On-Line for the 2019-2020 School Year
Teacher: Mark Kernion
Chemistry, Tenth Edition, AP® Edition by Zumdahl, Zumdahl and DeCoste © 2018 Cengage Learning. ISBN: 978-1-305-95773-2. (Currently, a digital copy of this text is provided with a paid subscription to Cengage Unlimited. A hard copy of the textbook can be rented from Cengage for an additional $7.99 with that same subscription. More on Cengage Unlimited can be found below.)
Who should apply:
This class is designed for students who have successfully completed one year of high school Chemistry* as well as Algebra II. Additionally, students should be motivated enough to want to learn the subject, disciplined enough to do the work that is required and organized enough to handle the day-to-day rigors of the class and subject. To determine an individual’s readiness for the class, a pre-test is available here that should guide the student in the course selection process. Keep in mind, if you are currently taking a high school chemistry class you may not be able to answer all the questions yet. If you take the pre-test prior to the conclusion of your high school class, you might judge your readiness on how you have done answering those questions of which you have familiarity. Getting 100% on the pre-test is not mandatory for signing up for the class! The pre-test should be used solely as a guide letting you know what would be generally good to know before the start of the AP Class. A typical student who meets the requirements above should have about 12 hours per week to devote to the course. (Some may require a bit less and some a bit more.)
*The instructor will consider highly motivated and gifted students who have not formally taken a high school chemistry class but have invested time in learning the basic fundamental concepts of such a course on their own. Students who fit this description should take the pre-test described above to determine their readiness.
How to apply:
The application for this class can be found here.
The tuition for this course is $800 prior to June 30, 2019, and $825 after June 30, 2019.
The course begins on August 26, 2019, and ends on May 7, 2020. The ending date is the day of the A.P. Chemistry Examination given by the College Board.
Students will need a computer with high-speed internet access, a device for scanning materials (smartphone or scanner), a scientific or graphing calculator, and a Google account for email and other applications.
Course supplies (each student must obtain) :
Two 3-ringed binders – one two inch to house course materials and one two inch to house lab materials.
Two notebooks – one for taking course notes and one for doing lab work.
Lab kit – QSL Advanced Microchem Lab Kit which can be purchased here. Current price: $239.95 (this includes the laboratory manual.)
This A.P. Chemistry course is designed to be the equivalent of the general chemistry courses usually taken during a student’s first year in college and focuses on the six big ideas in chemistry. These include atomic structure, intermolecular forces and bonding, reactions, kinetics, thermodynamics and equilibrium. In this course, the student should attain a depth of understanding concerning these fundamental concepts and a reasonable competence in solving chemical problems in which they could be associated. Additionally, this course will help develop the student’s scientific skills as a substantial portion of the course (25%) is spent on practical laboratory work. Although the main goal of this course is to provide an opportunity for students to learn chemistry at the college level, a secondary, but important goal, is to prepare students to take the A.P. Chemistry Exam so that credit for the learning that has occurred can be recognized.
How the course will be run:
The content of the course will be delivered to the student in a variety of ways:
- Live video meetings with the instructor. These will occur 2 times per week (Monday and Thursday) for 1 hour at a time (12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EST.) and should be considered valuable by those students who find live interaction with the instructor helpful considering their personal learning style. Although attendance at these meetings is encouraged it is not required as the meetings will be recorded. Those unable to attend will be able to access the recorded sessions through the class website immediately after their live conclusion.
- Pre-recorded video lessons (different from the recorded live meetings.)
- Self-study using multiple course resources supplied through Cengage Unlimited. Specifically, Cengage Unlimited is a digital subscription that provides on-demand access to an electronic version of the textbook, an online homework system called OWLv2, and other electronic study tools. OWLv2 is an outstanding digital learning platform that empowers properly guided students to learn through richly dynamic problems, detailed and immediate feedback of their work, and interactive learning modules. The subscription price for one year of access is currently being determined for PA Homeschoolers but is expected to be in the range of $100.00. The subscription can be purchased through the Cengage website (cengage.com) but should not be done prior to mid-May 2019 so that the subscription time will span the duration of the class for the 2019-2020 school year and the subscription price would have been finalized.
- Information (e.g. pacing guides, links to presentations, note-taking documents, etc…) and other resources found at the class website (chemistry-prep.com).
