AP Chemistry 2022-2023                                             Mrs. Hightower

     Overview of AP Chemistry

    This course is offered as a 2nd year course and is designed to build on what was learned during the first year. Many of the topics covered during the 1st year of chemistry are covered in much more depth during the 2nd year, particularly in the area of mathematical calculations and laboratories. AP Chemistry is open to all students wishing to take the course but it is highly recommended that students have an A or B in 1st year chemistry as well as Algebra II. All students who enroll in the course are required to take the AP exam in May.


    Brown, Lemay, Bursten, Chemistry: The Central Science, 2006, 10th Edition.


    When possible, labs are conducted over two periods on different days. However, when an extended period of time is required for an experiment, students are expected to come in before school starts (Period 0), as AP Chemistry will ideally be scheduled early in the day. Each experiment usually requires 2-3 days to complete and there is usually at least 1 day of class discussion regarding each experiment. All of the experiments are collaborative—students are assigned a lab partner. In addition, all of the experiments are hands on and class data is often pooled and used for class discussion. All students need to have a laboratory notebook where they record all of their information. Lab Reports will need to be completed in a Word document and emailed to the teacher. Computers are available in my classroom. Besides learning traditional experimental techniques, much time is spent using Vernier probeware and software to conduct experiments and analyze results.


    Students are given advance notice of due dates for lab reports and homework assignments. Homework is assigned nightly and may consist of a reading assignment, writing assignment, watching a video and taking notes or a combination. Homework is meant to reinforce what was learned in class and to assist students in mastering the subject being studied and students are expected to take it seriously. Students are encouraged to spend a minimum of one hour a night on homework and are also expected to continually review any material that has been previously taught.

    Before the beginning of each unit students must read and outline the appropriate chapter(s). Homework assignments are assigned out of the AP Chemistry Solutions lecture series nightly. In addition, teacher created problem sets and released AP exam questions are used as homework. Students are frequently asked to present the solution to particular problems to the rest of the class—sometimes problems are assigned to a student or groups of students and at other times students show up to class and are assigned problems.

     Exams (Tests) and Quizzes

    Following each unit there is a unit exam that tests student mastery of the material. Tests consist of multiple choice, essay, and problem solving questions. Questions are teacher generated and old AP questions are frequently used so that students become familiar with the rigor and types of questions asked on an AP exam. During each unit, quizzes are administered to assess student progress and to identify concepts that need to be re-taught. Finally, each unit has a take home exam that consists of one or more previously released AP free response questions the topic being studied.

    Makeup Policy

    There is no extra credit. Students are expected to keep up with the work. Students who fail an exam are allowed to make up the exam provided that they attend a two (2) hours science department tutoring session AND that a parent signs their test, indicating that the student completed an additional 2 hours of studying at home. The opportunity to retake will be giving on a case by case situation and is at the discretion of the teacher.


    Since this class is a college level class, a college style of class grading will be used. The grade in this course is determined by student performance on practice work (25%), laboratory work (25%), and exam/tests (50%). A student’s final grade is determined by averaging together all the grading periods and the final exam. The grading scale below is used to determine six weeks grades and semester grades:

    A: 100% - 85%

    B: 84% - 75%

    C: 74%- 60%

    D: 59% - 50%

    F: Below 50%

     Work Groups

    In college, work groups are necessary just to survive. Students are expected to establish work groups for AP Chemistry groups of no more than 3 people are formed. These groups are used for completing classwork, labwork, and take-home tests. Students are strongly encouraged to not “go it alone.” Names and email addresses of work groups are collected and distributed to all so that students may help one another in learning chemistry.

    Laboratory Schedule

    Experiments are completed during the appropriate unit of study. The labs are gathered from a variety of sources but the majority come from the AP College Board Inquiry Labs booklet.

    Lab 1: The student can design and/or interpret the results of an experiment regarding the absorption of light to determine the concentration of an absorbing species in a solution.

    Lab 2: The student can design, and/or interpret data from, an experiment that uses gravimetric analysis to determine the concentration of an analyte in a solution.

    Lab 3: The student can design, and/or interpret data from, an experiment that uses titration to determine the concentration of an analyte in a solution.

    Lab 4: The student can design and/or interpret the results of a separation experiment (filtration, paper chromatography, column chromatography, or distillation) in terms of the relative strength of interactions among and between the components.

    Lab 5: The student is able to design or evaluate a plan to collect and/ or interpret data needed to deduce the type of bonding in a sample of a solid.

    Lab 6: The student is able to design and/or interpret the results of an experiment involving a redox titration.

    Lab 7: The student is able to design and/or interpret the results of an experiment regarding the factors (i.e., temperature, concentration, surface area) that may influence the rate of a reaction.

