Questions from the First ACA

1. what are the labs like

Look forward to week 3 of the semester when we start laboratory experiments. Checkout Experiment #1. Also look at the information about laboratory during week 3 on your Assignment page.

2. How to study for chemistry tests? All the ways to study and be ready for tests, homework, and labs? How do you train yourself to not miss little things in questions so that you don't make simple mistakes?

Practice doing problems, then practice doing problems, finally (did I tell you this yet...) practice doing problems!

3. "what's due next class" :)

An ACA by midnight of the day before class, and a PLE before class starts. Miss the deadlines and you will have a 'Late' note on your Review PLE or Review ACA Page on your Personal Page.

4. During the final exam what exactly will we be examined on?

Check out Week 17 on the Assignment page and check out the podcasts for this semester. There are sample exams so you can see the type of questions asked.

5. Are the tests we take curved or how does that work?

At the end of the semester I add up your points on exams, problem sets and labs (see ACA#1). IF you have the points for an get an A, etc. I DO NOT adjust points on exams, problem sets or labs based on the overall performance. I shoot for a 65% class average. This is always achieved. Typically my exam averages are between 53% and 58%. Thank heavens for higher averages on PS and Lab grades!

6. Are we suppose to print out the PLEs and the ACAs and take them to class after we submit them?

Up to you...I strongly recommend it!

7. Do most people do well in your class?

For the Fall 2007 semester 13% A : 17 % B : 50% C : 15% D and 5% F (approximately)

8. Do you have any extra credit?

No, other than the information page at the beginning of the semester. My goal in this class is to treat every student the same (be consistent), so every student has the same opportunities as any other students. I drop problem sets and labs that will deal with small problems that may occur during the semester. Miss an exam for an excused reason I'll substitute your score from Exam 5 (comprehensive final). That is it.

9. How closely do the tests follow the lectures?

If you learn the material the exams correspond directly to what is covered in lecture, PS, DCIs, PLEs and ACAs. If you have to memorize the material than some of the questions on the exam will 'look' different, and you may not figure out how to answer such questions within the time frame of the exam.

10. How much studying a night do you expect us to put into your class?

That is an individual issue. However, I always go by the rule of 2 - 3 hours outside of class for every hour in class. In CHEM 1314 there are 5 in class hours so I expect 10 - 15 hours outside of class. And with our web site and the information that is included, you can easily spend that amount of time. If you are good with math, and have had some chemistry in a previous life...less time per week. If you have trouble with percentages, and other mathematical calculations you will need to be at the higher end of the time needed per week. I recommend being conservative...spend the max amount of time at the beginning and see how the first exam goes. That way you will not get abused!

11. How to use significant figures?

See PLE#2 when it is posted and checkout Chapter 1. Lots of rules for significant figures. Multiplication and division rules are easy. Addition and subtraction rules lay waste many out!

12. how were all the elements discovered?

We will not spend any time on such a question. We can look that up on wikipedia. Got a favorite element? (mine is molybdenum) Check it out.

13. how you would solve question 4 on the ACA?

Check out the Response page and see how the Expert did it...make sense? Good! Makes no sense....come to class and see if I answer the question...ask the question in class. Something like Q4 on the ACA I will not spend time answering that specific question so if you need an answer see me after class, office hours, e-mail. However, I will discuss percentages since they are on PS#1 (having fun yet?).

13A. HOW well will we need to know percentages?!

Percentages will popup occasionally during the semester. However let me go a little deeper into this question. Mathematically (I am sorry to say this) percentages are pretty easy. If you are having difficulty with percentages that may be an indicator that your math skills need some work. DO NOT DELAY! If you acknowledge that your math skills are weak, you must practice, practice, practice so you can sharpen those skills. This is not a math course but many of the concepts we will discuss this semester use models that depend heavily on mathematics. How do you practice? You MUST do as many problems as your time will allow. Get busy on the suggested problems at the end of Chapter 1, and the Density, Measurement, and Significant Figure DCIs...NOW!!! I know you can all add, subtract, multiply and divide (with the aid of a calculator), but I will be testing you with WORD PROBLEMS!!

14. I don't really understand all of the online assignments.

Hmmm...not sure if I understand. PLEs and ACAs? Just get them done before the deadline. Assignment Page? Check it out and see what information it is providing...learning objectives, what you are to be doing before class, during class and after class.

15. I wish you could have talked more about the pre labs... i'm still a little confused but that is probably because my lab is not until Friday!

Pre-labs. Begin with first lab (during the third week of class). These are questions that you must answer before walking through the door into your lab. DO NOT PLAGERIZE or we will take action against such behavior! You should be able to answer the pre-lab questions by reviewing the lab experiment. Still have trouble answering the pre-lab questions. Check out your TA's office hours in PS105, drop by my office during office hours, e-mail.