- Web-based discussion forum where student to student interaction can occur. The forum will also allow for student questions to be addressed outside of the live sessions.
The hands-on laboratory portion of the course will be accomplished through the use of the laboratory kit mentioned previously. Following the introduction of certain concepts, laboratory analyses will be performed by the student to complement the concepts in the unit of study. The analyses will be reported to the instructor via an electronic laboratory report submission form. Data and calculations associated with the laboratory work must be kept in a laboratory notebook and recorded in a manner associated with standard college-level practices that will be described prior to the first lab.
How a student will be evaluated:
Throughout a given unit of study, students will be responsible for completing practice problems, weekly quizzes, and unit tests electronically through the OWLv2 system. Lab reports will also be evaluated. Each of the items will be assigned a certain number of course points. Grades will be determined by the number of points gained compared to the number of points possible. A traditional grading scale will be used with a performance of 90% required for an “A” and 80% required for a “B” and so on. Students will have access to a student dashboard where grades can be found throughout the term at the course website.
- Practice problems (generally 10 pts. per unit of study) will enhance student understanding of course concepts both qualitatively and quantitatively and will be presented in a variety of formats. These including tutorials, visualizations, simulations and traditional questions. The practice problems will differ from quizzes and tests in the number of “takes” a student has to complete an item. Generally, a student will have ten opportunities to answer a practice problem before the required submission. If on a given take, a problem is answered incorrectly, the student will receive immediate feedback to help them review their work and then supplied a similar (but not the exact same) problem to try again. In between takes a student can also use other sources of remediation such as the textbook or the discussion forum to help them understand the item missed.
- Quizzes (generally 20 pts. per unit of study) will be presented as solely traditional questions and the student will have only two takes to complete an item. Again, feedback will be provided in between takes if more than one take is required.
- Tests (generally 50-70 points per unit of study) will be presented as traditional multiple choice questions typically found on the A.P. Chemistry Exam with students given only one take per question. Free response questions will also be a part of the unit tests but not graded through OWLv2. Answers to free response questions will be self-graded by the student using a scoring guide. Scanned responses and self-evaluations will then be submitted by the student to the instructor. A proper and complete submission will result in additional course points being added to the unit test based on the quality of the responses as satisfactory or unsatisfactory. Failure to submit the responses and evaluations will result in the loss of points on the test. Although self-graded, the importance of authentic evaluation cannot be overemphasized for each unit test as the ability to answer questions in the free-response format is vital to achieving a high score on the A.P. Chemistry exam.
- Lab reports (generally 15-25 points per unit of study) will be handled in the same manner as the free response parts of the unit tests being judged as satisfactory or unsatisfactory after online submission through the laboratory report submission form.
Mark Kernion has been teaching chemistry professionally since 1986. He graduated from Penn State University with a B.S. degree in Ceramic Science and Engineering in 1981. While at Penn State he won the Xerox Research Award for the most outstanding thesis in Material Sciences in his senior year. Following the attainment of his degree, he worked for 4 years as Research Engineer for Harbison-Walker Refractories Co. developing materials for use in high-temperature industrial applications. He was awarded three U.S. patents for his work. During that time, he took education classes at the University of Pittsburgh attaining his PA teaching certificate in Chemistry and Physics. He earned his Master’s degree in 2001 at Duquesne University in Liberal Studies, focusing on the history of science. Since 1986 he has been employed by the Mt. Lebanon School District where he began teaching A.P. Chemistry in the 1998-1999 school year. While teaching at Mt. Lebanon High School, he was honored with induction into the Cum Laude Society in 2006. The Cum Laude Society is analogous to the Phi Beta Kappa Society, but at the secondary level as opposed to the university level. In 2007 he was given the Yale Educator Award which recognizes educators from around the world who have inspired and supported their students. He is the co-author of two books. One is Barron’s SAT Subject Test: Chemistry (a very popular test preparation book published by Barron’s Educational Series). The second is E-Z Chemistry (also published by Barron’s Educational Series) whose new 6th edition will be released in July 2019 under the new title Chemistry the Easy Way. Finally, he is the twin brother of Jack Kernion, also an instructor through Pennsylvania Homeschoolers, teaching various levels of A.P. Physics. Homeschoolers taking both A.P. Chemistry and A.P. Physics in consecutive years will find a commonality in the approaches taken toward instruction that could provide an easy transition from one course to the next if both classes are in the future of any student.
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