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Chemistry 211 Lecture Syllabus

Chemistry 211


John A. Schreifels

General Chemistry


Rm 303B Planetary Hall

Fall, 2014

Office Hours:

MW 1:45-2:45


or by appointment

Textbook: Chemistry, 7th Edition, Silberberg

Telephone #:

993-1082 or –1070

A minimum grade of "C" in CHEM 211 is required before being admitted to CHEM 212

This is the first of a two-semester chemistry course for science majors. It is designed to help the student learn the fundamental principles of some important areas of chemistry. It is the same in fundamentals to courses that have been taught at many other universities for many years. If the work seems overwhelming at times, take heart there have been many of us who have survived and become successful afterwards. I hope you find this course enjoyable even if it is hard to you. Please feel free to discuss any aspect of the course with me during office hours.

A serious student will read the textbook and work problems at the end of each chapter-spending about ten hours per week on these. Problem solving is a very important part of learning in any science course. If a student intends to pass this course, (s)he will spend a lot of time solving the problems at the end of the chapter so that (s)he can understand the intent of each problem. Usually, the problems start out being reasonably easy. Make sure you work some of these and then move on to the section listed as "General Problems", which are more challenging especially if the other problems seem quite easy. Many of the "A" students in the past have worked all of the problems at the end of the chapter. We will work problems in class after each chapter, if time permits. The student should be prepared to work problems on the board. When the student finds that (s)he cannot work certain problems or understand certain concepts, the student is urged to contact me during office hours. I feel the instructor's duty is to assist the student in the learning process. Thus, when the student comes for help, I will expect the student to demonstrate that a reasonable effort has been made to understand the concepts. The student is not expected to have wasted hours on a problem, however, before coming to me. I will be more than glad to provide any help that I can as long as I feel that you are putting forth a reasonable effort. Please purchase a spiral notebook for working problems; then when you come to me (or the tutors) for help we can easily try to understand where you are having difficulty. I will expect to see some evidence of previous effort and this will be good evidence of effort.

The most successful students will make use of many learning aids. This person will discuss difficulties with fellow students, will read the text and other books, will work problems at the end of the chapter and be active in class- asking and answering questions. The student must take responsibility for the learning process and work at finding every possible way to learn the CONCEPTS. The lecture is nothing more than a learning aid and does not control how much you learn - you do. Instead, it is the instructor's duty to clarify concepts that students do not understand and to provide a fair way to evaluate the student's progress. The course is outlined in the lecture syllabus. Anything in those chapters may be on the tests. Summaries of methodology will often be presented on overheads. Lecture notes are outlines and learning what is on the lecture notes will not be sufficient to do well in the coures.

In-class quizzes will be given very often - in fact you should assume there will be some sort of in-class quiz every period. Students must purchase the i>clickers (personal response devices) and bring it to every class to record the individual answers to the quizzes. The i>clicker automatically records your answers to each quiz. If you do not have an i>clicker, you will not be able to complete the quiz.

Once you obtain your i>clicker you need to register it. On the back of your i>clicker find your unique registration
number (at the bottom). This registration number must be assigned to your name on the class roll sheet. If this is not completed, you will not get credit for your answers. To register, go to the following URL: Complete the registration form. Enter your G# for student ID (including the G). Grading for quizzes will be done as follows: 3 points for each correct answer, and 2 participation points will be given for each answer -whether it is correct or incorrect. No points will be given if a question is not answered. Because the i>clicker is also a measure of lecture attendance, there will be no make ups and written answers will not be accepted.

Homework will be done online at http:/ . There are algorithmic questions in the homework which change each time the problem is shown. The problems are sorted by level of difficulty. You are required to get a correct answer correct three times in a row for a particular problem type to receive credit for it. You may save the homework frequently to avoid loss of any work. Upon returning to the homework only the unfinished homework will be shown.

Midterm examinations will be computerized with 80 minutes allotted for an examination in which one would normally be given 50 minutes. There will usually be 20 questions on each of the three exams taken during the semester.

