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Chemistry 121: Exam on Tuesday

On Tuesday you will have your first exam. Here is a checklist of problems and concepts you will need to know:

Be able to:

  • count significant figures in a number
  • perform addition/subtraction and multiplication/division and present the answer with the correct significant figures
  • explain the difference between precision and accuracy
  • convert numbers from decimal form to scientific notation and vice versa
  • carry out metric conversions with the units of milli, kilo, and centi
  • carry out metric to English conversions given the correct conversion factors
  • solve density problems
  • explain the difference between kinetic and potential energy and give examples
  • give the symbols and names of the most common elements (highlighted in yellow on your periodic table)
  • classify matter as gas, liquid, solid, and colloid and give examples
  • name the types of phase transitions: melting, condensing, evaporating, etc.
  • calculate heat, mass, change in temperature or specific heat using the heat equation
  • calculate an unknown specific heat using the heat transfer equation
  • explain the terms of the scientific method: hypothesis, law, theory, qualitative and quantitative data, observation

What will be given to you:

I will print the heat transfer equations on the exam. I will also give you any English – Metric conversion factors. I will remind you that the density of water is 1.00 gram per milliliter and that the specific heat of water is 1.00 calorie or 4.184 joules per gram-degree. I will also give you a copy of the periodic table with the symbols but no names printed on it.


Email me if you have any questions…

Chemistry 121: Coming up next…

Thursday will be a special day. We will have our elements party. Come with 35 copies of a business card about the element you chose. Here is a video of the elements party of a previous class. Look at the samples to get some ideas…

Also we will have a quiz on density. Be sure you can find the mass, volume and density given two of these three quantities. Also be sure you understand that mass can be measured by difference (subtract out the mass of the container) and that volume can be determined by the displacement of water (final water level – initial water level). Know that gas densities are expressed in grams per liter, liquids in grams per mL and solids in grams per cubic centimeter. Also know that 1 cubic centimeter (1cc or 1 cm3) = 1 mL.

See you on Thursday!!

Chemistry 121: Quiz on Thursday!!

Study definitions of scientific method, states of matter, classification of matter (see powerpoints). Know how to count significant figures, convert to scientific notation, round, present answers with correct significant figures after adding/subtracting and multiplying/dividing numbers.

Chemistry 121: Reminders for Tuesday Sept. 3rd

Please remember to bring your laboratory notebook!! Also you need to have the laboratories for September 3rd already printed. Keep checking the syllabus to know what each class day will require. We will have our first quiz on Thursday and it will cover material in Chapter One and Chapter Two. You should be reading the textbook. Also remember to dress appropriately for laboratory – no sandals, no shorts, minimize bare skin. This is for YOUR safety. Enjoy the holiday. See you soon!

Chemistry 121: Small Group Study Session

There will be a small group study session for Chemistry 121 held regularly on Wednesday in my office – Room 3824 - from 12 to 2. Mark Carter will conduct the session.

Chemistry 121: First Day Homework


1. Bring a laboratory notebook and a calculator to every class. The notebook should be left blank until we discuss how to set it up. For more information visit:

2. Fill out the student interview and email it to

3. Sign up for website log in section

4. Read “Introduction to the Scientific Method” by Frank Wolfs and answer the questions.

5. Begin to learn the names and structures of the polyatomic ions. Don’t wait until this comes up in class – start now to have enough time!!

Chemistry: Scientists Capture First Images of Molecules…

This article is highly recommended for reading!


Chemistry: Ten Important Reactions

I’ve made a list of ten reactions I would like all my students to know:-)

Chem 121: Periodic Table of the Elements

The minimum number of elements you should know by name are highlighted in this version of the periodic table:

Of course, the more elements you know by name the better.

Chemistry: An Evening of Demonstrations

Here are the time-marks for each demonstration

Sulfur Hexafluoride – 3:20
Burning Book – 5:30
Peroxyacetone – 7:40
Milk of Magnesia – 11:50
Leaf Blower Wind Tunnel – 18:30
Rainbow in a Tube – 32:08
CO2 Trough – 36:30
Hexane Ramp – 40:00
Chemiluminescent Fountain – 41:50
Glowing in a Glass – 44:45
Pumpkin Pyro Technics – 46:15
Synchronizing Metronomes – 55:42
Smoke Rings – 59:33
Mixing De-Mixing – 1:02:50
Old Nassau – 1:07:20
Whoosh Bottle – 1:21:20  (payoff 1:25:00)

Chem 121: Homework

Homework has been posted for Chapters 5, 9, and 10. Sorry for the delay.

Chem 121: Study Group Session Monday 1:30 PM Room 3939

I will hold a small group study session for Chemistry 121 students in room 3939 beginning at 1:30 and lasting for a couple of hours. This will help students prepare for the exam on Tuesday.

Chem 121: Chocolate Mousse and Elemental Business Cards

We’ve been learning about colloid: one phase of matter dispersed in another. This classification of matter includes foams, slurries, smoke, jello, clay, homogenized milk, and many other substances. What better way to learn than to make a delicious colloid – chocolate mouse – a dispersion of chocolate fat and air in water.

Making chocolate mousse

Making Chocolate Mousse: Melting

Chocolate Mousse is made in two steps – the chocolate must be melted with water and then whipped into a foam.

Making Chocolate Mousse

Making Chocolate Mousse: Whipping

Once the mousse is finished  students learned about the elements by trading business cards they’d made on a chosen element. This gave each student a chance to teach the class about the element they had researched.

Trading Business Cards

Trading Business Cards

This activity is also described in the following video:

Chem 121: Review for Exam One

There will be a review for exam one scheduled to take place in room 3937 on Wednesday afternoon from 1 to 3. I hope you will attend. This is a good opportunity to have some extra practice solving problems.

Chem 121: Chapters 3 & 4 Homework is posted

Here is a direct link:

Chem 121: Syllabus Update

The syllabus has been updated through week five. The first exam will be on September 20th (Thursday) and will cover the material in Chapters 1,2,3, and 4. The business card activity is due September 13th (Thursday). I will schedule study groups on the 17th and the 19th that will begin at 1:30. If you have questions and want to see me before this time I will have walk-in office hours on Monday, September 10th in the morning before 11:00 and in the afternoon from 1:00 to 2:00. I will also have walk-in office hours on Tuesday September 11th at 4:00.  One September 12th, Wednesday, I will be in my office all day with the exception of class time (11 to 12:20) and Chem 203 study group from 1 to 3. On Thursday, September 13th, I will be available at 4:00.

Chem 121: Class Data – Flour and Water

Here are links to the two excel files: (right click and save)


Chemistry: Student Interviews

I’m still missing many interviews. If you have not completed this assignment, please access the file at the following direct link:

Fill it out an email it to

Thank you.


Chemistry 121: Homework posted

Please log into the website and under the topic: General Handouts and Exercises look for the link to the homework. It is the first link on the page. Let me know if you can’t find it. I’ve chosen problems for Chapters One and Two.

Chemistry 121: First Quiz

We will have a quiz on Thursday August 30th. It will cover definitions of the following terms:

  • hypothesis
  • theory
  • law (scientific law)
  • gas
  • liquid
  • solid
  • sublimation
  • deposition
  • evaporation
  • condensation
  • melting
  • freezing (solidification)

It will also cover the following skills:

  • conversion between decimal form and scientific notation and vice versa
  • counting of significant figures in a number
  • rounding of numbers to the correct number of significant figures
  • adding/subtracting with correct significant figures
  • multiplying/dividing with correct significant figures

Finally you will need to know the values of the following prefixes:

  • kilo
  • centi
  • milli

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