Honors Chemistry Course Guidelines

Honors chemistry at Nyack H.S. is a rigorous college preparatory courses based on the NYS Core Curriculum.1  Although the Honors course is designed to be more challenging than the Regents course, both of these courses culminate in the same Regents exam in June 2018.  

 In addition to the lecture component, these courses will also provide opportunities for students to study chemistry through hands-on laboratory activities.  As much as the laboratory experience is enrichment, it also fulfills the New York State requirement that students receive at least 1200 minutes of laboratory experience to be eligible to take the Regents exam in June 2018.

Course Materials 

This year, we will use the Prentice Hall textbook, Chemistry, for most of our course content and homework assignments.  Students should purchase  or obtain a copy of Chemistry: The Physical Setting (Prentice Hall Brief Review for New York)  This book will be sold in class. Students will be expected to bring the following materials:

Ø  Folder or loose-leaf binder (for notes)

Ø  Scientific calculator 

Ø  Reference tables (These will be provided. They can also be downloaded.2)

Grading Policy

The grades for the course will be calculated as a weighted average of the tests, quizzes, homework and  labs.  The weights for each are shown below.

Ø  Tests (55%)                Make-ups will not be given without a legitimate excuse. 

Ø  Quizzes (25%)           Same rules apply as above

Ø  Homework (10%)     Late HW not accepted except in cases of absences or other legitimate excuses .

Ø  Labs (10%)               Students must hand in a “lab report” to receive credit for the lab



If a student is absent a day (or days) before a test, and no new material that has been covered appears on the test, that student is expected to take the test the day it is scheduled. .  If a student is absent on the day a test is given, that student should expect to take a makeup on the day he/she returns to classMakeups of exams or quizzes will only be provided with a written excuse from a parent or doctor.  When a pattern of absences from tests or quizzes is noted, no makeup will be provided unless the student returns to class with a doctor's note. When makeups are provided, the test or quiz will be different from the original given in class


If the student was absent the day the homework was assigned, the homework is due on the 1st day after the student returns to class.


We will participate in roughly 15-20 labs throughout the year. As there may be a significant number of laboratory based questions on the Regents exam, it is important that students are present for these activities.


No makeups will be provided for students that have cut classes.

Additional Course Expectations

In addition to being prepared with the basic materials for the course, it is expected that students will follow a basic protocol which demonstrates a level of concern and maturity necessary for the most effective mastery of the course. This basic protocol includes:

Ø  Being on time and in one’s seat by the time the bell rings.

Ø  Managing to keep unnecessary talking to a minimum during recitation.

Ø  Using the bathroom pass sparingly.

Ø  Speaking to other students and the instructor in a respectful manner.

Ø  Following all safety rules to the letter.

Basic Course Curriculum

The following is a basic outline of the course curriculum for the year.  I reserve the right to change the sequence at any time. 

Fall 2017 Syllabus

Chapter 2: Matter and Change

  • Matter

o    Properties of matter

·         Chemical and physical properties (malleability, luster, ductility, mp, bp, smell, color, combustibility, reactivity, etc)

  • States of matter

o    Chemical and physical changes (Differentiating between chemical and physical changes)

  • Mixtures

o    Classifying mixtures

·         Heterogeneous and homogeneous mixtures (solutions)

·                     Separation of mixtures

o   Filtration, chromatography, distillation, mechanical

·                     Elements and Compounds

o   Distinguishing elements, compounds and mixtures

o   Understanding particle representations and formulas of each (elements, compounds and mixtures)

o   Chemical Reactions

·                     Law of conservation of mass (Understanding simple mass relationships between reactants and products)


Chapter 3: Scientific Measurement

  • The Importance of Measurement

o    Qualitative vs. Quantitative (Distinguishing between each)

  • Scientific notation
  • Uncertainty in Measurements

o    Accuracy vs. Precision (Distinguishing each)

o    Percent Error (Calculation of)

o    Significant Figures in Measurements and Calculations

  • SI System

o    Length, mass, volume units discussed

o    Understanding prefixes of measurement (milli, deci, centi, kilo, etc.)

