Chemistry 114: The Environment: A Chemical Perspective

Spring 2016

Tuesday, Thursday 11 am - 1:30 p.m., Olin Hall, Room 102

Chemistry 114 involves a study of the environment, chemistry and the relationship between technology and our surroundings with a view to a thoughtful analysis of the environmental and other data presented in the popular literature. The course is designed for non-science students with little or no science background. No prerequisite. Fulfills laboratory science requirement; does not count toward a science major.

"Weighing risks, weighing uncertainties. Most people never understood that the majority of scientific problems took this form. Acid rain, global warming, environmental cleanup, cancer risks—these complex questions were always a balancing act, a judgment call. How good was the research data? How trustworthy were the scientists who had done the work? How reliable was the computer simulation? How significant were the future projections? These questions arose again and again. Certainly the media never bothered with the complexities, since they made bad headlines. As a result, people thought science was cut and dried, in a way that it never was. Even the most established concepts—like the idea that germs cause disease—were not as thoroughly proven as people believed." From "Timeline," by Michael Crichton, page 371.

Resources

  • Information about the text: Chemistry in Context: Applying Chemistry to Society, 8/e
  • Online textbook/homework package (McGraw-Hill ConnectPlus): Go to this web address and click the "register now" button: McGraw-Hill CONNECT technical support: 1-800-331-5094 or http://mpss.mhhe.com/
  • Scientific calculator, i.e., one that can handle scientific notation. Cell phone calculators and other devices that are connected to the internet or other communications systems are not allowed during exams.
  • Eye protection. AO Safety model number 40670 (available at the Luther College Book Shop)

Guidelines for Use of Electronic/Wireless Devices: The Luther Code of Conduct indicates that “Students are required to engage in responsible social conduct that reflects credit upon the Luther College community and to model good citizenship in any community;" Article III, section B, point 7 indicates that “[d]istruption or obstruction of teaching” is prohibited behavior. Unless otherwise indicated by the instructor, the lecture and laboratory periods are meant to be times of academic activity related to the course. Cell phones, laptops, and/or other electronic equipment may be used only on lecture/lab related activities during the class/lab period and only if these activities are not distracting to the instructor and/or students. Students should check cell phones and/or other electronic equipment for messages before or after class/lab, not during class/lab. Cell phones should be set to “off” or “vibrate” during the class/lab period unless an emergency call is anticipated. All activities in class are to be geared toward the work at hand. The instructor has the right to ask a student to leave the classroom or laboratory if the student’s behavior is distracting to the instructor and/or to other students; repeated problems may cause the instructor to report the situation(s) to a Student Conduct Administrator or to the Department Head or Dean of the College. A student has the right to ask a fellow student to stop engaging in distracting behavior. If needed, a student may report a problem to the instructor, the Department Head, the Dean of the College, or to a Student Conduct Administrator.

Only materials assigned and/or provided for this course for this semester may be used unless otherwise indicated by the instructor. Use of materials from past years of Mertzenich's Chem 114 class is prohibited. The Honor Code must be observed.

Videos and audio clips are for the use of Luther College Chem 114 students only; they are not to be distributed to any other persons, and they are not to be saved or kept by Chem 114 students. Videos and audios are not to be copied, stored, transmitted, and/or posted on any website or in any way. The Luther College Honor Code must be observed. All materials: copyright Claude Mertzenich.

No written, oral, and/or electronic materials provided in this lecture section of Chem. 114 may be shared with anyone not affiliated with this lecture section. All materials are restricted to the use of students and authorized guests of Chem. 114.

Communication

The instructor will communicate with the class as a whole outside of lecture or lab time primarily via katie announcements. Sometimes documents and other information might be posted on KATIE. Scores and grades will be posted on KATIE. The instructor will most likely NOT check email or voice mail between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. each day. 

Lecture

The instructor's goal in lecture is to make the text and, thus, chemistry and its relationship to the environment, come alive; reflecting the diverse nature of the students in the classroom, a variety of teaching techniques are used throughout the semester to convert the static text material to the living, dynamic discipline which is chemistry. Attendance may be checked periodically and will count toward the quiz/homework/attendance grade component.

Schedule

Anticipated laboratory and lecture schedule:
Titles for experiments

Textbook chapter table of contents

Lab is located in the Sampson Hoffland Laboratories building, room 233. 

Chem 114 Lab - A01: Tuesday 12:45 - 2:15 pm
Chem 114 Lab - A02: Thursday 12:45 - 2:15 pm

First half of semester:
Lecture: Chapters 1-3
Laboratory:
Introduction to the laboratory and safety
Investigation 30 – Measuring Fat in Potato Chips
Investigation 1 – The Chemistry of Air
Investigation 3 – Chromatographic Study of Dyes and Inks
Investigation 6 – Color and Light
Investigation 8 – Molecular Models, Bonds and Shapes

Second half of semester:
Lecture: Chapters 4, 8, 7, 6, 5
Laboratory:
Investigation 10. Verifying Molar Ratios in Chemical Reactions
Investigation 9. Measuring molecular and molar masses
Investigation 12. Comparing the energy content of fuels
Investigation 24. Exploring electrochemistry
Investigation 13. Preparation and Properties of Biodiesel
Investigation 11. Hot stuff: an energy conservation problem
Investigation 19. Reactions of acids with common substances
Preparation of soap

Reading and Homework

Readings and homework from the text will be assigned. Students are expected to do homework to practice for quizzes and exams. Specific information about readings and homework, including due dates, will usually be posted in the announcements section on katie. For a particular homework set, the problems may be graded in detail, the problems may be reviewed to see that they have been completed, or a random selection of the problems may be chosen for detailed grading. There may or may not be time in lecture to deal with homework problems; the student should count on getting his/her homework done outside of class. Working in groups on homework problems is recommended and encouraged. Show all work—not just a brief answer—on all assignments, unless directed otherwise by the instructor. It is anticipated that students might work in groups to solve homework problems; however, each student must turn in his/her own homework, which should be substantially his/her own work. Only fellow Luther students, Luther College staff, the text, other material assigned by the instructor, and/or the answers at the back of the text may be consulted when solving homework problems; no other materials in printed or electronic form may be used—the Honor Code must be observed.

