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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.

Experimental Component
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.

Image of text book for Accelerated Chemistry (Honors)

Required Materials:
Books and supplies are not included in the purchase of the course.

  • 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.

Paul Laywell has four decades of teaching experience and has taught everything from seventh-grade Earth science to Advanced Placement Biology and Chemistry. After teaching in the public schools for sixteen-years, he transitioned to Christian, classical schools and, for the past eighteen years, has served as the science department head at Covenant Christian Academy in Colleyville, Texas where he also teaches physics and Advanced Placement Chemistry.

Paul endeavors to integrate a robust science curriculum with the history, philosophy and theology befitting a classical curriculum. Lessons often include attention-grabbing demonstrations and are routinely spiced with humor.

In addition to his secondary teaching positions, Paul has also taught in an adjunct capacity at both Tarrant County College and Dallas Baptist University.

Red checkmarkComputer: 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.

Red checkmarkHigh-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.

Red checkmarkWebcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer. Webcam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)

Red checkmarkHeadset: 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

Red checkmarkZoom: 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. unnamed-e1455142229376 To download Zoom:

  1. Visit
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.

Red checkmarkScanner: In this class, students frequently submit homework assignments by scanning pages from their workbooks. Students and/or their parents should have easy access to a scanner and the ability to use it.


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