Week of Nov 28


Spent first half of class reviewing gas laws and working on AP problems.  2nd half you worked on lab write-ups.


Because almost all groups had to work through some rather complicated calculations to detemine partial pressure, we spent all class doing the lab calculations.


Gases Test


Notes on Kinetics – collision theory, did Boltzmann Buck Rock Paper Scissors demo and did Boltzmann worksheet. Also went over potential energy diagrams, including activated complex.

HW: Effusion/Diffusion reading and questions + work on lab write-up


Today we reviewed collision theory and the Boltzmann Distribution.  I did some demos and went over the four factors that affect reaction rates and then you had some time to answer the following questions that were submitted for feedback:

  • Why does temperature affect reaction rate? Refer explicitly to collision theory and the Boltzmann distribution.
  • Why do catalysts affect reaction rate? Refer explicitly to collision theory and the Boltzmann distribution.

The second half of class we did ChemActivity 36 (in packet it comes after the effusion/diffusion assignment and after the catalyst article) that teaches you how to calculate reaction rate.   We skipped the activity on reaction rate graphs 17 but did do the Potential energy diagram worksheet.   The last 15 minutes of class I handed back your redox test and went over some of the commonly missed questions.

HW: finish lab write-up and catalytic convertor article and questions

Week of Nov 21


Most of you were out b/c of field trips, but some of the sophomore’s were here and worked on the lab.


Last day to collect data for lab

Rest of week: Thanksgiving!

Week of Nov 14


Today I showed a simplified derivation of PV= nRT.  You did some problems in the textbook and then derived 22.4.  Then you did some PV = nRT with stoichiometry problems  in the packet.  Then I gave you an equation for density and molar mass and asked you to derive an equation for molar mass in terms of density using PV=nRT.  Then you did a practice problem with that and we took a break.

The second half of class: started with an empirical and molecular formula problem that was mixed with PV=nRT and then I gave you the baggy challenge. Plump up a baggy with baking soda and vinegar.

HW: Textbook problems on empirical gas laws and ideal gas laws


Went over the Dumas Method of determining molar mass, then a bit of lecture on Real vs. Ideal Gases. I presented the van der Waals equation and then we did some problems in the packet (1982 and 1984)


Dalton’s law notes and derivation of mole fraction from partial pressures, notes on stoichiometry over water, etc. 2nd half we talked about why you can apply the mole ratio directly to the volume ratio when gases in a reaction are at constant P and T.  Then we worked on the multiple choice questions.


Design lab: Determine the ideal gas constant R and show that it is constant for at least 2 different gases.




Week of 11/7

Want to be a Science Fair Judge?

545-615 Dinner (optional)

615-830 Judging

If you can do it, you should fill out this form. 


Here’s your incentive: I will drop your lowest, non-missing grade for data collection, data analysis, and either one conclusion or one design grade during 2nd quarter.  The plan is to do at least 2 design labs in 2nd quarter.


Time to review for redox quiz. Then you took quiz. Note to self: This quiz apparently takes 2 blocks!


Grading day


KMT & Simulation


Gas laws review and practice. Read sections 5.1 and 5.2 or for video notes try these: 3.a.3.2 for Boyle, Charles and Gay-Lussac Problems, 3.a.3.3 for combined gas law, or this one that does not show math, just shows relationships between variables.

Do textbook problems: 5.39 to 5.49 odd only


No school. Veteran’s day.

Week of Oct 31


Today’s class was broken up into two halves, but the whole class was spent working on the activity series  lab. The first half we did the experimental part and the 2nd half we did the simulation.  (See Google Classroom) At the end of class I went over how to write half reactions for single replacement reactions. (see video on unit 4 page for help)


Today we went over a bunch of the analysis questions on the activity series lab (google classroom) and then we practiced balancing more challenging redox reactions in acidic and basic solution.  Most students made it through 2-3 redox reactions in the packet.


Today we worked on the Redox Titration lab (in packet and on google classroom). The first half you worked on the pre-lab – balancing redox rxns.  The 2nd half you took data.  Tomorrow we will work on the analysis.  Test is moved to Monday.  All should have turned in their lab notebooks unless they have an extension on their Alkali Carbonate Lab.


Today we worked on the calculations for Redox Titration lab. The goal was to finish by end of class.


