Introduction to Chemistry - Models and Applications
This book is an introduction to the fundamental principles of chemistry. The focus here is on developing practical models understand physical and chemical processes based on a small set of core ideas introduced in the first chapter. These ideas are returned to again and again to integrate new material. The material in each unit is not intended to be comprehensive and adopters may wish to supplement some areas according to their needs and preferences.
The material is designed to stress the connections between observations made in the "real world" with molecular level interpretations. The presentation is conceptual in nature, but some mathematical reasoning and processes are introduced when appropriate.
The overall goals of this book are to help students to:
- Acquire a working knowledge of terms, theories, and models associated with the study of chemistry at the introductory level
- Develop qualitative (reasoning, critical thinking, analysis) thinking skills using chemical theories and models from both a macroscopic ("real world") and microscopic (atomic scale) viewpoint.
- Develop semi-quantitative ("easy numbers") problem solving skills utilizing chemical models and theories.
- Learn to interpret graphs, tables of data, and/or visual diagrams used in the study of chemistry at the introductory level
The design of the book is a completely "atoms-first" approach that starts with a review of core ideas before moving on to atomic properties. Atomic interactions and physical interactions of atoms and molecules are considered before chemical interactions are considered. The material naturally breaks into 4 core units for exam purposes. Each unit represents a cohesive set of ideas needed for the next unit. There is a gradual building of sophistication in the application of ideas, but all are ultimately tied back to the core ideas presented in the first chapter.
Most chapters in the book are split into two half-chapters to allow for better focus for homework and quizzing purposes. Each chapter features a set of in-chapter questions that should be completed as students work through the material to help develop understanding and skill at applying the information. Each chapter is followed by a set of "Learning Check" questions that allow the students to review their knowledge regarding the "big ideas" of a given unit. It is expected that additional homework or quizzing will be needed after chapter completion for students to gain expertise in applying the ideas. The book is visually rich with many images designed to amplify the text information or replace the text information in areas where students become confused by the traditional text based explanations for phenomena. Students should not skim past the images, but rather they should study them as closely as the text. The book features a growing body of animated images that work seamlessly within the text and more will be added as the book is further developed. At present there is limited use of multimedia elements since it is difficult to identify worthwhile material that is non-commercialized.