. It is not necessary to purchase the complete solutions manual (teacher only).
• Economy Lab Kit for Use with Novare General Chemistry, Home Science Tools. Please note that it may be worthwhile to determine whether the student already has access to the items in this kit. There is an option to buy the items individually rather than buying the whole kit.
• Household Items for labs. Possible items include sand, aluminum foil, soda can, ethyl or isopropyl alcohol (>90%), baking soda, long-tipped butane lighter, distilled water, straight pin, and antacids.
• Equipment such as a tablet with stylus or Wacom Intuos to allow the student to share writing done by the student with a stylus, not a mouse. Please note that class participation is a very effective way for students to learn and master the material and that it will also determine 15% of students’ grades.• Scientific calculator. The students should not use calculators on their computer
during class, as using a mouse to operate a desktop calculator is cumbersome and slow.
• Composition book to be used as a lab book. The pages should not be removable and ideally should be graph paper.
• Spiral notebook or loose-leaf notebook paper, 3-ring binder, index cards, and other similar supplies that would aid the individual student in studying and organizing the course material.
Chris Clancy earned her PhD in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After working as a postdoctoral researcher at Duke University and the University of Chicago, she decided to leave academia and stay home with her first born son. She and her husband homeschool their four children. After reading Dorothy Sayers’ “The Lost Tools of Learning”, she was inspired to teach her children in the classical style of learning.
Chris has taught high school Biology, Chemistry, and Physics to both her own children and other homeschoolers at a Catholic homeschool coop which she and her husband helped found. She is equally enthusiastic about history and literature, and is always willing to play a board game, cribbage, or backgammon. email@example.com
Computer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.
High-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.
Webcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer. Webcam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)
Headset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm
Zoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. To download Zoom:
- Visit zoom.us/download.
- Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
- Open and run the installer on your computer.
- In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.
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This registration will be finalized when the student's placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.