  • Density

o    Calculation and measurements of density

o    Graphical determination of density

  • Temperature

o    Temperature scales (Kelvin, Celsius and Fahrenheit discussed)


Chapter 4: Problem Solving in Chemistry

  • Conversion problems

o    Converting between different units using dimensional analysis

Chemistry 5: Atomic Structure and Periodic Table

  • Atoms

o    Structure of the Nuclear Atom

o    Features (mass and charge) of subatomic particle-protons, neutrons and electrons

  • Distinguishing Between Atoms

o    Atomic number, mass number, isotopes discussed

  • Calculation of Atomic mass using atomic masses and abundances
  • The Periodic Table: Organizing the Elements

o    Mendeleev model vs other models

o    Basic discussion of the organization of the PT

o    Memorization of names of first 50 elements

Chapter 6: Chemical Names and Formulas

  • Introduction to chemical bonding

o    Molecular and Ionic compounds (Distinguishing between each)

  • Representing chemical compounds

o    Significance (qualitative and quantitative) of molecular formula

  • Ionic charges (monatomic and polyatomic)

o    Determining the number of electrons in monatomic cations and anions

o    Polyatomic ions

  • Ionic compounds

o    Naming and writing the formulas of binary and ternary ionic compounds (Using common and Stock systems)

  • Molecular compounds

o    Naming and writing binary molecular compounds (Using common and Stock systems

Chapter 7: Chemical Quantities

  • The Mole

o    Discussion of moles as 6.02 x 1023 particles, the molar mass of a substance.

o    Mole-Mass and Mole-Volume Relationships

o    Mole-mass, mole-volume and mole-molecule conversions (Using mole map)

  • Percent Composition and Chemical Formulas

o    Calculation of elemental percent composition (by mass)

o    Calculation of empirical formula and molecular formulas from percent composition

o    Calculation of percentage of water in hydrated salts

Chapter 8: Chemical Reactions

  • Describing Chemical Change
  • Significance of chemical equation

o    Balancing chemical equations

  • Types of chemical equations

o    Synthesis, decomposition, single replacement, double replacement and combustion

  • Reactions in Aqueous Solutions

o    Predicting products of double replacement rxns (including precipitates using reference table F)

o    Determination of net ionic equation

Chapter 9: Stoichiometry

  • Chemical Calculations

o    Mole-mole, mass-mole, mole-volume, volume-volume, mass-volume calculations

o    Limiting Reactant and Percent Yield calculations

 Chapter 10: States of Matter

  • The Nature of Gases

o    KT of gases (Discussion of model on particle level, shape and volume)

  • Discussion of meaning and factors affecting pressure
  • The Nature of Liquids

o    KT of liquids (Discussion of model on particle level, shape and volume)

  • Discussion of phase changes (liquid to gas and gas to liquid), vapor pressure and boiling/condensation point

o    Basic introduction to equilibrium

  • The Nature of Solids

o    KT of solids (Discussion of model on particle level, shape and volume

o    Discussion phase changes (melting, freezing, sublimation and deposition) and freezing/melting pt.

Chapter 11: Thermochemistry: Heat and Chemical Change

  • The Flow of Energy-Heat

o    What is heat?

  • Endothermic and exothermic processes
  • Heat capacity and specific heat
  • Measuring and Expressing heat changes
  • Calorimetry
  • Heat and phase changes

o    Phase changes (Particles representation and equations)

  • Calculating heat changes

o    Calculations using q= mCdT, q= mHv, q=mHf

o    Calculations using heat from heats of reactions from reference table I

Chapter 12: The Behavior of Gases

  • KMT of gases (Ideal Gas Model)
  • Boyle's Law (calculations, graphical and qualitative interpretative)
  • Charles' Law (calculations, graphical and qualitative interpretative)
  • Gay-Lussac's Law (calculations, graphical and qualitative interpretative)
  • Combined Gas Law (calculations, graphical and qualitative interpretative)
  • Avogadro's Hyothesis (discussion)
  • Dalton's Law (calculations)
  • Graham's Law (calculations and qualitative interpretation)
  • Experimental conditions which foster ideality (Low P, High T)

Chapter 13: Electrons in Atoms

  • Models of the atom

o    Electron Arrangement in Atoms

  • Quantum Mechanical Model

o    Atomic orbitals (s,p,d,f)

o    Distinguishing and writing electron configurations of atoms in ground state and excited state

o    Condensed (noble gas) electron configurations

o    Theory of light and atomic spectra

 Chapter 14: Chemical Periodicity

  • Classification of elements by name, electron configuration (s-block, p-block, d-block and f-block) and properties of groups.
  • Alkali metals, Alkaline earth metals, transition metals, metalloids, nonmetals (halogens, noble gases)
  • Periodic Trends with rationale behind each trend
  • Atomic and ionic radius, ionization energy, electronegativity, metallic/nonmetallic character/reactivity