Today we started with using table of standard reduction potentials to determine if a reaction will happen. We did practice problems in the packet.  Noticed the positive slope pattern that made it much easier!  Not for next year that the worksheet has an error on it (charge on S2O8 should be -2 and answers should say it is being reduced, not oxidized!).  We talked about how to predict stronger/weaker oxidizing/reducing agents and how to choose a good oxidizing agent for a redox titration.

HW: Study for Redox Quiz

Week of Oct 24


Reviewed for 2b test. Since I want you to take test w/o calculator I showed some sample problems that you could expect and some tricks for solving them w/o a calculator.  Most of the class was spent working problems or working on your alkali carbonate lab.


Test day. Test was too long. Will have to finish tomorrow.


I am out sick. We will finish test on Friday.  Today I want you to do 3 things

  1. watch these 2 videos & take notes
  2. update your online portfolio
  3. work on your alkali carbonate lab


Community Day – no class


Today you finished your test and then the rest of the block to work on the packets.

The packets are not numbered, but if you number each page starting with the Unit outline as page 1 and numbering even the empty back pages…

  • do page 3 based on video 1 above
  • do some of page 6 – just predicting the products and balancing w/o worrying if a reaction happens yet.  See this video for help on single replacement.
  • do page 7 & 8.  The rules for finding oxidation states are on pages 7 and 9 (page 9 has examples)
  • do page 12-13 using notes that start on bottom of page 9 or this video or this video .




Week of 10/17


Today we worked on gravimetric analysis problems. We started by reviewing double displacement reactions in the packet and then I went over a typical ga problem.  The rest of class you worked on textbook problems.


Today we started with the nomenclature quiz.  After that you worked on designing a lab to determine the alkali metal in an alkali metal carbonate.


No class b/c of PSATs


Worked on designing the lab to determine alkali metal. Here are example procedures.

HW: Chemical formulas lab due Friday morning!


Alkali Metal Carbonate Lab

Example Avogadro Lab Conclusion:

The Determination of Avogadro’s Number Lab was used to estimate Avogadro’s number experimentally. It’s also used to find the dimensions of an atom and determine the validity of the Oil Slick method of estimating Avogadro’s number. The experimental method used to determine Avogadro’s number was the oil slick method, which uses Oil (containing oleic acid and ethanol), lycopodium powder and water. The results of this experiment found that the Oil Slick method is not a valid method of determining Avogadro’s number as there is too much error involved in the process and false assumptions were made about the properties of the oil slick and molecule.

The mass and volume of oleic acid in a drop of oil was calculated by weighing several then dropped into a mixture of lycopodium powder and water. The ethanol in the oil then evaporated or dissolved in the water leaving the oleic acid(C17,H33COOH). The oleic acid displaced the water/lycopodium mixture as the oleic acid is nonpolar and the water is polar so the two don’t form a solution (also the water doesn’t dissolve the lycopodium, the powder rests on top of the water so when the water is displaced so is the powder, allowing to see the area of the oil slick). The nonpolar oleic acid lycopodium powder and formed a roughly circular monolayer(one molecule thick) slick on the surface of the water. The diameter of the circle formed was measured and then used, along with the volume of the oleic acid to estimate Avogadro’s number. We performed this procedure for three trials. To achieve more consistent results during this procedure, we had the same individual perform a specific task (ex. measuring the diameter of the slick, dropping the oil) for each trial.

Our group did the calculation of Avogadro’s number two different ways. For one set of calculations it was assumed that the height of one molecule of oleic acid was 20 atoms tall and for the other calculation it was assumed that one molecule was 19 atoms tall. Both these heights were supported as possible by a three dimensional model we formed of oleic acid. The calculated values for Avogadro’s number when using a molecule height of 20 atoms were: 1.12 x 1022 molecules (98.14%, 10.7 cm), 1.07 x 1022 molecules (98.22%, 10.9 cm), and 1.36 x 1022 molecules (97.74%, 11.1 cm). The calculated values for Avogadro’s number when using a molecule height of 19 atoms were 1.00 x 1022 molecules (98.34% error, 10.7 cm), 1.01 x 1022 molecules (98.32%, 10.9 cm) and 1.12 x 1022 molecules (98.04%, 11.1 cm). The difference between the use of 19 or 20 atoms made no appreciable difference on the result.