16. I would like to have a review of the key topics I need to know to be successful this semester.

Hmmm...that is tough. Know algebra? Hope so! I think for the typical high school student should have most of the first three Chapters down, with some review...that is what we will be doing. Start looking at the recommended problems on the After Class portion of the Assignment Page.

17. Is CHEM 1314 going to be as much fun as I think it is going to be? Because I can't wait, seriously. I promise I am not trying to be a smart elect either.


18. Other than the book, and online, are there any other resources we should use for this class?

The bookstore has a Student Study Guide (not sure if that is the exact name) that is NOT required, but depending on your skills may or may not be helpful. It is an individual decision as to whether to purchase that resource. I have a copy in my office and you are welcome to drop by and look at it to see if it could be helpful.

19. The one about the final/exam4 that I stated in#5.

Not sure if I completely understand, but Exam #4 (covers material from Exam #3 to the end of the semester) and Exam #5 (comprehensive) are given at the same time during the regularly schedule Final Exam time on Tuesday, December 11, 2006 from 12:00 p.m. - 1:50 p.m. You will have the 110 minutes to work on both 100 point exams. You can spend as much time on either exam (within the 110 minutes) as you wish. I will distribute both exams at the beginning of the exam period and you will turn them both in when you are finished answering the questions.

20. What do you do besides teach?

I like riding my bike(s) when I have time. I mountain bike and I ride on the road. If anyone rides stop by and talk. I am the faculty adviser for the OSU Cycling Club. I have a new family so that takes lots of time. My wife is also a chemistry teacher. If you are lucky she may cover a class for me this semester. She teaches at UCO this year, and I get to teach for her when she is consulting. We both work with high school teachers in Oklahoma and Texas, helping them become better content experts. I also work with Dr. Abraham at the University of Oklahoma on several projects. I always have lots to do, and really enjoy spending time with my family and my students. I work hard, and I expect the same from my students. This summer I got an iPhone and it totally rocks! I have a 15 year old stepson and a 20 year old stepdaughter (she is attending OSU) besides my own two daughters (30 and 28). Having a 15 year old is very cool, he keeps me informed as to what's up (s'up?).

21. What do you mean by formulas of the elements? I read on the assignments page that we have to memorize the symbols and formulas of the first twenty elements on the periodic table.

We'll talk about it. But if you want to get ahead, check out the PowerPoint for class on Thursday, August 23, 2007. Also use your textbook as a reference and look it up or Google it...wikipedia will say something.

22. What holds the Neutrons and protons together in the nucleus of atom?

Check it out. It is the nuclear force. This is physics and not something we will discuss in great detail.

23. What if I have two common exams at the same time?

That would happen if you are taking PLNT 1213. Since PLNT is only a 3 credit course and CHEM 1314 is a 4 credit course CHEM 1314 rules. Your PLNT instructor would be expected to provide an alternative time. See Conflicts on Page 7 of the Fall 2007 Class Schedule.

24. What is stoichiometry?

Big word that is associated with a balanced chemical equation. You'll learn to love it or hate it in Chapter 3!

25. What method's would you recommend to your new students if they asked you how they could best stay on top of their ACAs, PLE's, PSI's, and general lab assignments? Stay on top as in not becoming overwhelmed, not waiting till the last minute, and getting the most out of those activities as possible...

As soon as the assignment is posted get going on it. If you are staying up with all the assignments, then when I am discussing material in class you will have questions that will clarify any roadblocks you are having with the material. Staying current means you are not trying to recover, because you are behind, and I am still continuing on with new material. Then you start cramming to stay up, and you are not learning material. If you are ending up memorizing by studying just before the exam, I am afraid you are not likely to be very successful. Stay on top of this course, or it may hurt.

26. What will be the most useful skill you will teach us?

Hmmm...difficult question. That will vary with everyone of us. I want you to increase your problem solving skills (do lots of problems). I want you to enhance your critical thinking skills (ability to analyze a problem, determine a path to solve the problem, and interpret how to use the information given in the problem to arrive at a solution). Learn some chemistry.

27. When does tutoring start?

Second week of classes in PS105. I will distribute a schedule in class.

28. Whether or not the current topic of discussion is covered on the tests.

You will be responsible for everything I discuss in class. Use the PLEs, DCIs, ACAs, Problem Sets, past exams, PowerPoints, lecture notes, podcasts of lecture, lectures to find out what I consider most important (favorite problem, lots of sample problems, attend lecture and listen to what I say, etc.) IF you learn the material the amount of content we cover will NOT be overwhelming, and it will be easy to be successful.

29. Why did you become a professor?

My father was a teacher, and I always thought my dad was pretty cool. I always heard students tell me my dad was a great teacher. I'd like to be as good as my dad. And it really is a lot of fun...I really enjoy teaching. Let me know if I am sounding like a sore puss!

