INTRODUCTION TO CHEMISTRY
Welcome to Chemistry, the Science concerned with the study of matter. In simplest terms, chemistry is the science of matter. Anything that can be touched, tasted, smelled, seen or felt is made of chemicals. Different thing feel, taste, smell and appear differently- like t fresh vegetables.
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If you are blindfolded and asked to identify potatoes, onions, carrots or cabbages from a pack, chances are you could, chances are you could- based on interactions with them in your home kitchen. Chemistry will supply you with the knowledge and understanding to engage as informed citizens with science based issues.
You will use contemporary and relevant contexts of interest such as environmental issues to gain greater scientific knowledge. You will study the patterns and properties of the elements and how these combine to produce useful materials, such as air and water among others.
Throughout the course you will develop practical skills, powers of analysis and the ability to apply chemical concepts to unfamiliar situations.
Being a Good Chemistry Student
You are beginning the study of one of the most interesting subjects that you will ever come across. As is the case with all subjects, what you will get out of Chemistry will depend upon what you put into it. Chemistry can intrigue and enlighten you. It all depends upon the effort you are willing to put into your studies.
If you keep an open mind, and listen to your teacher, a course in Chemistry will change the way you view the world! Chemistry is a skill based course, and many of the most important lessons will come in the first few weeks. You must start off with good study habits from the very beginning. Below are some tips to help ensure that you get the most out of the course.
Do the reading faithfully.
Don’t try to get through the course by just listening to your teacher. Your teacher will assume that you are coming to class having read the text, and he or she will expect you to have that background knowledge required to follow the lessons. Most importantly, you will not be able to ask clarifying questions, if you have never read the book.
Ask as many questions as you want to
Like any teacher, your Chemistry teacher uses the feedback from the class to determine whether or not his or her lessons are clear enough. The types of questions that you and your classmates ask will tell your teacher more than the results of any exam. Some students are embarrassed to admit that something is unclear, but this subject is new to you. There is no shame in admitting that you are not sure about a subject is new to you!
Get help early and often.
As soon as you notice that you are not following along with the class discussion you should address the problem. There are so many sources for extra help, and you should take advantage of them. Make an appointment to see your teacher after school, or ask one of your classmates for help. Search the Internet for sites with additional information. Don’t stop getting extra help until you feel confident in your grasp of the subject.
Take advantage of the learning opportunities in Laboratory classes.
Many of the lab activities that you will do will seem exciting. Violent chemical reactions will cause every heart to beat a little faster. However, if you don’t understand the concepts behind the activities than the activities become nothing more than a magic show! Strive to understand every aspect of these activities and you will find that they are a fun way to learn Chemistry.
Do your written homework correctly.
It may seem that you are saving time when you copy homework from a friend or from the back of a textbook, but you are really causing yourself some trouble. Each assignment is designed to reinforce a specific concept. If you don’t do the homework correctly, you may not master the concepts. Remember that your task is never to complete a specific set of problems, but rather to master a topic or skill.
Study in groups.
Chemistry is much harder when you try to learn it in isolation. Form study groups from the first week of school. Having people to talk to about Chemistry will help you avoid the frustration that comes from feeling you are the only one having difficulty with a particular concept or type of Math problem. You will also be more likely to ask questions when you see that an idea may not be clear to others as well.