Chemistry 151: Chemical Principles I


FALL 2021


Section A: MWF 8:00 a.m. in Valders Hall 367 Section B: MWF 11:00 a.m. in Valders Hall 367
C. Mertzenich C. Mertzenich
Office: Sampson Hoffland Lab 390F Office: Sampson Hoffland Lab 390F
Email: [email protected] Email: [email protected]
Phone: 563-387-1626 Phone: 563-387-1626


Workbook: CHEM 151 Fall 2021 workbook: available at the Luther College bookstore.

iClicker+ remote: An iClicker+ remote is required for this class. The clicker remote can be purchased from the bookstore or online and may be previously used. You will need to register your clicker on the course KATIE site (instructions are posted on KATIE site).

Calculators: You will need a calculator for this course and for exams. During exams, the use of graphing calculators is not allowed. You may use any calculator during class and on homework, but a simple calculator with a logarithm key is sufficient. We recommend the Texas Instruments model 30X-IIS calculator.

BeSocratic: This is the electronic homework platform that will be used for the lecture part of this course. You will need to purchase and set up an account; instructions to do this are on the course KATIE page.


Textbook:  An electronic version of Chemistry, Life the Universe and Everything (CLUE) by Melanie M. Cooper and Michael W. Klymkowsky will be provided to you at no cost. In addition, you will be given links to on-line resources that will be useful.


Materials for Lab:  You will need a lab notebook and safety goggles for the lab (other lab information will be given in class during the first laboratory period).



●   Build a foundation from which to pursue further study in chemistry or related disciplines

●   Prioritize learning to think like a chemist rather than collecting bits to chemistry trivia

●   Enable students to become more efficient self-directed learners


●   Be actively engaged in the course (prepare for, participate in, and review after each class period)

●   Dedicate time to think through homework and prepare for exams

●   Respect and aid your fellow classmates

●   Check the course KATIE site regularly


●   Homework (10%)

●   Clicker questions (4%)

●   Exam I (18%)

●   Exam II (20%)

●   Exam III (22%)

●   Practice exams (6%)

●   Lab (20%)




Chemical Principles I is the first semester of a two-semester introductory chemistry course sequence. This course provides a basic understanding of key chemistry principles and develops the necessary skills to apply chemical concepts, critical thinking, and analysis to solve pertinent chemical problems. This course will use the chemistry curriculum Chemistry, Life, the Universe and Everything. The curriculum is based on research on learning and designed to help you to learn the fundamental concepts of chemistry. While the approach may be somewhat different from what you are used to, we believe (and have evidence) that you will finish this course with a deeper understanding of chemistry principles, and that you will be able to use this knowledge in subsequent courses. That is, you will learn what you need to know for further study in chemistry and other related subjects.



We will be studying Chapters 1-5 of Chemistry, Life, the Universe and Everything

Chapter 1: Atoms

Chapter 2: Electrons and Orbitals

Chapter 3: Elements, Bonding, and Physical Properties

Chapter 4: Heterogeneous Compounds

Chapter 5: Systems Thinking

Students in this course will learn to:

o   Explain and model how the existence of atoms leads to the conservation of matter.

o   Use appropriate models and theories to describe chemical and physical phenomena.

o   Construct representations of chemical species and use them to predict chemical and physical properties.

o   Explain how and why the atomic-molecular structure affects the properties of a substance, and vice versa.

o   Predict and explain the energy changes associated with interactions of atoms, molecules, and ions.

o   How to apply systems thinking to both molecular level and macroscopic systems.



In a traditional classroom the flow of information is typically from the instructor to the students. While this is a very efficient way to deliver simple information and learn skills (such as numerical problem solving and material to be memorized), it is not a very effective way to learn complex subjects, like chemistry. In order to learn something well, it is important to think about the concepts you are learning, understand their implications, and when faced with a new problem, be able to be explicitly aware about your assumptions and clarify your understanding.

In class, we will not linger on introducing terminology, but rather focus on processing and applying concepts. Our approach during class time is to ask you lots of questions, have you work in groups on worksheets/activities, interact with the instructor to facilitate learning, and based on your answers, we will provide feedback, more questions − and some answers! While it may seem easier to just tell you what we want you to know and how to solve problems, we have found that this approach is not very effective at promoting learning. The goal of this class is to help you become a self-directed learner, and to teach you skills that will be advantageous for the rest of your life. Learning how to learn (and how to think) is difficult and it is understandable if you come to feel a bit bewildered initially, but bear with us—you will learn more, in more depth, than you would in a traditional lecture format.

