AP Chemistry 2008 - 2009

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Course Home Page
Course Overview Documents
Lab Safety Rules (RTF file)
Three-ring Binder Information
Lab Notebook Information
Lab Report Writing Information (html)
Lab Grading Outline (html) How labs are graded
Personal Introduction Essay (doc)

Course Overview


This year marks the fourth in which AP Chemistry has been offered at Scarborough High School. It is offered for and mostly attended by first-year students of chemistry.

Because the course material is challenging and the pace of the course demanding, students must obtain a copy of this syllabus and grading policy before leaving school for the summer. Successful completion of this material before the start of classes in the fall is essential in order for the course to meet the goal of preparing students for the AP Chemistry exam in May. Students will be tested on the summer assignments shortly after the commencement of classes in the Fall.

Course Objectives

The objective of the AP curriculum is to provide a college level classroom and laboratory experience in terms of conceptual understanding and mastery of the mathematical aspects of chemistry. A high level of conceptual content understanding is the goal and expectation of this course. Mastery of the methods of caculation in introductory chemistry will be a major focus. Success on the AP Chemistry exam will demonstrate whether these objectives have been met.

A secondary objective of the course is the encouragement of students to think for themselves and to learn to solve problems quickly and accurately. A great deal of independent work will be required and self-motivation to complete work with (at times) little or no in-class instruction will be essential.

Instructional Techniques and Assessment

Instruction and Assessment: Advanced, college-level, instructional techniques will be employed. Time is a very precious commodity in this course and material will need to be covered quickly. This leaves little time for in-class work and class time will often be spent in lecture or discussion. Careful preparation for each class meeting will be essential. Assessment in this course will largely be based on comprehensive tests. Tests will either use the text as a source, come from practice AP Exams or a combination.

Memorization: Students will need to spend time memorizing certain key terms, definitions, lists of common chemicals, formulas, and constants. Having information immediately available when you need it will be critical for success on the AP exam.

Labs: Labs will be group activities requiring co-operation and collaboration. There will be brief introductions to labs after which students will largely need to work on their own. This is by design to encourage problem solving and exploration (within the limits of lab safety). We will close labs with group discussions. Formal lab reports from individual students will be required.


The grading policy of AP Chemistry is designed to reflect how much work you put into learning. If you put in the effort to learn the material you will do well. The policy emphasizes labs and tests since emphasizing these categories will best prepare you for the AP exam. Your grade will be based on the following categories.


See this document for further information about late work and do-overs. Students may take a week to complete corrections to lab reports. Quizzes and tests cannot be done again for credit. For lab reports and projects, submit a new draft along with the original draft for purposes of comparison.

Note: Only work handed in on time is eligible for corrections.

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Make-up Work

If you miss class, and it is an excused absence, then you may make up the work you missed. You must see me before class starts or after it has ended and ask for the work. It is your responsibility to find out what you missed and to do it. Work must be turned in by the day after the due date. Missed tests must be made up within a week.

Late Work

If you do not hand work in on time you will deprive yourself of the opportunity to make corrections. Late work is subject to a penalty. If the work is more than five school days late then I will not accept it, except for partial credit. This applies even if your class does not meet on the fifth day.

Lab Safety

Safety is of paramount importance in the lab. Warnings of particular hazards will be given in the introduction to each lab activity. Students will be gently reminded of other safety rules. Students who do not heed such warnings will have to sit out the lab and take a zero.

Resources for Extra Help

I am available before and after school most days to provide help with your work. I arrive around 7 am and will usually be here until at least 2:30 pm.


Chemistry: Zumdahl and Zumdahl, 6th Edition
The AP Chemistry volume of the Princeton Review Series (2007 ed.)
Note: You may find this document and related materials (including some lab handouts) at the following web site: http://kaffee.50webs.com/Science.
Last updated: Aug 11, 2008       Keller Home