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Introduction to Chemistry

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Regional School Unit 16


Unknown, Michelle Smith




What is Chemistry? An obvious guess would be that it is the study of chemicals. That’s not inaccurate, but what does that mean, exactly? A good working definition of chemistry is the study of matter . Now, since matter is defined as any material substance that occupies space and has mass, that means the topic of Chemistry covers quite a bit. And indeed it does. Chemistry involves study of the structure, properties, and behavior of matter, especially on a very-small level (think of a few atoms at a time). As a science, Chemistry is not satisfied simply by observation and simple description: it also requires understanding what happens out of sight, either too small or too fast for us to observe, and demands that we make predictions. That is Chemistry, and that is what you will do in this course. Make no mistake: Chemistry is a painstaking science, where attention to detail is of utmost importance. One aspect of Chemistry that is different from much of the other science you have done so far is that you can often easily see the effects of your concepts, but rarely can you actually see what you are talking about. We will be studying atoms & molecules all year, and yet you will never, ever see one in this classroom. That helps make the course a challenging undertaking, with specific terminology and abstract content, and one that will demand of you significant attention to detail and persistence. PRHS offers two chemistry courses; Intro to Chem and Chemistry. This course, Intro to Chem is less rigorous & math centered then the regular Chem and provides students with a fun introduction to the basics of Chemistry.