The role of the instructor in this course is to help you understand the concepts and materials in the course. There will be many different methods to accomplish this, many of which require you to become active participants in the classroom. A typical class period will consist of short lectures, clicker questions, group activities, and summarizing discussion of the material. Questions are always welcome both during class and outside of class time. But, in the long run, what you get from this course depends on you. Come to class ready to ask and answer questions, think critically, and draw connections between new material and your prior knowledge.


The assessment in this course will consist of:

Homework (10%):

Homework questions will be assigned for each topic we cover in this course. Homework assignments will be administered through the online homework program beSocratic (registration information available on course KATIE site). These assignments will help to cement your understanding of the course concepts. It is your responsibility to keep up with the homework and readings assigned for each class period. Completing them is critical for your success in this course. No amount of observation can substitute for the experience of working through problems on your own. While you are welcome to talk through problems with your classmates, you must submit your own work. All assignments and due dates will be posted on the course KATIE site. Each week, beSocratic homework assignments will be due on Thursdays at 12pm (noon). If you will be away, assignments must be completed in advance. No credit will be assigned for work turned in late. We will have limited time to spend during class discussing homework so full answers to homework problems will be worked out in videos posted on the KATIE site, but ensuring that you understand concepts is your responsibility.

Participation and clicker questions (4%):

You are encouraged and expected to attend all lectures and participate in group and/or individual activities during class, except for unavoidable circumstances (see COVID-19 statement below). Attendance is important for your learning and you will be responsible for all material covered in the lectures, much of which is not in the textbook. If you are absent, it is your responsibility to get notes from a classmate and make up work. We will be using iClicker+ remotes for in-class polls throughout the semester. Multiple-choice questions will be asked in class and you will answer using your remote. You will be given points for answering questions, not whether or not your response is correct. Using clickers will allow us to generate real-time snapshots of class progress on a topic, which means all students can contribute an equal voice to the progress of the course. Please remember to bring your clicker to class every day. Because your responses may be used for contact tracing purposes this semester, please notify your instructor if you forget your clicker remote. Please note that voting with a clicker of a person who is not present in the class at the time of clicker quiz is an honor code violation.

Exams (60%)

There will be three exams throughout the semester. The semester exams will be held on:

1. Wednesday, September 29th

2. Monday, November 8th

3. Monday, December 13th: Sect A @ 8 am; Sect. B @ 10:15 am.

Each of these exams will be given in person, if possible, but specific details about the exam format will follow as the exam date approaches.

Rules for exams:

o   During exams, you are only allowed to keep pencils, erasers, and a non-graphing calculator with you.

o   Cell phones and other electronic devices are not allowed anywhere near you during an exam. If you are found with one, it is grounds for an honor code violation.

o   Students requiring accommodations such as extended time or private exam rooms must consult with the CAE ( in order to obtain a formal, written request for accommodation. 

o   If you will be absent for an exam, you must discuss this with your instructor at least two weeks prior to the exam. In the instances where an alternative exam date is granted, the instructor reserves the right to administer an exam that differs in content from the exam given on the scheduled date.

o   Upon receiving graded exams, students have one week to bring any grading errors to the instructor’s attention, after one week has passed, changes in scores will not be accommodated.

Practice Exams (6%):

Prior to each semester exam, there will be a practice exam on the course KATIE site. The practice exams are meant to help you prepare for the real exam and therefore, you will have multiple tries to answer each question. The attempt with the best score will be recorded for this portion of your grade.

Laboratory (20%):

This course has a co-requisite of the lab CHEM-151L. Chemical Principles lab will begin the first full week of class. Prior to performing your first experiment, you must have completed the Safety Quiz (see Lab KATIE site); this will be done in your lab section during the first full week of classes. Your laboratory periods are scheduled separately from this class and breakdown of the grade is given in your lab materials. The final lab grade is then folded back into the grade for this course, accounting for 20% of the grade for the entire course. Completion of all laboratories is mandatory (if you have more than one unexcused absence or more than one missed lab summary you will receive a failing grade for the course). You can't pass chem 151 if you receive a failing grade (<60%) in the lab component. The student learning goals for the CHEM 151 laboratory are intentionally distinctive from the CHEM 151 lecture learning goals to enable a broad chemistry experience across diverse learning environments.