Final Examination: The final examination is cumulative and will be a nationally standardized examination produced by the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Successful Studying Strategy

  1. Spend about a half-hour skimming the contents of the chapter to familiarize yourself with very general concepts.   

  2. Read the chapter through completely, but do not spend much time working problems.

  3. Study how the worked problems are solved.

  4. Work problems at the end of the chapter until you can solve most of the ones you encounter.  Make sure you focus on concepts.  You should go back to the section from which the problem is derived and look at worked problems to help learn how to solve these.

  5. Work the homework problems.

  6. Ask for help from the tutors at the tutoring center, which is next door to the testing center. Hours for the tutoring center will be available through the genchem web page.


A student, who finds it necessary to miss an examination, must notify me as soon as possible before or immediately after the examination and bring in documented proof of the problem. Otherwise the student will receive a zero for the missed examination. Calculators are allowed for examinations, but small computers are not. Use of a large calculator or small computer will be considered an honor code violation.  In the event that there is a bomb scare, class will not necessarily be cancelled. Instead, all of the class should assemble outside the front entrance to the building until I have dismissed it. Otherwise the student will receive a zero for missed work. Students, who have more than one final examination scheduled at the same time, should bring proof of the conflict before it can be rescheduled. The final grade will be determined as indicated below: The grading scale for the homework and examinations will be curved at the end of the semester.

Tentative Lecture Syllabus

Week of




1, Appendix A

Sept.1 - Labor Day Holiday University Closed



1, 2












Oct. 13: Columbus Day Holiday; Mon. class meets on Tuesday











9, 10


10, 11






 8,9Reading days
Dec. 15 Final Exam, 10:30-12:30

Approximate Midterm Examination Deadlines:

Oct. 6, Nov. 3 and Dec. 4


Dec. 15 - Final Exam. 10:30-12:30

Note: Students must enroll and obtain a passing grade in a laboratory section to complete the course. To more fairly grade all students the laboratory grade will be normalized.

May 29, 2017                               

General Remarks:   Cell phones, pagers, iPods, communication devices, etc. should be turned off BEFORE class begins.   Failure to do so will result in your removal from the classroom.

Grading :

  • The final grade in this course will be based on a percentage of points earned relative to total possible points. Listed below is the tentative point distribution for examinations, quizzes/homework assignments and the laboratory grade. However, an absolute grading scale cannot be determined until all scores have been compiled and evaluated. In order to optimize your overall performance use the following scale as a rule of thumb: 100-90% (A); 89-80% (B); 79-70% (C); <69% (D or F). DO NOT RELY UPON A "CURVE"; MAXIMIZE YOUR OVERALL PERFORMANCE IRRESPECTIVE OF A "CURVE".

  • George Mason University does not dictate a grading scale. Instructors may determine cut off points for A, B, C, etc. The use of plus and minus grades for A, B, C is also at the instructor’s discretion.
  • "Grading on a curve" is not mandatory.
  • True letter grades cannot be assigned to exams during the course of the semester because students at the bottom tend to drop or withdraw from the class, thereby resulting in a shift of the average for the exam. Students that withdrew from the course, as well as those that stopped attending, will not be considered in the calculation of the overall average for the course at the end of the semester.

  • Extra credit work and/or assignments will not be entertained at the end of the semester because students failed to properly manage their time.

Hourly Exams (3) 


LA Diagnostic Exams, In-class


Quizzes, HW


Final Exam (lecture) 





Hourly exams:

  • A valid GMU ID is required for all exams.  Other forms of ID will not be accepted.   GMU ID cards that do not clearly show the face and identification number will not  be accepted.   Presentation of an ID card after your Scan-Tron form has been turned in and you exit the examination area will not be accepted for the exam(s).

