Inorganic Chemistry - Course Description

Friday, August 22, 2014

The 10th grade chemistry block is an experience-based exploration of chemical processes, especially those involving salts, acids, and bases. We investigate the properties of solutions through experiments that involve dissolving various “salts” in water, the universal solvent, with varying temperature. We examine the importance of solubility and the “solubility limit”, along with its temperature dependence. Students use microscopes to compare and contrast the various forms of substances, including crystals formed out of solution via precipitation and/or evaporation. Several relatively large crystals are slowly grown in the laboratory, demonstrating a variety of color and form.

The properties of acids, bases and salts are investigated in relation to our senses of taste and touch and their location and function within the human body. Standard indicators are introduced with their individual color spectra so that students learn how to test for the presence and relative strength of an acid or a base. Again through experimentation, we study the formation of acids and bases either as complementary pairs arising out of heating a salt or out of oxidation of a pure substance. The electrolysis of water and conductivity measurements help introduce concepts involving the structure of chemical compounds and clarify further the meaning of “pH”.

If there is time, final experiments involve “displacement” reactions, with application to launching a projectile and the study of sodium metal.

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