Spring 2018 Syllabus

Chapter 15: Ionic Bonding and Ionic Compounds

  • Electronic configuration in ionic bonding

o    Ionic Bonds

·         Formation of ionic bonds (electron transfer)

  • Drawing electron dot structures of ionic compounds
  • Properties of Ionic Compounds
  • Bonding in Metals

o    Properties of metallic substances

Chapter 16: Covalent Bonding

  • The nature of covalent bonding

·         Polar and nonpolar covalent bonds

·         Coordinate covalent bonds

  • Drawing of electron dot structures of molecular compounds
  • Polar bonds and molecules (Understanding how to determine the polarity of bonds and molecules from electronegativity and symmetry)
  • Understanding of intermolecular forces of attraction (h-bonding, VDW forces (LDFs and dipole-dipole) and  ion-dipole) and relative strengths of each.
  • Properties of molecular compound 

Chapter 18: Solutions

  • Properties of solutions

o    Parts of Solutions (solute and solvent)

o    Discussion of the solution process

  • Concentrations of Solutions

o    Molarity, molality, percent solutions, PPM calculations

  • Colligative properties of solutions

o    Vapor pressure lowering, bp elevation and fp depression

  • Calculations involving colligative properties

o    Calculation of bp elevation and fp depression (electrolyte and nonelectrolyte solutes)

o    Calculation vapor pressure lowering using Henry's law

 Chapter 19: Reaction Rates and Equilibrium

  • Rates of reaction

o    Collision Theory

o    Factors affecting rate of rxn

  • Reversible reactions and equilibrium

o    Phase and solution equilibrium

  • Determining whether a reaction will occur

o    Discussion of Gibbs free energy equation  (ΔG = ΔH –TΔS) and variables 

Chapter 20: Acids and Bases

  • Describing Acids and Bases
  • Hydrogen Ions and Acidity

o    Calculation of pH from [H+] or [OH-]

o    Calculation of [H+] or [OH-] from pH

·         pH  + pOH =14

·         Kw = [H+][OH-]

o    Calculation of pH from concentration of strong and weak acids and bases

o    Understanding the relationship between [H+] and acidicity or basicity

  • Acid-Base Theories

o    Arrhenius and Bronsted-Lowry theory

  • Understanding relative strength of Acids and Bases using ionization constants
  • Hydrolysis of salts

o    Prediction of acidity or basicity of salt solutions 

Chapter 21: Neutralization

  • Neutralization reactions

o    Titrations

o    Use of MaVa = MaVb 

Chapter 22:Oxidation and Reduction Reactions

  • Meaning of oxidation and reduction
  • Oxidation numbers

o    Assigning oxidation numbers to atoms in compounds

  • Balancing redox reactions

o    Writing oxidation and reduction half reactions

Chapter 23: Electrochemistry

  • Electrochemical cells

o    Identification of parts of voltaic cells

o    Interpretation and construction of short-hand notation

§  (anode|anode (cation)||cathode (cation)|cathode)

  • Calculating cell potentials

o    Prediction of spontaneity of redox reaction from electrical potential

  • Electrolytic cells

o    Uses of electrolytic cells

o    Plating, electrolysis of water, NaCl, etc.

 Chapter 25: Hydrocarbon Compounds

  • Hydrocarbons (Alkane IUPAC nomenclature)
  • Saturated and unsaturated hydrocarbons (Alkene and Alkyne IUPAC nomenclature)
  • Isomerism
  • Ringed hydrocarbons

o    Cycloalkanes

o    Benzene and derivatives 

Chapter 26: Functional Groups and Organic Reactions

  • Introduction to functional groups

·         Halides (nomenclature only)

·         Alcohols (nomenclature)

·         Primary, secondary and tertiary alcohols

·         monohydroxy, diols and triols

·         Other compounds (nomenclature only)

·         Ethers, esters, ketones, aldehydes, carboxylic (organic) acids, amines, and amide

·         Organic reactions

·         Addition, substitution, polymerization (addition and condensation), fermentation, esterification, saponification and combustion)

Chapter 28: Nuclear Chemistry

  • Nuclear radiation
  • Types of radiation (alpha, beta and gamma) and power of each
  • Nuclear Transformations (Natural and artificial)

o    Writing decay reactions

  • Fission and Fusion (Examples and uses of each)
  • Radiation in your life. (How are radioisotopes used?)

Last modified: Monday, 2 October 2017, 2:13 PM