  • Students are responsible for providing their own calculators, pencils, erasers, and Scan-Tron forms for examinations. You should be very familiar with yourcalculator prior to exam dates.  PROGRAMMABLE CALCULATORS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED DURING QUIZ and EXAMINATION PERIODS.  CALCULATOR SHARING WILL NOT BE ALLOWED DURING TESTING PERIODS.Small computers are also not allowed during examination periods.  Use of such will be considered an honor code violation and dealt with accordingly. Three exams  (samples of old exams are posted on Blackboard) and a final cumulative exam will be given during the semester. ACS study guides for the final exam can be purchased from the GMU Bookstore or ordered online from the American Chemical Society (ACS). All exam scores will be used in determining the final grade.  Makeup exams will not be given.  It is your responsibility to schedule your plane/train travel around the listed exam dates and times.

  • ALL cell phones and communication devices are to be turned off, properly secured and stored away BEFORE the exams begin. If I find (see or hear) a cell phone on a student during an exam, the student will receive an automatic "F" for the exam, since this is an honor code violation and the matter referred to the Office of Academic Integrity. The recommendation will be for the student to receive a grade of "F" for the entire course. If another student observes the violation or has knowledge of the offense, yet fails to report it, he/she may also be accused of violating the honor code. Students should not place themselves in a position that appears to support collusion in the honor code violation activity. All parties will be referred to the honor committee with sanctions levied based on the number of offenses and judgements determined by the honor committee. Keep in mind at all times that GMU is an Honor Code university.
  • Any form of cheating on the final exam will result in an automatic "F" for the course.
  • The standard recommendation for honor code violations will be prosecution to the fullest extent.
  • Recommendations regarding honor code violations (HCV) on hourly exams.......first time offenders---a grade of "F" for the hourly exam; repeat offenders--a grade of "F" for the course and suspension/expulsion from George Mason University.
  • Recommendations regarding honor code violations (HCV) on the final exam.......first time offenders---a grade of "F" for the course and suspension/expulsion from George Mason University.

Final Exam: The final exam is a standardized exam, cumulative in nature, that covers concepts from the CHEM 212 semester. If you purchased a study guide for the ACS examination for CHEM 211 you do not need to purchase another one.

  • PROGRAMMABLE CALCULATORS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED FOR THE FINAL EXAM.   It is your responsibility to secure a basic non-programmable calculator and familiarize yourself with it prior to the final exam period. No exceptions will be made for the final examination.

  • The final examination can only be rescheduled by the COS Assistant Dean.


  • In-class quizzes will be administered during the semester.  The unannounced quizzes are not optional/extra credit work and count toward your final grade.  Students should always coome to class prepared.

Laboratory (brief notes/reminders):

  • A passing grade must also be obtained in the laboratory portion of the course.  It is critical that you understand the theory and experimental concepts of the first part of General Chemistry in order to be successful in the second part of the course. All students enrolled in the lecture must take the lab concurrently.

  • Due to the large number of students enrolled in CHEM 212, all students officially enrolled in the lab must be present at the start of the lab period throughout the drop period. Late-shows will be dropped from the lab and their slots assigned to a student on the waiting list. You will be dropped from lecture and lab because concurrent enrollment is required.


  • The problems at the end of the chapters are provided for your benefit in order to develop critical problem solving skills necessary in this course. Do not quit after working the easier problems. The more challenging problems incorporate several concepts and will better prepare you for quizzes and exams. Selected problems will be worked in class on a "time permitting basis." You should reserve a separate spiral bound notebook for working out the problems and bring the notebook to the instructor’s office hours or the tutors when seeking help. You should be able to demonstrate that you have put forth a reasonable effort toward mastery of the material before seeking help. Do not get discouraged and spend excessive amounts of time on a single problem. Move on to those you can solve and budget your time wisely.

  • Online homeworkis not optional and will count toward your final grade. Online homework is accessed using CONNECT. Students are required to use the single sign-on feature to access homework assignments directly through Blackboard. Deadlines will be posted on CONNECT and Blackboard.

  • Colligative mole fraction and Vapor Pressure

  • pH scale w.r.t. biological systems


REFER TO THE CONNECT (McGraw Hill) WEBSITE FOR UPDATED QUIZ AND HOMEWORK DEADLINES. You must have access to CONNECT in order to complete the quiz and homework assignments.