Honors Chemistry
Chemistry CP
AP Chemistry
Test Success
About Dr. V.

Honors Chemistry

Honors Chemistry is designed for students who have demonstrated strong ability in previous science courses.  In this fast-paced, demanding course, the main topics--which include atomic theory, nuclear chemistry, periodicity, chemical reactions, stoichiometry, gases, solutions, reaction kinetics, equilibrium, acid-base theory, oxidation-reduction, and organic chemistry--are studied at an advanced level, with an focus on both conceptual understanding and problem-solving.  Quantitative aspects of chemical concepts are emphasized throughout the course.  Laboratory experimentation is an integral part of this class, and students write a number of formal reports which require demonstration of a sophisticated understanding of the relevant theories and principles.  Students are expected to work cooperatively in both laboratory and classroom settings and to take individual responsibility for meeting the objectives of the course.  This course is particularly well suited for students considering careers in science, engineering, or medicine.

Our textbook  Introductory Chemistry:  A Foundation 7e (Zumdahl and DeCoste)   

Questions?  Need help?  E-mail Dr. Vanderveen  Students are NOT allowed to use graphing or programmable calculators during classroom tests.  (This will be strictly enforced.)  If you need advice on selecting or using a suitable calculator, ask Dr. VanderVeen or for extra help before the test.


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General Course Information

Additional links are available by viewing the assignment sheets for each unit.

Current Unit

Unit 9:  Chemical Bonding

Why and how do atoms combine to form compounds?  In this unit, we will draw Lewis structures to describe bonding and discuss several models to describe chemical bonding.  Attractions between molecules will also be considered.  A number of interactive and visual resources will be used to enrich the learning experience.    This year, students will complete a detailed creative writing assignment as the summative assessment for the unit.  Expect the occasional pop  quiz!

Handouts Resources










2018-2019 Science Fair 

Interested in participating in this year's science fair?  Please consult with Dr V

All chemistry students are encouraged to participate in the annual Science Fair.  Project proposals are due to Dr. V ASAP! 

        Science Fair Initial Proposal Form

        Science Fair Revised Proposal Form

        Science Fair Report Instructions


Upcoming Units




Unit 10:  Nuclear Chemistry

In this brief unit, we will consider the factors that make for unstable nuclei--and what then happens to those radioisotopes.  We will learn to balance nuclear equations, solve radioactive dating problems involving half-lives, and calculate binding energies.  We will also consider medical applications of radioisotopes and the effects of radiation on human tissue.


Nuclear Chemistry Assignment Sheet Adobe PDF icon

Radiation Dose Chart

Pair Tutoring:  Nuclear ChemistryAdobe PDF icon

Article SummaryAdobe PDF icon

Handout:  Balancing Nuclear Equations

Handout:  Radioactive Dating ProblemsAdobe PDF icon

Nuclear Chemistry Review SheetAdobe PDF icon



Nuclear Chemistry Introduction Adobe PDF icon

Radiometric DatingAdobe PDF icon

Discussing Nuclear StabilityAdobe PDF icon

Notes on Nuclear Reactions (Powerpoint)

Chemland Radioactive Decay Simulation



Useful Links

·         http://tb014.k12.sd.us/Chemistry/Neclear%20Reactions/ Balancing and types of radioactive decay

·         http://hps.org/publicinformation/ate/faqs/radiationtypes.html

·         http://www.sciencegeek.net/Chemistry/taters/Unit1NuclearEquations.htm Balancing practice

·         http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/basic-ref/teachers/06.pdf Natural and man-made radiation sources

·         http://www.shodor.org/unchem/advanced/nuc/index.html

·         http://particleadventure.org/frameless/decay_intro.html    Some really cool (weird) stuff here!