Attendance and other assignments can be counted as homework.

Quizzes

Quizzes are like mini-exams. Occasional quizzes may be given in class. Quizzes may be announced, and textbook sections to be covered made explicit, or they may be "spot" quizzes covering material recently discussed in lecture. Some quiz questions may be challenge problems—problems not exactly like problems already encountered—to measure student problem solving skills. Quizzes may have multiple components including (possibly) fill in the blank, worked out problems, multiple choice, etc. The best way to prepare for quizzes in this course is by re-working, and coming to an understanding of, the problems which have caused you difficulty in the past. It is also a good idea to re-work lecture problems and to work (and/or re-work) problems suggested during lecture. As a review of chapter material, see the Chapter Summary section at the end of each chapter. Students are required to take quizzes at the appointed time unless other arrangements are made prior to the test. Show all work—not just a brief answer—on all quizzes, unless directed otherwise by the instructor. Cell phone calculators and other devices that are connected to the internet or other communications systems are not allowed during quizzes.

Exams

Exams during the semester are designed to test student understanding of chemistry and societal issues associated with the environment. Each exam is one-hour long. Students are required to take exams at the appointed time unless other arrangements are made prior to the test. If you are unable to take the exam on the day scheduled, the instructor has the option of giving a different equivalent examination. Exams typically have multiple components including (possibly) fill in the blank, worked out problems, multiple choice, etc. The best way to prepare for exams in this course is by re-working, and coming to an understanding of, the problems which have caused you difficulty in the past. It is also a good idea to re-work lecture problems and to work (and/or re-work) problems suggested during lecture. As a review of chapter material, see the Chapter Summary section at the end of each chapter. Show all work—not just a brief answer—on all exams, unless directed otherwise by the instructor. Some exam questions may be challenge problems to measure student problem solving skills. Some exam problems may be taken from the laboratory component of the course; in this event, specific lab experiments to be covered on the exam will be made explicit. Textbook sections to be covered will also be made explicit. Cell phone calculators and other devices that are connected to the internet or other communications systems are not allowed during exams.

Final Exam

The final exam will cover material from the second half of the semester. The date of the final exam is set by the Registrar's Office. Except in cases of College-approved family or personal emergencies, all students are required to take the final exam at the time scheduled by the Registrar of the College; out of fairness to all of the students in the class, no other exceptions will be made; make your end-of-semester transportation arrangements accordingly. Cell phone calculators and other devices that are connected to the internet or other communications systems are not allowed during exams.

Lab

All chemistry knowledge is ultimately derived from laboratory experiments; hence, the laboratory experience is essential to a study of chemistry. Laboratory experiments in Chemistry 114 are designed to reinforce chemical principles and techniques discussed in the lecture component of the course. Lab problems may show up on quizzes and exams. Lab attendance is required and will be checked. Students must perform and turn in reports for all experiments in order to get credit for Chemistry 114. If, due to legitimate reasons, you cannot make it to your scheduled lab period during a given week, contact me to see if you can go to a different section that week. Lab is located in the Sampson Hoffland Laboratories building, room 233.

The Luther College Chemistry Department places a high priority on safety in the laboratory. The Chemistry Department requires all students to have broad safety training before working in the laboratory. This will take place during the first lab period of the semester. Additional, experiment-specific safety training will take place for each experiment performed over the course of the semester.

The chemistry department does not lend out goggles except in extreme circumstances. You will be able to store your eye protection in the lab for the semester. Please dress appropriately for lab - closed-toed shoes are a must!!! If you are wearing open-toed shoes (sandals), you will not be allowed to work in the lab.

Grading

Exams (2): 68%
Quiz/Homework/Other Assignments : 12%
Lab: 20%
Total: 100%

Course percentages are weighted averages calculated in the following way:
0.68*exam ave + 0.12*hw + 0.2*lab (or extra homework) = weighted ave for the course. Here's an example of the calculation for a person have the following averages: Exam = 79.5; hw = 100; lab = 100. 0.68*79.5 + 0.12*100 + 0.2*100 = 86.1. 86.1 is the weighted course average for that person. A curve is then applied to the weighted course average.

You have two weeks after a score is posted or a report or quiz is returned—whichever is later—to bring to the lecture instructor's attention potential errors in the scoring. After two weeks, a score will not be changed.

After all of the graded components are weighted into the average score, adjustments are made to ensure that this average is at least a "B." Scores are never curved down, so that a final average will always yield a letter grade at least as high as shown on the table below. The following grading scale will be used.

A: 93-100%
A-: 90-92%
B+: 87-89%
B: 83-87%
B-: 80-82%
C+: 77-79%
C: 73-76%
C-: 70-72%
D+: 67-69%
D: 63-66%
D-: 60-62%
F: 0-59%

Scores, grades, etc., will usually be posted on KATIE.

Lab and lecture schedules are subject to modifications, as is staffing. Everything else on this syllabus is final.