Honors Section Available: Yes

Brief Course Description:

This two semester laboratory-based science course is designed for students who are ready for a challenging and rigorous study of Chemistry. The course will cover the introduction to chemistry, matter and change, scientific measurement, problem solving in chemistry, atomic structure and the periodic table, chemical names and formulas, chemical quantities, chemical reactions, stoichiometry, states of matter, thermochemistry, behavior of gases, electrons in atoms, chemical periodicity, ionic bonding and ionic compounds, and covalent bonding. Multiple lab features including the Small-Scale Chemistry Labs, Mini Labs and Discover it!, are incorporated to closely fit the corresponding lectures.

Course Goals and/or Major Student Outcomes:

This two term college-prep chemistry course involves more than just acquiring a knowledge foundation. It will help students to "build character through rigorous academics... they set goals, face challenges, work hard, persevere, overcome failures and cope with success" (The Ethos of Acaciawood School). Also, this course will offer students ample opportunities to learn, to practice, and master skills that are essential to academic, personal, and professional success. These skills include critical thinking skills (such as analyzing and solving problems, making decisions, and evaluating reasoning), science process skills (such as observing, predicting, and measuring), as well as writing and communication skills. Especially, cooperative learning environments will be built up for the students to develop and enrich their social skills, which are crucial to solve problems and complete tasks through coordination and cooperation.

Course Objectives:

In every unit the students will be challenged to develop higher order thinking skills, such as interpretation, analysis, and synthesis of the current material. Quantitative problem solving, especially Stoichiometry and Dimensional Analysis, a powerful chemistry problem-solving method besides Algebra, will be continually emphasized. Numerous study tools will be provide to encourage learning and building up study skills, such as class handouts, definition worksheet, review guidelines, review checklists, homework corrections, homework Q/A sessions, student CD, flash cards, videos, etc. The importance of writing in the study of chemistry will be greatly emphasized throughout the year.

In addition, with multiple lab features and our unique lab-based teaching, students can expect to learn much more chemistry than they can through conventional labs. Students will learn to be creative and inventive with chemistry; to be good problem solvers; to be honest and careful scientists; and to communicate effectively with the teacher and with other students.

Key Assignments:

Mastery of content will be assessed through class participation, homework assignments, notebook organization, labs, and chapter tests. Student achievement will be assessed by means of a comprehensive exam at the end of the semester. Since daily assignments such as homework, notebook, and labs will receive FULL credit as long as they are on time, complete, and fully corrected according to the answers given during our next class, chemistry will greatly benefit from the student's daily work effort.

Through step-by-step training, students will be able to write a formal lab report including a statement of the purpose of the lab, a discussion of the applicable concepts, the experimental procedures, raw data, sample calculations, analysis, conclusions, discussion of the results (including sources of error), and further research and investigations if applicable.


Honors—Concurrent enrollment in Algebra II or higher math course. For returning students: B+ or higher (87.01%) in Algebra 1 and Geometry and/or teacher recommendation. For incoming students: B+ or higher (87.01%) in Algebra 1, 3.5 overall GPA, and English proficiency.

Regular—Concurrent enrollment in Algebra II or higher math course. For returning students: C or higher (73.01%) in Algebra 1 and Geometry and/or teacher recommendation. For incoming students: C or higher (73.01%) in Algebra 1 and English proficiency.

How the honors course is different from the standard course:

  • In addition to the regular homework assigned in the parallel non-Honors course, Honors students will be required to work additional "challenge" problems to stimulate further understanding of the material.
  • Honors students will be expected to demonstrate in-depth comprehension of material through writing assignments and oral presentation in class.
  • For each chapter time, Honors students will be required to do Honors reading (one article given in the text) and to write one paragraph to demonstrate your understanding.
  • Honors students will have extra problems on exams and extended experiments to perform and investigate in lab to apply what you have learned in the basic experiments.
  • Honors students will be required to take the Orange County Annual ACS (American Chemistry Society) Chemistry Exam held in April upon completion of the two-semester course. The winner(s) will be recognized as the "Outstanding First Year Chemistry Student" by the ACS. Their names will be inscribed on Acaciawood School's ACS plaque posted in the main office.
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