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SCC612: AP Chemistry (2012-2013)

CURRICULUM PROGRAM: Advanced Placement
CALENDAR YEAR: 2012-2013

About the Program:
AP Chemistry provides an orderly development of the fundamental concepts and principles of chemistry with an emphasis on inquiry and critical thinking skills including problem solving, mathematical reasoning, and experimental investigations. Topics of study include structure of matter, states of matter, chemical reactions, and descriptive chemistry. Laboratory work is an integral component of this course. Technology including graphing calculators, probe ware, graphing and data analysis software, and chemistry apparatus is used throughout this course.

Though our system has an open enrollment policy, students should understand that this course is designed to be a second year chemistry course, and the equivalent of a yearlong introductory, college level general chemistry course. The course requires a working knowledge of chemistry, and second-year algebra. The breadth, pace and depth of material covered exceeds the standard high school Chemistry course, as does the college-level textbook, laboratory work, and time and effort required of students. Students are expected to take the AP Chemistry Exam at the end of this course.

Laboratory Requirement: Students who take this course spend a minimum of 30% of their time engaged in hands-on laboratory exercises.

Major Concepts/Content: AP Chemistry is a college-level course which differs from a high school Chemistry course in terms of depth of coverage, the type of laboratory work and time commitments for study. The topics in AP Chemistry are detailed in the AP Chemistry course description, which is available on AP Central (

Course Objectives:

  • To understand the fundamental concepts and principles of chemistry through the investigation of chemical phenomena, theories and experimental methods.
  • To develop problem solving skills, and mathematical reasoning, through the active asking and answering of testable questions, and employing the components of a well-designed experimental investigation.
  • To foster scientific habits of mind including curiosity, creativity, and objectivity.
  • To understand the interconnections of chemistry to the other sciences, society, culture, and technology.

Course Philosophy: Scientific inquiry is the basis of this course. Scientific inquiry is defined as the diverse ways in which scientists study the natural world and propose explanations based on the evidence derived from their work. Scientific inquiry also refers to the activities through which students develop knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, as well as an understanding of how scientists study the natural world (NSTA, 2004). This includes active use of the well-designed investigation in which students: 1) form testable questions and hypotheses, 2) design and conduct appropriate investigative procedures, including the identification and control of appropriate variables, 3) organize, display and critically analyze results, 4) draw inferences, summarize results and develop conclusions, and 5) communicate their results for critique by others. Based on the philosophy that scientific knowledge is best acquired through inquiry, the course uses a variety of techniques to promote inquiry in the classroom (ex. multiple revisions, high quality questioning, synthesis, making conclusions based on evidence, etc).

Instruction is designed and sequenced to provide students with learning opportunities in the appropriate settings. They include laboratories, classrooms, forms of technology, and field studies. Teaching strategies include in depth laboratory investigations, demonstrations, collaborative peer-to-peer discussions, and student hands-on experiences. Inquiry requires adequate and timely access to the technology of scientific investigations including computers, internet and online resources, probe ware, graphing calculators, databases, spreadsheets, word processes and presentation software, as well as the experimental apparatus of chemistry.