·         http://www.chem.purdue.edu/gchelp/howtosolveit/Nuclear/nuclear_binding_energy.htm#Massdefect

·         http://staff.orecity.k12.or.us/les.sitton/Nuclear/313.htm the mass defect and binding energy

·         http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/nucene/nucbin.html#c1 Nuclear binding energy

·         http://www.wwnorton.com/college/chemistry/chemistry3/ch/21/chemtours.aspx Good tutorials in Ch. 21 

·         http://www.docbrown.info/page03/3_54radio04.htm

·         http://www.brookscole.com/chemistry_d/templates/student_resources/shared_resources/ice/chemsimex/radioactive_win.htm  Simulations of radioactive decay, with questions (uses Java and Shockwave)





Unit 11:  Gases

Aah, gases, everyone's favorite unit.  Governed by the simple elegance of Kinetic Molecular Theory, we can use the ideal gas law to predict the behaviors of gas samples by looking at the variables of pressure, volume, temperature and moles.  Graham's Law, the Combined Gas Law, Boyle's Law, Charles' Law and Guy-Lussac's Law--we'll visit them all.  Keep your calculators handy!




                Look at the Chemtours for Chapter 6 (especially Ideal Gas Law and Dalton’s Law)

                               Animations to explore gas properties



Webcasts Links

Unit 12:  Liquids and Solutions

In this  brief unit, we will revisit solutes, solvents, and concentration units.  We will interpret solubility graphs to solve problems and relate this to our knowledge of intermolecular attractions.  We will also explore the differences between colloids and suspensions.  We will explore the effect of adding solute on the freezing point of solutions in the laboratory and learn about other "colligative" properties.



Lab:  Freezing Point Depression (Guided Inquiry)Adobe PDF icon


Solutions Notes (Powerpoint)

Colligative Properties NotesAdobe PDF icon

Colloids Notes Adobe PDF icon




Some useful links




Unit 13:   Kinetics and Equilibrium (Ch. 17)

These topics are interrelated and fit well into a single unit.  First, we will study reaction rates, using collision theory as the guiding principle.  (We will supplement the textbook, which doesn't go into enough detail regarding reaction kinetics.)  We will then explore reversible reactions and develop the concept of equilibrium and the equilibrium constant.  We will also investigate the effect of stresses on equilibrium systems.


Chapter 17 Assignment SheetAdobe PDF icon

Kinetics Problem Set

The Reaction QuotientAdobe PDF icon

Rate Laws Problem SetAdobe PDF icon

 Chapter 17 Review SheetAdobe PDF icon

http://web1.uct.usm.maine.edu/~newton/Chy251_253/Lectures/Reactions/ReactionProfiles.html   Potential  energy diagrams

An excellent LeChatelier's Principle animation

http://www.wwnorton.com/college/chemistry/chemistry3/ch/15/chemtours.aspx    These are particularly lucid—especially helpful tutorials if you are absent for any reason!

                        Chapter 14:       Reaction Rates                          Chapter 15:       Equilibrium

                                                Reaction Order                                                  LeChatelier’s Principle

                                                Reaction Mechanisms

                                                Collision Theory


Design your own experiment:  Virtual Kinetics LabAdobe PDF icon

PHet Simulation    Student Handout

Modelling Equilibrium MinilabAdobe PDF icon

LeChatelier's Principle LabAdobe PDF icon

Chapter 17 Notes (Powerpoint)


Some Useful Websites:


Unit 14:  Acids, Bases, and Salts (Chapter 16)

We eat oranges and cook with vinegar--everyday sources of acids.  We clean the windows with ammonia solutions and use Drano to unclog the sink--everyday sources of bases.  What is the difference between acids and bases?  What does the pH scale tell us?  And best of all--titrating!  We will also apply our understanding of equilibrium to acids and bases.







pH scale and pH calculations

Strong vs. weak acids

Acid-Base Theories

Neutralization Reactions

Titration Calculations

The Titration Process



Unit 15:  Redox and Electrochemistry

Some chemical reactions convert chemical energy into electrical energy.  This occurs when atoms gain electrons ("reduction") or lose electrons ("oxidation").  We will learn to recognize this class of reaction.  Additionally, these reactions can be harnessed to create batteries! We will use our knowledge of oxidation-reduction processes (or "redox") to predict the voltage produced in electrochemical cells.