CHEMPAL is CHEMistry Peer Assisted Learning. This is free assistance specifically for CHEM 151 that is available to everyone. There will be several sessions each week in which a chemistry instructor or tutor will be available to help you specifically for this course. Each session will be held in Valders 367, unless announced otherwise. The schedule for this tutoring will be posted on the KATIE site. Please take advantage of this resource, but when you are in a CHEMPAL session, please plan to be actively engaged in CHEM 151 material and do not be disruptive to others by working on coursework from other courses. You are expected to follow all classroom pandemic protection protocols (see COVID-19 statement below) in the CHEMPAL session.


All students are expected to adhere to a standard of academic conduct as outlined by the Luther College Honor Code. Academic dishonesty by a student will not be tolerated as it threatens the foundation of an institution dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge.


Luther College recognizes the importance of diversity within the classroom and is committed to providing an inclusive environment where all feel respected, valued and accepted. Scientific advancement occurs when individuals collaborate and bring together different ideas. Each individual’s unique viewpoint and experiences bring important elements to the discussion of science and accepting and embracing this diversity will help in understanding the complex world in which we live. Students in this course are encouraged to speak up and participate during class meetings. Because the class will represent a diversity of individual beliefs, backgrounds, and experiences, every member of this class must show respect for every other member of this class.

The recording (both audio and video) of any part of this class is prohibited. Meetings of this course may be recorded by the instructor. Any recordings that are made available to students who are registered for this course for educational purposes may not be reproduced or shared. Videos from this course may not be uploaded to other online environments or stored in anyway. If you have a special circumstance in which you require a recording, please consult with your instructor directly.


Per Luther College guidelines, you may be required to wear a face covering over your nose and mouth in the classroom and laboratory. If you are unable to wear a mask for medical reasons, you may wear a face shield. If a face covering is required and you do not wear it, you will be asked to leave the classroom. Do not attend class if you are experiencing any of the COVID-19 symptoms. While in the classroom, please maintain college indicated physical distancing. Do not move any of the furniture in the classroom, which may have been positioned to maintain the required amount of physical distancing. According to Luther College policies, please respect distancing while entering and exiting the classroom. Finally, please monitor the Luther College Being Community webpage for any changes to pandemic-related protocols.

Although we hope it isn’t the case, in the midst of a pandemic, circumstances may make it impossible for you to attend class. If you will not be in class for any reason, it is your responsibility to inform your instructor in advance via email. If you are absent, it is your responsibility to make-up the work in this course. Your instructor will consult with you about the most effective strategy to keep up with the course, especially in the event of an extended absence. Students with disabilities should discuss their accommodations with the instructor early in the course to work out a plan that aligns with maintaining course expectations and learning goals.


If it becomes necessary to transition to a distance learning format, this course will meet synchronously on Zoom during the scheduled meeting times. Specific details regarding distance learning will be provided on the course KATIE site and via email. Your instructor may ask you to specify difficulties that might impede your success in online teaching and learning and will work with you to determine how to address them.



Given that CHEM 151 is a 100-level course, it is expected that a student will spend approximately four to six hours per week working outside of class for the lecture component of the course. The time required typically depends on one’s preparation before taking this course, the complexity of the material, and other factors. Work time outside of class includes, but is not limited to, working homework problems, reading recommended text and/or watching videos, and preparing for exams. If a student has questions or comments, he/she should consult with one of the  chemistry instructors.

Although there are no prerequisite courses for CHEM 151, some background knowledge of high school level algebra is expected. Before beginning the first class, you should be able to do the following:

o   Use mathematical terms and equations including: algebra, exponential numbers, logarithms, ratios, and proportions

o   Use significant figures

o   Interconvert between English and metric (SI) units

o   Make and read graphs

o   Interpret word problems


This syllabus is a prediction of how the course will progress but is subject to change. The order in which we cover the material, the dates of the exams and the breakdown of evaluation will not change. All important information will always be given in class and on the KATIE site.