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Unit 4: Atomic and Molecular Models

Our last unit of the First Semester pertains to Models for understanding atoms and molecules. The unit begins with an exploration of quantum models of the atom and their value in explaining chemical and physical properties. The second half of the unit will look at the topic of bonding and make an effort to explain why ionic and molecular compounds form with their specific ratio of atoms.

Science Course Selection for 2017-18 School Year

During the Winter break, I will be filling out a form for each student that gets sent to your guidance counselor that indicates what science course you prefer to take next year. It is only a recommendation; it does not lock you into the course. You will need to let me know what course you are interested in before Winter Break begins. I'd like to know your decision by Thursday, December 20. You will submit a sheet of paper with your decision.

I'm Not Your Guidance Counselor, But ...

Hey Students! I'm not your guidance counselor, but when it comes to recommending a science course for your next two years of school at GBS, I might know a thing or two that your counselor doesn't. For one, I know you're all STEM kids and I know that means that you like science and other technical classes. I'd like to recommend that thought be given to the following possibilities for your next year's schedule:

STEM Biology paired with Digital Electronics (PLTW)

AP Biology (as an alternative to above and possibly even concurrent with any of the three below)

Honors Astronomy (1 semester awesome course, easily done with either of the above and any of the below. Do this one for Phun!)

AP Environmental Lab Science - a very do-able junior or senior year option

AP Chemistry - might be best done as a junior since it's one year immediately after having had your Honors Chemistry

AP Physics - a great senior year option (requires Calculus course concurrently or previously)

Engineering Design and Development (EDD) ... the last course in the PLTW sequence - a senior year option; must continue in PLTW course work to qualify for this option during your senior year.

If you opt out of the STEM Biology and Digital Electronics offering, then I'd recommend AP Chemistry your Junior year followed by AP Biology and/or AP Physics your Senior Year.

Many SLC-ers who opted out of the program after their Sophomore year choose Honors Biology ... a recognize freshman-level course. It is a great course ... for a FRESHMAN. You will be a Junior. Every college in the nation knows this. How do you think the colleges that they apply to this coming year will view such a decision? #JustSaying So I repeat: I do not recommend Honors Biology (and I doubt your colleges will be impressed by such a selection).

Cool Kids do ScienceFinally, you are all talented students and true STEM-mers. While many of you undoubtedly have great talent in other academic domains, some of you know that a science-engineering-math career is in your future. Don't be bashful if you wish to overdose on our science and engineering options. Some counselors might warn you against this, arguing that you will become a little unbalanced for doing so and could grow a couple of horns in the middle of your forehead. Those are words of a non-science-minded guidance counselor. The words of your science teacher are this: In 29 years of teaching, I've never seen a science-minded student taking a bunch of science courses that they love begin to grow alien body parts; rather, I've only seen very happy and fulfilled science students who get to do the things they love doing. You don't need anyone's permission to enroll in a lot of science courses. If it's your thing, then go for it!

Soap Project

Our first semester science-engineering project will be kicked off on Tuesday, December 12. The project involves soap making. We will make, modify, improve, and evaluate a soap. On the science side, it will be an exercise in variable control and chemical reactions. On the engineering side, there will be some 3D printing of a soap mold and the use of a motor to mix the reactants. And finally, the project will involve the usual cycle of make-modify-test-modify-test that is characteristic of both the chemical engineering profession and any pursuit of engineering.

You will need to form project teams of three students. 

Getting Down and Dirty with Soap Research

Since we are starting up our soap project, it's time to get down and dirty with a little bit of soap research. You should begin with how soap is made. And keep your eyes on the look out for information about fats - one of the key ingredients in soap. You will want to know what are good fats that can be used to make soap. We will start with the dirt-cheap Lard on the first day of the project. On lab Day #2, you will have to choose a different fat - cocoa butter, coconut oil, palm oil, etc. And finally on Day #3 you will be adding coloring and fragrances; so be on the hunt for information about that.

The links below are good starting points for your research:

The Chemistry Behind Soap Making

Let's Make Some Soap

How is Soap Made? One Word: Saponification

Soaps and Detergents: Chemistry

Chemistry Explained: Soap

The End is Near

End is nearOur Unit 4 Test has been rescheduled to Monday, December 18. The test will cover all topics in Chapters 11 and 12. That's a lot of material.

An optional Review/Practice webassign has been posted and will prove to be an excellent review for the test. The questions have been taken from past assignments. A well-docmented packet is also a very good review tool.

The test will include approximately 25 Mulitple Choice Questions and five long-answer problems (diagramming/explaining). You will be allowed 60 minutes; extra time is not alloted.

You will be provided a Periodic Table, a table of electronegativity values, and a list of all the possible names for electron pair geometry and molecular geometry.

PhET Simulations

The link is below:

Molecular Shape

Guide to Polarity

The document that was used as a guide to determining the overall polarity of a molecule is available online:

View Guide to Polarity.

Lab AMM4 - Molecular Geometry and Polarity

Lab AMM4 will utilize PhET's Molecular Shape Simulation and be completed online using a Google Doc. The Google doc can be found on Google Classroom and will be handed in on Google Classroom. The lab is a partner lab with one write-up per twosome. No three-somes allowed. The due date is on December 20 at 8 AM

Quiz Key

View the Quiz Key from the most recent Unit 4 Quiz.

Mr. H's Little Secret

Pssss.  Hey bud! I have a secret to share. Now that you know how to calculate the molar mass, here's a little cheat you should be permitted to use. It's called a Molar Mass Calculator and you will find several by following the links below. You type in the formula and it calculates the molar mass.

WebQC Chemical Portal (one of my favorites)

EndMemo (allows formula or name entry)

Environmental Chemistry (scroll to bottom)

Molecular Weight Calculator by Lenntech

or Google, e.g. molar mass Al2(SO4)3

FREE: A Chemistry Study Tip

Stretching out your studies over a lengthy period of time so that there are many "visits" of the material is far better than lengthier, less-frequent sessions of intense studies. So what's this have to do with Chemistry class? I'm going to tell you:

A little Chemistry each day helps. Your homework usually includes two WebAssigns - one is a "looking ahead" WebAssign in which you read about something that is coming up next. The other is a "looking behind" WebAssign in which you practice using something that we just learned in class. So why not do the "Looking behind" WebAssign on the evening of the Blue day - the day you were presented with the material. And then do the "Looking ahead" WebAssign on the evening of the Gold day - the evening just prior to when we cover the material the next morning. Hopefully that makes sense ... and it gives you a little Chemistry every day.  =SIGH=

    Online Homework


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Today in Class

>> Thursday, December 14 <<

Focus Question(s):
  • What courses should I be taking next year (and the years to come)?
  • What is the soap project all about?
  • How do you determine the overall polarity of a molecule?

  • Discuss Chapter 12.8-10 Reading Guide (pp. 39-40)
  • Quick practice w/Overall Polarity (pp. 36-38)
  • Discuss Course Recommendations for 2018-19
  • Discuss Group Report for Soap Project
  • Work on Lab AMM4

  • Prepare for Unit 4 test
  • Lab AMM4 (due at 8 AM on 12/20)

Next Time in Class

>> Monday, December 18 <<

We will complete our discussion of course recommendations for 2018-19 school year. We will take the Unit 4 Test.

Periodic Tables

Are you in need of a periodic table?  Try one of the following websites:

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