Our data is not valid because of the high percent error in our estimate of Avogadro’s number and the inaccuracy of our results. The percent error was over 98% for every trial that was conducted. The extreme inaccuracy in our calculations of Avogadro’s number can be contributed to several factors. This experiment made several assumptions, that if false, would’ve led to miscalculations and an incorrect estimate of Avogadro’s number. The assumption that the oil slick is one monolayer tall could be incorrect. If it was incorrect, it would invalidate the results of all the calculations made based on the idea that the layer was one molecule deep. This in turn would affect our results for Avogadro’s number. For instance, if the oil slick was actually five molecules tall, the average calculation for Avogadro’s number would be 5.35X1023, which is distinctly different from the result we found operating under the assumption that it was a monolayer. The assumption that the molecule was 20 atoms tall or 19 atoms tall could also be incorrect. It’s more likely that the Oleic Acid molecule is 19 atoms tall as when we did our calculations and accounted for 19 atoms in the height of the molecule, the percent error of Avogadro’s number was smaller. The average percent error using 20 atoms was 98.03%, whereas the average percent error for 19 atoms was 98.23%. Though the difference in percent error is small, the 20 atoms calculation still are closer to the accepted value it can be inferred that the molecule is more likely to be 20 atoms as opposed to 19 atoms.

Our experiment was also not accurate due to a systematic error made in measuring the diameter of the oil slick, which would lead to miscalculations in estimating Avogadro’s number. The average diameter of the oil slick was 10.9, but if you calculate the diameter of the oil slick by working backwards from Avogadro’s number, it’s closer to 17. The largest diameter, 11.1 cm, had a smaller percent error than the two smaller diameters of 10.7 cm and 10.9. The 11.1 cm had a percent error of 97.74% (assuming that the molecule is 19 atoms tall) and the 10.7 cm and 10.9 cm diameters have percent errors of 98.14% and 98.22%. If we were to increase the diameter of the oil slick to 17 cm and readjust the calculations, the estimate of Avogadro’s number is now 1.616 x 1023. The percent error of the new calculation is 73.16%, which is still high, but substantially lower than the original calculations, which had an average diameter of 10.9 cm and a percent error of 98.04%. As we increase the diameter of the oil slick, the estimate of Avogadro’s number gets closer to the accepted value.

As our estimates of Avogadro’s number are inaccurate, but relatively precise, it can be assumed that a systematic error was made in measuring the oil slick. When we measured the oil slick, we measured the largest diameter and the smallest diameter and averaged the two values, using the average as the diameter. This could’ve led to the diameter being smaller than it actually was. In addition, the circle formed by displacing the water and lycopodium powder was not even close to a perfect circle. It had many irregularities in its curve and diameter, which could’ve led to incorrect measurements of the diameter. The mass of the added lycopodium powder to the water could’ve added more resistance to the oil slick, making it harder to displace the water. Since it was harder to displace, the water wouldn’t have been pushed back as far, and thus the diameter was smaller than it actually should’ve been.

Even accounting for systematic error in measuring the diameter of the oil slick, there was still a percent error of 73.16%. This could’ve been due to the assumption that the height of the oil slick was only one monolayer, or we could have miscalculated the amount of oleic acid in one drop. If the amount of oleic acid in one drop had been too much, it would’ve decreased the estimate of Avogadro’s number, putting it further from the accepted value. It’s likely that we overvalued the weight of oleic acid in one drop of oil, leading to us underestimating Avogadro’s number.

This method was proven to not be a valid way to estimate Avogadro’s number. This was due to the tremendous amount of error that can not be accounted for when calculating on the molecular level. One major flaw was the fact that the desired thin film of lycopodium powder could not be achieved, this would lead to the oil not taking the shape of a perfect circle. Without having a perfect circle measuring an accurate diameter is practically impossible, and when calculating on the subatomic level having this measurement off can drastically jar the results. To improve this experiment a better substitute for the lycopodium powder should be used. The substitute should be able to settle in one uniformly thin layer across the surface of water, allowing for the oil slick to take the shape of a perfect circle. However, it should be noted that this experiment has a large amount of variables to control, requires measurements of the utmost accuracy and makes many assumptions. Therefore it is highly recommended that a different method should be used for those looking to execute an experiment with a low percent error.        



Week of 10/10


No school. Columbus Day.


Review of molarity and dilutions, including solutions with common ions and molarity of ions.


Electrolyte lab.  I described how to make solutions, you guys made solutions using volumetric glassware than we measured conductivity of each of the 0.1 M solutions. The last bit of class you put data in spreadsheet

HW: Answer questions on google classroom. For grades see Lab rubric Content section.