30. Why do so many people put up fronts about being smart and not ask questions when so many people are willing to help?

OooK, not sure if I understand the question. So here goes...One of things I worry about is how difficult it is for some students to recognize whether they understand the content we will cover in this course. If you just read a book, I guess we can all say about what we read..."That makes sense, I guess I understand." However, if asked a question, an application of what you just read (having to apply what you understood about what you read) many students have a difficult time. My goal with everything I am doing (PLEs, DCIs, ACAs, PS, etc) is to try to have lots of questions out there for you to try to answer. If you are not successful answering these questions, that should tell you that you do not understand the content and you have more work to do to learn the material. But not only do I ask lots of questions, but I try to provide answers to every question. So if you can not answer a question you will have an answer and perhaps that will move you part way to understanding. But when you have to look at an answer, that means you should be doing additional problems (Assignment page...After Class) to demonstrate that you do really understand.

31. Why is 85% an A?

There usually are not very many students who earn above 95% of this class. So 95% - 85% is an A, 84% - 75% is a B, then I open it up for a C...74% - 55%, etc. USed that distribution for a long, long time and it works.

32. Will we have any pop quizzes?

Could be. If there is a question that appears on an Exam that everyone finds usually difficult, I will often have a similar question prepared for the next class meeting to give everyone a chance to do it again and do better. So after exam, if a question is really tough I might have a pop quiz. I usually count it as a Problem set and I grade it 6 points for taking it and 6 points are used to actually determine how well you answer the question. I do this because I have noticed that the class following an exam is not well attended..what's up with that. So I abuse you for not coming to class.

33. I would like to know if we need to bring our Chemistry text book with us to class everyday.

You do not HAVE to bring your Chemistry textbook to class everyday, but you must bring your DCI Workbook to class. We will be working on the activities in the DCI workbook. DO I HAVE TO DR. G? Well, yea! Besides what kind of signal does that send if you are coming unprepared to class? Don't care? Too busy? It is the rare student who wants an A in this class, that is not doing absolutely everything they know how to do to get that A.

34. What's your favorite type of music? And what kind of concerts did you go to as a teenager?

Rock, indie, alternative are among my favorites. As a teenager going to concerts was not as easy or common as it is today. I lived north of Seattle when I was growing up, and at the time although Seattle had a music scene I was a little nerdy (although not too bad). But I did see the Beatles in their last concert in the US, San Francisco, August, 1966. Also saw CCR in Seattle in '68 or '69. Last few concerts? Saw Guided By Voices in Dallas (something Tea Room) during their last concert tour two or so years ago, and recently (Joe's this summer) I saw Phil Marshall.

35. If there is any way to get back to the extra credit survey if we did not fill it out when we registered for the SID.

Only way is to visit me in my office, take a little teasing, then I'll set you up so you can get that credit.

36. In your opinion, what is the easiest and best way to memorize laws and formulas?

For those parts of the course that I ask you to memorize the best time to do that is just before bed. It will be the last thing you will be thinking about as you fall asleep. If you are lucky you could dream about chemistry alllll! On a more serious note I will try to minimize the amount of memorizing that you will have to do, but there will be a significant amount over the next few weeks. What I do ask you to memorize is very important because you will increase your chemical intuition, and have learned some fundamental information that will useful throughout this course and subsequent courses in chemistry. OK what do you have to memorize? Symbols, formulas, and names (correct spelling) of the first 20 elements in the periodic table and 20 common elements that I will mention during class (take good notes). Phase of every element in the periodic table at 25 degrees Celsius. Tables 2.4 (page 62) and 2.5 (page 64) and the Common Ions on the last page in your textbook.

37. How can chemists be sure of their assumptions, esp over chemical bonding and formations, when the litmus tests and such are man made experiments which could easily be flawed?

The key to all/any experimental science is reproducibility. In science we make observations. We all see the same things, but a few individuals begin to ask questions about what they observe, and formulate hypotheses which help come up with experiments for further testing. The goal is to develop a concise statement which could be verbal or usually mathematical, that summarizes the observations (facts). Sometime our experiments and observations lead to the development of a theory to explain certain phenomena. Such a theory is based on reproducible, observable facts. You mentioned litmus. This is a natural dye extracted from lichens. When absorbed onto filter paper the dye can be used to distinguish certain types of substances. Homogeneous aqueous mixtures of certain substances cause the dyes to change color in a characteristic, reproducible way. Substances that caused particular color changes were called acids or bases. As our understanding of the chemical composition of these substances increased we have developed sophisticated explanations of acid and base behavior that are used in medicine, cosmetics, chemical and electronics industry and many other areas. If you would like to explore an activity that uses litmus check this site out. We'll learn to name acids and bases this semester, and next semester, in CHEM 1515, you will learn more about the importance of acid-base chemistry.