Course Syllabus

Instructor: Dr. van Geel

Office: 358

Dear Students and Families,

Welcome to Honors Chemistry! My fellow chemistry teachers and I have developed a curriculum that is challenging and fun. Chemistry is an extremely rewarding science; a strong understanding of chemical principles will not only serve you very well in your future scientific studies, but it will enrich your appreciation of the materials you encounter in your everyday life. The general topics we will cover are:

Semester 1

Analyzing Data

Matter: Properties and Changes

The Mole

The Structure of the Atom

Nuclear Chemistry

Electrons in Atoms

The Periodic Table and Periodic Law

Ionic Compounds and Metals

Covalent Bonding



Semester 2

Chemical Reactions


States of Matter


Mixtures and Solutions

Energy and Chemical Change

Reaction Rates

Chemical Equilibrium

Acids and Bases

Redox Reactions



In addition to lectures, readings, and homework, we will use a number of hands-on activities and labs to allow students to fully experience the material. There will also be some independent projects, including a major research project during the second semester. I expect students to work hard, have fun, and ask lots of questions.


Textbook and Workbook: The textbook and workbook files can be found in the Honors Handouts (Links to an external site.) folder.

Three-ring binder: The binder should be 2” thick and have a transparent sleeve in the front cover.

Scientific calculator: Students need to bring their calculators to every class.

Closed-toe shoes: For safety, students must wear closed-toe shoes to every class. Keep a pair in your locker.

Computer: You will need your laptop or tablets for note-taking, writing labs, etc. Please bring it to every class.

USB adapter: In certain labs you will need to connect electronic sensors to your computer. The sensors have the older, large USB connectors. If your computer doesn't have a USB port that will accept the old connectors, you will need to bring an adapter to class.

Software: Download and install the program Logger Lite (Links to an external site.). We will use it to collect data in lab.


If you are more than 10 minutes late you will receive a cut. Lab for this class starts at 7:30 AM. If you are late with a written excuse, go to your house office. If you are late without a written excuse, come directly to class.

MISSING CLASS: If a student misses class for any reason, they must take the initiative to ask a classmate for class notes, announcements, and make up missed work.


You will be handling hazardous chemicals in this class, so it is imperative that the class environment remains calm and quiet. No running, sitting on lab benches, or roughhousing of any kind. Safety glasses must be worn at all times during lab. There will be no food, drink, or gum in lab.

Laboratory Safety Guidelines

Wellesley High School

  1. Serious, responsible behavior is expected in the laboratory at all times.
  2. You are expected to follow all directions given by your instructor at all times.
  3. Safety glasses must be worn when work involves toxic chemicals or the possibility of eye contact from material being used. If the instructor informs you that safety glasses are required for this lab, you MUST wear the goggles. Contact lenses are not always allowed since some chemicals which can get stuck behind the lenses cannot be removed easily. Some safety goggles may be worn over prescription glasses.
  4. Know the location and understand the usage of the following safety features of the classroom: fire extinguisher, fire blanket, safety shower, eyewash, and emergency exits.
  5. Sandals are not permitted in the laboratory. Feet must be completely covered to protect against injury from spilled chemicals or broken glass.
  6. Long hair must be tied back to avoid contact with chemicals, flames, and equipment.
  7. Eating and drinking are prohibited in the laboratory.
  8. Report all accidents and injuries to the instructor immediately.
  9. Food is not allowed on the lab benches.
  10. Do not return unused portions of chemicals to the reagent bottles. This could contaminate the chemicals. Measure materials carefully and consult instructor on the proper disposal of each chemical.
  11. Clean up all spills immediately. Broken glass must be disposed of in the marked container. Always consult your instructor on the proper way to handle cleanup of spills.
  12. DO NOT perform any experiments that are not authorized and supervised by the instructor. DO NOT use any equipment in the laboratory for any purpose other than how you have been instructed.
  13. Never taste chemicals in the laboratory. When smelling chemicals, “waft” the smell toward you by waving your hand. Do not put your nose directly into the chemical.


Tests, labs, and assignments will be assigned a point value. Grades will be based on the total number of points earned per quarter.

Each quarter will be worth 22% of the year grade. There will be two cumulative tests (January and June) that will each be worth 6% of the year grade.


After each chapter there will be a diagnostic quiz. Diagnostic quizzes do not count toward the grade. The purpose of a diagnostic quiz is to assess your current mastery of the material; it is an important source of feedback for both student and teacher. If you do poorly on a diagnostic quiz, it is highly recommended that you come in for extra help.


Homework will be assigned most nights and is due the following class. Homework will be checked in class. Students are expected to stay on top of the material and be ready to participate in classroom discussions.


If I am not teaching a class, I can often be found in the science office, room 358. The best way to get in touch with me is email (; teachers in the science department do not have individual phones. I check my email daily, but my voicemail rarely. My schedule is posted on the classroom door.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due