Sunday, August 22, 2010

Chem Is Try

Well I certainly found a gem among my files-- all of the papers, notes and lab reports from my honors chemistry class in high school.  Not only is this a find because it's over seven years old now and I can't believe I still have it, but also because my life has had a severe lack of science in it since I graduated high school.  This definitely falls into the category of "things I might no longer know", although not because I didn't learn it well.

My honors chemistry teacher was fantastic.  I doubt she'll ever read this, but Alice Frazer, you remain one of the best teachers I've ever had.  For those of you who didn't know her, I'll give this evidence-- among her AP Chemistry students, seventy-five percent received a five on the exam, the highest score possible.  The remaining twenty-five percent received threes or fours, which were also passing grades.  No one failed.  That takes some serious teaching skill.  On top of that, she had an impressive history working in the chem field before becoming a teacher, so she had practical knowledge and really interesting stories.

In fact, if Mrs. Frazer had not had to leave school due to health reasons and had been my AP Chemistry teacher, it's highly likely that I would have chosen to pursue a science path rather than a liberal arts one.  Alas, while my AP Chem teacher was a nice lady, she was not stellar on the teaching front, to the point where we all just tried to figure the material out on our own rather than ask her questions.  Therefore, it's been a long time since I've looked at any of this, and we'll start this material out simply--

Chapter 1 Vocab (taken word for word from my old notes)
1. Matter- the "stuff" of which our world is made; anything that has the property of inertia
2. Inertia- a property of matter that shows itself as a resistance to any change in motion
3. Energy- A property possessed by all matter that can be made to do work in the proper circumstances
 (*this probably should have said "under the proper circumstances", but these were notes)
4. Potential energy- one of two forms of energy; depends on the position of the object in relation to some reference point
5. Kinetic energy- one of two forms of energy; the energy possessed by an object because of its motion
6. Radiant energy- energy being transferred by electromagnetic waves
7. Law of conservation of mass- states that matter is always conserved; total amount of matter in the universe remains constant
8. Law of conservation of energy- states that energy is always conserved; total amount of energy in the universe remains constant
9. Law of conservation of mass-energy- states that the sum of mass + energy is conserved; remains constant
10. Intermediate- not a consumer product, but not a raw material; an in-between state
11. Model- developed to help deal with abstract ideas and objects
12. Chemistry- the study of the structure and properties of matter

Now, I have to say, I love how chemistry is the last term defined here.  That's definitely assuming that students will read through the list completely.  And why was intermediate necessary?  I wish I still had the textbook these came from to see why that was important enough to come before "chemistry", since that one's only, you know, the definition of the whole course.

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