End of the year review--It will be here sooner than you realize!

Past Units

Home Honors Chemistry Chemistry CP AP Chemistry Test Success About Dr. V.

Unit 4:  Chemical Reactions

Balancing chemical equations is easy!  Just remember the number one rule:  conservation of mass.  Classifying reactions by type makes it possible to predict the products for a wide variety of chemical changes. 

Chemical Reactions Assignment Sheet (Chapters 6 & 7)  Adobe PDF icon   

Solubility Table

Activity Series

Classes of Chemical Reactions



Chemical Reactions Review Sheet Adobe PDF icon



Lab:  Precipitation in Double Displacement Reactions Adobe PDF icon


Lab:  Single Replacement Virtual Minilab


Some Useful Websites:

Unit 5:  Compositional Stoichiometry and the Mole

This unit marks an emphasis on the mathematics of chemistry.  We will revisit dimensional analysis and introduce a new conversion factor, the mole and Avogadro's number.  (Why does she have a stuffed mole named Avogadro?)  We will also learn about ways to quantitatively describe the composition of substances:  gram formula mass, percent composition and empirical formulas.  We will use the molarity formula to describe the composition of solutions.  While most of the material is straightforward, even easy, students will find plenty of challenge problems, too!



Learning Objects from the University of Wisconsin Online







Organic Chemistry Handouts


Unit 6:  Stoichiometry

Sometimes, chemistry is like cooking.  How much product can we make from a given amount of the ingredients?  Factor label (aka, dimensional analysis) takes a leading role as we explore mass and mole relationships in chemical reactions.  This year, we will incorporate some organic chemistry into this unit.




Interactive Practice and Tutorials









 Some Useful Websites

http://www.softschools.com/quizzes/chemistry/ Stoichiometry quizzes I-VI










Unit 7:   Energy

In this unit, we will explore the relationship between chemistry and energy--an important relationship as our society debates our dependence on petroleum and the renewable energy sources. The true beauty of thermodynamics lies in the durability of these ideas, as these principles are completely independent of atomic theory.  State functions are extremely useful, and now you can discuss the reasons why reactions occur and find the enthalpy change of a reaction using two (related) but apparently dissimilar methods.  Laboratory experiments will reinforce our knowledge of heating/cooling problems, phase changes, and problem solving strategies.  We will also introduce the concepts of heat of reaction and driving forces for natural processes.




Lab:  Exothermic and Endothermic Reactions Adobe PDF icon 

Minilab:  Heat of Fusion of IceAdobe PDF icon

Lab:  Heat of Combustion of Wax

Lab:  Hess' LawAdobe PDF icon



Thermodynamics Notes (Powerpoint)

Thermodynamics from NASA

Chemical Thermodynamics


Heat vs. Temperature;  Heating/Cooling Curves

Thermochemical Equations

Hess' Law and Enthalpies of Formation

Entropy and Driving Forces

                               Chapter 5:  State Functions, Heating Curves, Hess’ Law

                               Chapter 14:  Entropy, Gibb’s free energy



Unit 8:  Modern Atomic Theory and Periodicity

We will compare early ideas on atomic structure to the the modern, quantum mechanical model of the atom.  As we learn to describe the arrangements of electrons in atoms, we will be ready to relate element reactivity to electron configurations.  We will also discuss explore  the regular and repeating trends in the properties of the elements.  We will examine the arrangement of the periodic table and the connections between electron configurations and reactivity.  This will include exceptional electron configurations, typical ions formed by the elements, and Lewis dot structures to represent those most important electrons, the valence electrons.













Online Resources

       Tutorials on quantum numbers

        and electron configurations









Some of the files on this site are presented in Adobe PDF format.  Get Acrobat Reader Web logo Get Adobe Reader

Neat link:  A History of the Periodic Table, from the Kojo Nnamdi show (WAMU)



This page was last updated on 02/10/2019

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