    Lab 8: The student is able to design and/or interpret the results of an experiment in which calorimetry is used to determine the change in enthalpy of a chemical process (heating/cooling, phase transition, or chemical reaction) at constant pressure.

    Lab 9: The student is able to use Le Chatelier’s principle to design a set of conditions that will optimize a desired outcome, such as product yield.

    Lab 10: The student can design a buffer solution with a target pH and buffer capacity by selecting an appropriate conjugate acid-base pair and estimating the concentrations needed to achieve the desired capacity.


    Major Topics Covered


    Big Idea 1: The chemical elements are fundamental building materials of matter, and all matter can be understood in terms of arrangements of atoms. These atoms retain their identity in chemical reactions.

    The atomic theory of matter is the most fundamental premise of chemistry. A limited number of chemical elements exist, and the fundamental unit of the chemical identities they carry is the atom. Although atoms represent the foundational level of chemistry, observations of chemical properties are always made on collections of atoms, and macroscopic systems involve such large numbers that they are typically counted in the unit known as the mole rather than as individual atoms. For elements, many chemical and physical properties exhibit predictable periodicity as a function of atomic number. In all chemical and physical changes, atoms are conserved.


    Big Idea 2: Chemical and physical properties of materials can be explained by the structure and the arrangement of atoms, ions, or molecules and the forces between them.

    Transformations of matter can be observed in multiple ways that are generally categorized as either chemical or physical change. These categories can generally be distinguished through consideration of the electrostatic (Coulombic) forces that are associated with a given change at the particulate level. The strength of such forces falls along a continuum, with the strongest forces generally being chemical bonds. Chemical changes involve the

    making and breaking of chemical bonds. For physical changes, the forces being overcome are weaker intermolecular interactions, which are also Coulombic in nature. The shapes of the particles involved, and the space between them, are key factors in determining the nature of these physical changes. Using only these general concepts of varying strengths of chemical bonds and weaker intermolecular interactions, many properties of a wide range of chemical systems can be understood.

    Big Idea 3: Changes in matter involve the rearrangement and/or reorganization of atoms and/or the transfer of


    When chemical changes occur, the new substances formed have properties that are distinguishable from the initial substance or substances. Such chemical processes may be observed in a variety of ways, and often involve changes in energy as well. Chemical change is depicted in several ways, with the most important and informative one being

    the balanced chemical equation for the reaction. Because there is a large diversity of possible chemical reactions, it is useful to categorize reactions and be able to recognize the category into which a given reaction falls.

     Big Idea 4: Rates of chemical reactions are determined by details of the molecular collisions.

    Chemical changes occur over a wide range of time scales. Practically, the manner in which the rate of change is observed is to measure changes in concentration of reactant or product species as a function of time. There are a number of possible factors that influence the observed speed of reaction at the macroscopic level, including the concentration of reactants, the temperature, and other environmental factors. Measured rates for reactions observed at the macroscopic level can generally be characterized mathematically in an expression referred to as the rate law. In addition to these macroscopic-level characterizations, the progress of reactions at the particulate level can be connected to the rate law. Factors that influence the rate of reaction, including speeding of the reaction by  the use of a catalyst, can be delineated as well.

     Big Idea 5: The laws of thermodynamics describe the essential role of energy and explain and predict the

    direction of changes in matter.

    All changes in matter involve some form of energy change. Thus, the availability or disposition of energy plays a role in virtually all observed chemical processes. Thermodynamics provides a number of tools for understanding this key role, particularly the conservation of energy, including energy transfer in the forms of heat and work. Chemical bonding is central to chemistry, so one key concept associated with energy is that the breaking of a chemical bond inherently requires an energy input, and because bond formation is the reverse process, it will release energy. One key determinant of chemical transformations is the change in potential energy that results from changes in electrostatic forces. In addition to the transfer of energy, the thermodynamic concept of entropy is an important component in determining the direction of chemical or physical change.

     Big Idea 6: Any bond or intermolecular attraction that can be formed can be broken. These two processes are in

    dynamic competition, sensitive to initial conditions and external perturbations.

    Many processes in nature, including large numbers of chemical reactions, are reversible, i.e., these processes can proceed in either direction. Chemical reactions can be reversible at the atomic or molecular level. When opposing processes occur at the same rate, a stable but dynamic state called equilibrium is established. The expression for the equilibrium constant, K, is a mathematical expression that describes the equilibrium state associated with a chemical change. An analogous expression for the reaction quotient, Q, describes a chemical reaction at any point, enabling comparison to the equilibrium state. A wide range of equilibrium constants is possible; of particular significance are those that arise from acid-base chemistry, particularly as embodied in biochemical systems where the value of K is such that significant amounts of both reactants and products are present. Equilibrium states can be perturbed in a variety of ways, and the response to such a perturbation is predictable.