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CHEM& 121 Introduction to Chemistry • 6 Cr.




Introduces simplified atomic and molecular theory. Students investigate the chemistry of solutions, gases, liquids, and solids and examine quantitative relationships in chemical processes. Format includes lecture, discussion, and laboratory. Prerequisite: MATH 098 with a C or better, or placement into MATH 099 or higher.


After completing this class, students should be able to:

Some of these topics are optional, at the instructor's discretion. They are noted below by an asterisk (*). Chemical Terms and Measurements
  • Define chemistry and identify its major subfields.
  • Distinguish between matter and energy.
  • List and describe the key elements of the scientific method.
  • Recognize and use prefixes in metric measurements.
  • Apply density as a way to relate the volume to the mass of a substance.
  • Solve unit conversion and density problems using dimensional analysis and/or ratios and proportions.
  • Identify the proper number of significant digits in a laboratory setting.
  • Write numbers in scientific notation.
Chemical Elements and the Periodic Table
  • Describe the general structure of the atom.
  • Identify the subatomic particles which make up the atom.
  • Define atomic number and isotope; identify the number of electrons, protons, and neutrons in a specific atom.
  • Distinguish mass number from atomic weight.
  • Extract information about an element from the periodic table: for example; the symbol, atomic number, atomic weight, and the number of protons and electrons.
  • Explain the differences between elements, compounds, and homogeneous and heterogeneous mixtures.
  • Describe the difference between chemical and physical properties/changes.
Introduction to Chemical Calculations and the Chemical Equation
  • Explain the concept of the mole.
  • Compute molar masses of elements and compounds; use those molar masses in calculations involving masses and moles of chemical substances.
  • Distinguish between empirical and molecular formulas.
  • Balance simple chemical equations.
  • Interpret the information conveyed by a balanced chemical equation.
Atomic Structure and the Periodic Table
  • Explain the historical development of the atomic theory.
  • Identify some of the scientists who contributed to our model of the atom.
  • Describe the role of spectroscopy in the development of atomic theory.
  • Describe the Bohr model of the atom.
  • Explain the weakness of Bohr’s Theory and the need for a quantum mechanical model of the atom.
  • Describe the relationship between energy levels, sublevels and orbitals.
  • Identify the relationship between the electronic structure of an element and its position in the periodic table.
  • Describe the historical development of the periodic table.
  • Identify the location of groups and periods; metals and nonmetals.
  • Predict trends in the radii of atoms and ionization energies using the Periodic Table.
Chemical Bonds and Nomenclature
  • Identify the number and location of valence electrons for main group elements.
  • Explain why the elements in a periodic group exhibit similar chemical properties.
  • Describe briefly the differences between molecular, ionic, and metallic substances.
  • Predict the charge of common cations and anions using the octet rule.
  • Write Lewis structures for atoms, ions, and molecules.
  • Predict the geometry of molecules using VSEPR Theory.
  • Define electronegativity and use it to predict the polarity of bonds and molecules.
  • Write the formulas and names for simple compounds using the Periodic Table.
Gases, Liquids and Solids
  • Describe the characteristics of a solid, a liquid, and a gas in terms of visible properties and the kinetic-molecular theory of matter.
  • Explain the properties of gases and the relations expressed by the gas laws. (*)
  • Describe the energy changes that accompany the heating, cooling, or changing of state of a substance.
  • Explain the role that bonding and intermolecular forces play in determining the melting and boiling points of pure substances.
Chemical Stiochiometry and Reaction Rates
  • State the Law of Conservation of Mass and relate it to the balanced equation.
  • Solve stoichiometric problems given a chemical equation.
  • Explain the concept of a limiting reactant.
  • Describe the collision theory of reactions. (*)
  • Sketch the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution curve and state how the shape of the curve varies with temperature. (*)
  • Describe the ways to alter the rate of a reaction; temperature, state of subdivision, concentration, and catalyst. (*)
  • Draw potential energy diagrams for exothermic and endothermic reactions showing products, reactants, and the transition state. (*)
  • Calculate the Heat of a Reaction. (*)
Water and Solutions
  • Describe how hydrogen bonding affects the properties of water.
  • Describe the dissolving process for ionic and polar substance in water.
  • Describe a saturated solution in terms of chemical equilibrium.
  • Prepare solutions using concentration units of percent and molarity.
  • Solve simple titration problems.
  • Describe the differences between strong electrolytes and non-electrolytes.
  • Describe weak electrolytes in terms of reversible chemical reactions and equilibrium.
  • Identify common acids and bases, both strong and weak.
  • Calculate the pH of a solution given the hydronium ion concentration.
  • Explain that a buffer solution resists changes in pH.



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Bellevue College
3000 Landerholm Circle SE Bellevue, WA 98007-6484 U.S.A.
Work: (425) 564-1000