Information For Mrs. Lilly's Chemistry Students
Answers to frequently asked questions Tips for a successful year in chemistry
Frequently Asked Questions: (FAQ)
- What is chemistry?
- Why should I study chemistry?
- How do I study chemistry?
- What is expected of me in class?
- I heard chemistry is hard, how do I succeed in chemistry?
- How and when can I get help from Mrs Lilly?
- How will I be graded?
- What about homework?
- What about extra credit?
- What if I am absent or tardy?
- What materials do I need?
- Will I be safe in the laboratory?
- What if I break things in the lab?
Tips for a Successful Year in Chemistry
Some courses cover one concept and then move on to a completely new concept. The new concept doesn't require you to use the previously learned concept and you can just forget the previously learned material after the test because you won't be using it again. General Chemistry is NOT like these classes!!! In General Chemistry one concept builds on another. What you learn at the beginning of the year you will use over and over as we progress through the course; ALL YEAR LONG! Don't get behind in your studies; it will be nearly impossible to catch up.
ASK QUESTIONS!! The only bad questions are those that are not asked, and those that are very broad and general. If you don't ask any questions, you are telling me that you understand the material fully, don't need any more instruction, and are ready to move on. You are telling me to "bring on the test" and you will ace it. On the other hand, if you ask very broad , non-specific questions I will be unable to rephrase my explanation. I can and do teach concepts in many different ways for many different learning styles. I am not able to read minds, however. Be attentive, listen and be ready to ask specific questions to clarify any confusion you may be experiencing. Remember: if you have a question, chances are excellent that someone else does too. Do them and yourself a favor and ASK, ASK, ASK!
Prepare! Do homework the day it is assigned. Don't wait untill the night before an exam to begin studying! Write down questions you have about lectures, or readings, or labs, so you will remember to ask them later.
Share! Chemistry is all about communication. Others must be able to read and understand your work. Work must be neat and easy to follow. Don't expect anyone to assume what you mean if your communication is unclear.
Repair! Check on the assignments given while you were ill. Make up all missed work as soon as possible. For test/quiz make-ups, be sure to check with me to take the make-up as soon as possible!!
Have an exciting and educational year!!
What is Chemistry?
- Chemistry is the study of the structure of matter, how and why matter changes and how energy is involved in those changes. You will learn the processes involved in the many of the things that go on around us, the rusting of your car, acid rain, the depletion of the ozone layer, the melting of snow and ice by salt, the changes that allow a refrigerator to keep your food cold and much more. Chemistry also serves as a basis for further study in science and will help you tremendously if you choose a career in science.
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Why should I study chemistry?
Chemistry is the central science and impacts on all facets of our lives. An understanding of chemistry is necessary to all other sciences from astronomy to zoology. All of the materials used by engineers and technologists are made by chemical reactions and we all experience chemical reactions continuously, whether it be breathing or baking a cake, driving a car or listening to a battery driven minidisk player. Chemistry is concerned with all aspects of molecules, their physical and chemical properties, their composition and structure, their synthesis and use in the 21st century.
You may have heard that chemistry is only for geeky nerdy types. This is not true. Chemistry, like all areas of study can be mastered by anyone willing to put in the effort. The study of chemistry will prepare you for life. The problem solving skills, patterns of thinking, and math skills will be very helpful in all areas of life. The information you learn will help you evaluate decisions concerning your health or the environment.
One more reason you should study chemistry is that you may decide to make a career in chemistry. Chemistry is a demanding field with many opportunities. Environmental chemists work out in the field to collect data and to provide the answers to environmental problems. Pharmaceutical chemists develop more effective drugs with fewer side effects. Agricultural chemists develop better fertilizers and insecticides that have fewer environmental problems. Industrial chemists develop cleaner and better ways to provide the products that make our lives better. Or how about chemical oceanography? There are many, many interesting and fulfilling opportunities in chemistry
The study of chemistry will also develop many skills that are transferable to other areas of study. These include :
good technical reading skills
aptitude for accurate observation of details
ability to organize, analyze and interpret scientific data
ability to memorize and recall data proficiently
can mathematically manipulate and understand data
good manual dexterity and can manipulate equipment
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How to Study Chemistry
1. START TODAY!!!
2. Read ahead in the textbook so you are prepared for class.
3. Do some chemistry EVERY DAY. Even a few problems each day will keep you from falling behind.
4. DON'T FALL BEHIND! What we learn in class today will be used tomorrow. Chemistry is cumulative.
5. COME TO CLASS. We do a lot in a little time.
6. PARTICIPATE!! When we do problems in class, try to do them. Don't just watch ME work them out. It's not the same thing.
7. ASK QUESTIONS. That's what I'm here for.
8. HELP EACH OTHER. Get a study partner or a study group.
9. KEEP YOUR TOOL BOX UP-TO-DATE and use it like flash cards when studying naming, ions, groups and reactions.
10. Ask for help if you need it.
11. DO the homework problems. It may seem easy or straightforward when I do them but it isn't necessarily so.
12. Work out some of the General Problems at the end of the chapter - these really test you by not telling you what type of problem it is. I won't, either, on a test.
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What is expected of me in class?
There are four things that in expect of you in class :
- 1. Show up - Be on-time, have your homework turned in, have your notebook out and ready to take notes with a pen and pencil. Have everything else put away -- NO DISTRACTIONS!
- 2. Pay Attention - I expect you to be working from bell to bell. If you finish early you can study, read ahead in the text, start homework etc..
- 3. Tell the Truth - The understanding of chemistry is an attainable goal for every capable student - with effort. The effort that you put in will determine your success to a large degree. You must let me know if you 'get it' or if you are having problems with a concept so that I can help you. Never cheat. It only hurts you!