Today we went over neutralization reactions – including how to write complete ionic and net ionic reactions.  You learned what a spectator ion is.  We did some volumetric analysis problems from the textbook and then learned to name acids.  Here’s today’s notes.

HW: Acid naming practice. Review naming for Tuesday’s quiz. Finish electrolyte lab.



Today we started with about an hour working limiting reactant problems from the packet.  I showed two other methods for finding the limiting reactant. Then I showed how to solve combustion analysis problems and you had about 10 minutes to work on textbook problems for this (3.16, 3.63, 3.103, 3.120).   Today’s notes. For the last 25 minutes of class you broke up into groups based on color of paper (one color per group) and then took turns explaining the math behind each of the methods.  Lastly you decided on procedures in your group – how much you will use, how long and how many times you will heat.  My requirements are that your final result give you 3 sig figs and that you have a reason for each procedural step.  I will provide a mixture that is between 25 and 80% sodium bicarbonate.

Video: Empirical Formula from Combustion Analysis (for AP! but there is a typo! The compound is not made of C, O and N, but C, H and N. On Youtube)

HW: Work on textbook and packet problems. Test is Thursday. We will review on Wed.


Today we did the determination of composition of a mixture lab. I also added on that you would dehydrate the alum crystals and see if you actually got a compound with 12 waters of hydration… This unfortunately took more than one class to complete =( so we continued with the lab on Wed.


Today you finished up both the determination of composition of a mixture and the alum crystals lab. Test was postponed to Friday B block.


Today you worked problems from packet and textbook in preparation for tomorrow’s test on stoichiometry.


Today you had until 10 am to study/ work practice problems and then we started the test on stoichiometry.

HW: Review molarity and dilutions.  Videos 2. b.1.2 and 2.b.1.5 Do #1 and 2 on page 2 of packet. Here’s more basic molarity practice if you need it.

Summer Science Opportunities:


For current high school juniors only: This is a fabulous program. Do not hesitate for your high school junior to apply. The online application deadline is October 30, 2016.

Here is the link for more information and to apply:  http://www.vasts.spacegrant.org/  .  Students get 2 free college credits for completing the online course. The top students are selected for the summer academy at NASA Langley and get 2 more free credits!

Here are a few videos made by students that attended our summer academies:


Week one 2016:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MC82l-G8pig


Week one 2015:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yunJ3iA6ZBc


Week 3 2013:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYkVlAVHxpc




For CURRENT 11th and 12 graders only:  VIRGINIA EARTH SCIENCE SYSTEMS SCHOLARS!!!  Click the link for more information and the application. The online application deadline is October 30, 2016.




The Virginia Earth System Science Scholars (VESSS) program is an interactive on-line science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning experience, highlighted by a seven-day residential summer academy at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Students selected to participate in the program are immersed in NASA-related research through interaction with scientists, engineers and technologists. The program is a partnership between the Virginia Space Grant Consortium and NASA Langley Research Center with assistance from Hampton University. The Virginia Earth System Science Scholars program propose to build on the success of the award-winning Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars (VASTS) program, a program which has offered dual enrollment credit, through TNCC, to over 2900 students since 2008.


VESSS 2016 Week 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psyxMvAGViM


VESSS 2016 Week 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNGbVpA0g9w


Week of 9/26 + NASA STEM Programs for High School students


Alum synthesis lab


Test 1B on formulas

HW: Review stoichiometry (see videos under unit 2 or read sections 3.6 & 3.7 in textbook)


Filter crystals and Micromole rockets lab for juniors/sophomores b/c seniors on trip.

HW: Review stoichiometry (see videos under unit 2 or read sections 3.6 & 3.7 in textbook)


Stoich review and Percent Yield lecture.  Last half of class you measured your crystals and calculated percent yield for lab.   Today’s notes.

HW: See google classroom for lab instructions. See unit outline and first pages of packet for textbook problems on stoichiometry and PY.


Today we started with practice % yield problems in the packet.  Then we drew pics on big paper of the Micromole rockets lab trials. I had you point out which ratio made the most H2O which was the trial that had the largest popping sound because it produced the most H2O.  Then we labeled the excess and limiting reactants in the other trials to get some practice understanding limiting and excess reactants. Next we tried the limiting reactants problems on the next page of the packet (after percent yield problems, mistakenly labeled pg 17).  Most of you struggled quite a bit with this once we got past molecules and into moles that weren’t even numbers so I showed you the mathematical way to do this.  There is a video under unit 2.  Here’s the notes from today.

