Introduction to Chemical Structure and Properties
CHEM 125 is our new and sole introductory chemistry course. It is very different than what you experienced in high school. It should be different since it is a first year, college-level chemistry course. Starting from atoms and their electron configuration(topics presented in high school chemistry courses), students build a progressive and linked understanding of bonding, ionic and molecular geometry, and the physical and chemical properties that emerge from chemical structure. Students will obtain a chemical understanding of simple to increasingly complicated structures, including biological macromolecules such as nucleic acids and proteins, as well as molecular and covalent solids such as zeolites and semiconductors
The structure and shape of molecules ultimately determines their chemical and physical properties. Hence students will learn about conformations and stereochemistry of simple acyclic and cyclic molecules which are common in the biological world. Since chemical properties are dependent on electron distribution, students move from how electrons are distributed in atomic orbitals in atoms (which was taught in high school) to how they are distributed in molecular orbitals in molecules.
Finally, a beginning understanding of chemical reactivity is developed with a mechanistic understanding of acid base reactions. These topics will provide students with a strong introduction to chemical structure and reactivity and prepare them for the next series of foundation coursess in chemical reactivity.
The pedagogy we use in teaching the course is also very different that what you experienced in high school. Instead of listening to a long, traditional lecture, the class time is spend mostly in small group problem solving sessions with short introductory and concluding comments by the professors teaching the class.