- 4. Be Safe - Follow the prescribed safety procedures, written lab instructions and use common sense at all times.
Overall, I expect you to be respectful of learning and to respect your class mates at all times (whether they earn it or not). Also respect the the physical materials of the class and do not write on desks or abuse the classroom or equipment.
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How do I succeed in chemistry?
Chemistry can be hard at times. The absolute worst thing you can do is blow it off and hope that the next part of the class will be easier. Chemistry is a subject that builds upon itself. Most new topics depend on the content of the previous topics. If you allow yourself to get behind, chemistry will be extremely difficult for you. On the positive side the more you understand the present topic, the easier the next topic will be.
The key for my class is the objective sheets. They list the individual items that I will hold you accountable for on the tests and quizzes. If you do your job as a student you will study the objectives day by day. That way you will learn them thoroughly and a little at a time. If you wait until the night before the test or quiz you may be very overwhelmed. You should never find yourself studying the night before a test or quiz - you should be reviewing at this point. Here is a list of items you may find helpful in order of importance.
- 1. Study the objectives daily( a real student does more than just the homework).
- 2. Do not let yourself get behind. As soon as you start struggling get the help you need to get back on top of the content. Do understand that there will be some confusion at times. This is normal when learning things that are new.
- 3. Do your own homework. Working in groups or with a friend may help you get done faster, but they will not be able to help you on a test. DO NOT COPY. Copying undermines your whole purpose of being at school and shows a real lack of personal integrity.
- 4. When you do your homework, class work or take notes, keep your mind active. Try to understand the content. Don't be just a warm body that mimics the activities of a student.
- 5. Take time to read the textbook, preferably before class and after class. This will prepare you for the content that will be covered in class and help understand what was covered in class.
- 6. Stay positive. Your attitude is so important for your success in chemistry and in life in general. If you approach chemistry with enthusiasm and curiosity you will find it so much easier and interesting than if you approach it with disdain.
- 7. Make use of the website. The website has notes, interactive quizzes and links to other sites (many are interactive) that are arranged according to the objectives that you need to know. If you do not have access to the internet at home you can access the website during seminar and before and after school in the computer labs.
- 8. Study with a partner. When we know something we will be able to communicate and/or demonstrate it to someone else (isn't this the essence of tests - students communicating and demonstrating content and acquired skills back to the teacher). Quite often you may think you know something clearly but when the test comes you cannot put the ideas together clearly enough to do well. Studying with a partner and communicating the information back and forth will alert you to the content you do not fully understand.
- 9. When taking the test, start with the parts that you are most comfortable with and then do the hard parts. This will build confidence as you take the test and possibly remind you of material that will help you on the harder parts of the test.
- 10. Always check your work on tests.
- 11. Keep organized - chemistry is challenging enough without having the additional struggles of being able to find what you need.
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How and when can I get help from Mrs. Lilly
I am usually available before school from 7:15 to 7:45 and after school from 3:00 to 3:30.
Appointments should be made one day in advance for before school and after school hours to allow preparation and the avoiding of previous commitments.
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How will I be graded ?
Grading Policy: Grades will be available on-line. The following is an approximation of percentages of points for each category of assessment in this class:
a. Tests and Quizzes: 35% 90% - 100% = A
b. Labs, activities, projects: 25% 80% - 89% = B
c. Homework/Warm-ups: 20% 70% - 79% = C
d. Cumulative Final Exam: 20% 60 % - 69% = D Below 60% = F
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What about homework ?
Homework is a necessary and vital part of the learning process. Homework:
- a. Reinforces skills and materials learned in class
- b. Prepares you for upcoming class topics
- c. Teaches you to work independently
- d. Aids in the evaluation of your progress.
Homework will be checked by the teacher for completeness and correctness. Homework is part of the learning process and will not be used as a measurement of the learned product - how much students have learned - measured on tests, quizzes, labs, papers and projects.
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What about extra credit?
Extra credit will generally not be available. The planned curriculum contains what has been determined as the most important materials and skills that the you should acquire and you need to spend their energy and effort on these assigned materials from the curriculum.
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What if I am absent or tardy?
Absences: It is your responsibility to get missed notes and assignments. Work missed due to an absence is due the day after you return to class unless the absence period has been extensive. If you are absent on the day that a test or quiz has been scheduled you are expected to take the test or quiz on the day that you return. You are expected to get assignments in on time and make-up any assignments after and absense. I also recommend that you exchange your phone number with a classmate to get missed assignments or check this website..
Tardiness: It is your responsibility to get to class on time. Tardiness slows the rest of the class and delays learning.
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What materials do I need?
There are many supplies that will help you in Mrs. Lilly's Chemistry class including a pencil, pen, paper, notebook, tool box, text book given to the student at the beginning of the semester, and a calculator for calculations.
How safe you will be is to a large degree determined by your own conduct. If you read and follow the written lab procedures, follow the prescribed safety rules and use common sense there should be no serious danger. There will always be some danger since we will work with glassware that may break and open flames and hot objects. I will always provide you with the necessary safety equipment, alert you to dangerous chemicals which may be used and specific safety precautions for each lab activity.
I will expect each student to read and know the lab safety rules and to contract with the school to abide by these rules. You can find a copy of the contract/rules here.
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Rules for breakage in the laboratory
Some breakage is to be expected during the course of the year. You will handle a lot of glassware and accidents will happen. If you break materials while following the correct procedures and using the correct equipment you will not be expected to pay for that equipment. If you break or destroy materials while fooling around or using incorrect procedure or equipment you will be expected to pay for that equipment. (You will be assigned the reading of the lab procedure ahead of time to acquaint yourself with the proper procedure and equipment).
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