The 2nd half of class we started with the Determine Composition of a Mixture Lab.  I handed out different example lab reports to each group. You used these to understand the method, especially the math.

HW: You should do the pre-lab (see packet just before the micromole rockets lab at the back) and set up your lab notebook. You should also practice Percent Yield and Limiting Reactant problems.

Interested in a NASA program?

The Virginia Space Grant Consortium would like to share the following information about the following FREE NASA-related programs for Virginia’s high school students interested in STEM.

Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars (VASTS) is a NASA-based program for 11th grade students and STEM teachers who are interested in aerospace-related science, technology, engineering and/or math (STEM). This course focuses on space mission design and human space flight. Master Teacher positions are also available.

Virginia Earth Systems Science Scholars (VESSS) is a NASA-based program for 11th/12th grade students and STEM teachers who are interested in Earth Systems Science-related science, technology, engineering and/or math (STEM). This course focuses on Earth Systems Science and the NASA mission that help study these topics. Master Teacher positions are available.

Virginia Space Coast Scholars (VSCS) is a NASA-based STEM program for 10th grade students who are interested in NASA’s space, Earth, and airborne science-related missions managed by NASA Wallops Flight Facility. Master Teacher positions are available.

For high school juniors, Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars (VASTS) is an interactive online learning course with a space mission design and human space flight theme, culminating in a one-week residential Summer Academy at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton for those students who qualify. Offered at no cost to the student, VASTS consists of eight modules and a final project to be completed from November 2016 through May 2017 under the guidance of licensed master educators. Based on success in the online coursework, students may be selected to attend a Summer Academy where they interact with NASA scientists, engineers and technologists to design a human mission to Mars. Students who successfully participate in VASTS can apply to earn 2 college credits for the online course and 2 additional credits for the Summer Academy.

Please direct students or other faculty to the website for program information and application, http://vasts.spacegrant.org . The deadline for student applications is October 30th, 2016.

For more information on this program, please contact:

Ian Cawthray

VASTS Education Program Coordinator


Or visit: http://vasts.spacegrant.org

For High School juniors and seniors, Virginia Earth System Science Scholars (VESSS) is an interactive, on-line Earth System Science Course featuring NASA scientific research and data. The course will be offered for dual enrollment college credit (statewide through TNCC) for high school juniors and seniors beginning in spring semester 2016.

By combining detailed Earth System Science content with real world data analysis, students will be exposed to a rigorous course that will work across science disciplines to cultivate 21st Century Learning Skills. The program will focus on preparing students for the rigors of college and careers while allowing them to develop strong science-based skills such as critical thinking and inquiry-based problem solving. VESSS will have two components. The first component is an online sixteen-week course running from December through April. The second component is a residential NASA Summer Academy at NASA Langley Research Center for students who perform well in the course. Students who successfully participate in VESSS can apply to earn 3 college credits for the online course and 1 additional credit for the Summer Academy.

Please direct students or other faculty to the website for program information and application, http://vsgc.odu.edu/VESSS/. The deadline for student applications is October 30th, 2016.

For more information on this program, please contact:

Joyce Corriere

VESSS Education Program Coordinator


Or visit: http://vsgc.odu.edu/VESSS/

For high school sophomores, the Virginia Space Coast Scholars (VSCS) is a program focusing on the earth and airborne science, engineering, and technology integral to current missions at NASA Wallops Flight Facility and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. This dynamic (and FREE) program, designed by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC), inspires students who possess technical and/or scientific interests and are motivated to learn about the many different opportunities that NASA offers.

The VSCS program features two key elements: 1.) an on-line science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning experience featuring five modules; and 2.) a seven-day residential Summer Academy at NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, VA where selected scholars will learn first-hand from NASA professionals about cutting edge technologies and missions. Program Information:

  • FREE Program for 10th Grade Students
  • Online modules covering NASA aircraft, balloon, and sounding rocket missions launched or managed at Wallops Flight Facility
  • Online course runs from December 2016 through April 2017
  • Highly successful students will be selected for a week long Summer Academy at NASA Wallops Flight Facility (Chincoteague, VA)
  • The deadline for student applications is October 30th, 2016
  • http://vscs.spacegrant.org/ for application and more information

For more information, please contact Kirsten Manning, Education Program Coordinator, at kmanning@odu.edu.