Chemistry 1 Storyline: the core units
Why COVER Chemistry when you can instead UNCOVER Chemistry?
In traditional chemistry curricula, students are introduced right away to the modern model of the atom and asked to accept all its complexities as a matter of faith. By contrast, our approach is to start with a simple model of the atom and show students that our model evolves as the need for a better one arises. In each of the instructional units we move from examining phenomena to the patterns we impose on the phenomena to the models we build to help us explain phenomena.
Unit 1: Simple Particle
Every substance (element or compound) can be represented as a simple particle (BB) with no internal structure, as modeled by Democritus..
Unit 2: Particles in Motion
Particles are in constant, random, thermal motion. We see this by observing temperature as measure of thermal energy, gas pressure, and detailing Kinetic Molecular Theory.
Unit 3: Particles Store and Transfer Energy
The particles exert attractions on one another. We can make a metaphor of energy as conserved substance-like quantity.
Unit 4: Compound Particles
The particles that make up substances can be compounded from smaller particles, as modeled by Dalton.
Unit 5: Atoms & Molecules have definite mass
We can count and weigh particles too small to see, as detailed by Avogradro's Hypothesis. This uncovers the concept of molar mass.
Unit 6: Atoms have Internal Structure
Development of Thomson model of atom to account for electrical interactions, molecular vs ionic compounds, nomenclature.
Unit 7: Atoms in Compounds can Rearrange
Chemical reactions involve rearrangement of atoms in molecules to form new molecules. We describe this using balanced equations, chemical and thermal energy.
Unit 8: Intro to Stoichiometry
Equations representing chemical reactions relate numbers of particles (molecules or formula units) to weighable amounts of these particles.
Unit 9: Further Applications of Stoichiometry
Equations representing chemical reactions can also relate numbers of particles (molecules or formula units) to volumes of gases, solutions and to the change in chemical potential energy.
Continue to 'Beyond Core"
Because many chemistry teachers report that they need to address the internal workings of the atom in the first semester, we suggest that they could do units 10 & 11 (in Chemistry-Beyond Core) right after Unit 6. They could then return to Units 7 – 9.