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Useful reference

Learning standards:

The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has adopted revised science standards. They are based on the Next Generation Science Standards, which itself is based on A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (2012), from the National Research Council of the National Academies.

High school students are expected to have learned certain math skills by the end of grade 8; they will use these math skills in this course. Additional math skills are introduced throughout the year.

Also see Benchmarks: American Association for the Advancement of Science.  The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is an American, non-profit organization promoting cooperation among scientists, defending scientific freedom, and supporting education and outreach for the betterment of all humanity.  Their pioneering studies – Science for All Americans, and Benchmarks – have been used to reform science education, including the National Research Council’s A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2012) and the Next Generation Science Standards.

Table of contents

Modern Chemistry (2006) Raymond Davis et al. Holt McDougal


1: Matter and Change (5)
2: Measurements and Calculations (33)
3: Atoms: The Building Blocks of Matter (16)
4: Arrangement of Electrons in Atoms (22)
5: The Periodic Law (24)
6: Chemical Bonding (33)
7: Chemical Formulas and Chemical Compounds (41)
8: Chemical Equations and Reactions (33)
9: Stoichiometry (30)
10: States of Matter (9)
11: Gases (15)
12: Solutions (13)
13: Ions in Aqueous Solutions and Colligative Properties (3)
14: Acids and Bases
15: Acid-Base Titrations
16: Reaction Energy
17: Reaction Kinetics (1)
18: Chemical Equilibrium
19: Oxidation-Reduction Reactions
20: Electrochemistry
21: Nuclear Chemistry
22: Organic Chemistry
23: Biological Chemistry

Cell phone chemistry

Chemistry is everywhere – even in your phones

From C|Net news: “Digging for rare earths: The mines where iPhones are born. How are these unusual minerals extracted from the ground and why is that process an environmental risk? CNET’s Jay Greene explains.” Tech Industry, September 26, 2012.

Digging for rare earths: The mines where iPhones are born

Pay dirt: Why rare-earth metals matter to tech (FAQ) It was once an obscure topic only for geologists. But China’s control over rare earth elements used in green- and high-tech equipment is causing alarm as the nation cuts exports.

Pay dirt: Why rare-earth metals matter to tech

Here is the full PDf handout:  Periodic table of iPhones (Full PDF handout)


Survival Skills for a Successful Exploration of Chemistry

Pitfalls of learning chemistry

There’s math in chemistry. Allow me to tell a story that could make math more meaningful to you.

“Parlez vous la chimie? Do you speak chemistry? Instead of teaching a set of nomenclature rules, which is the normal approach, I’d like to approach your learning of chemistry nomenclature in a way similar to learning a foreign language.”


Some Creative Commons online Chemistry textbooks are here


ACS Middle School Chemistry Lessons

From middleschoolchemistry.com, contact staff at ACS.
Copyright 2015 American Chemical Society


From the American Chemical Society:

Everything you hear, see, smell, taste, and touch involves chemistry and chemicals (matter). And hearing, seeing, tasting, and touching all involve intricate series of chemical reactions and interactions in your body. With such an enormous range of topics, it is essential to know about chemistry at some level to understand the world around us.

In more formal terms chemistry is the study of matter and the changes it can undergo. Chemists sometimes refer to matter as ‘stuff’, and indeed so it is. Matter is anything that has mass and occupies space. Which is to say, anything you can touch or hold.

Common usage might have us believe that ‘chemicals’ are just those substances in laboratories or something that is not a natural substance. Far from it – everything is made of chemicals.

Although there are countless types of matter all around us, this complexity is composed of various combinations of some 100 chemical elements. The names of some of these elements will be familiar to almost everyone. Elements such as hydrogen, chlorine, silver, and copper are part of our everyday knowledge. Far fewer people have heard of selenium or rubidium or hassium.

Nevertheless, all matter is composed of various combinations of these basic elements. The wonder of chemistry is that when these basic particles are combined, they make something new and unique.

Consider the element sodium. It is a soft, silvery metal. It reacts violently with water, giving off hydrogen gas and enough heat to make the hydrogen explode. Nasty ‘stuff’. Also consider chlorine, a green gas when at room temperature. It is very caustic and choking, and is nasty enough that it was used as a horrible chemical gas weapon in the last century.

So what kind of horrible mess is produced when sodium and chlorine are combined? Nothing more than sodium chloride, common table salt. Table salt does not explode in water or choke us; rather, it is a common additive for foods we eat everyday.

And so it is with chemistry, understanding the basic properties of matter and learning how to predict and explain how they change when they react to form new substances is what chemistry and chemists are all about.


Note: There are presentation (“PowerPoints”) on this website. Many people think that ‘PowerPoint’ is a type of file you need Microsoft Office to open. This idea locks people into buying a MS Office subscription for $100/year. However, this is not so – PowerPoint is just a presentation format, and you can make, view and edit presentations interchangeably with any of the programs notes below, most of which are free.

OpenOffice – Impress


LibreOffice – Impress


GoogleDocs – Slides


Corel WordPerfect – Presentations


MS Office – PowerPoint



Molecular Workbench: Apps and animations

Physics: Mechanics, Fluid Mechanics and Dynamics, Electromagnetism, Quantum
Chemistry: Thermodynamics, States of Matter, Chemical bonds, Water and solution, Reactions, Biology, Biotechnology, Nanotechnology,



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