Physical Science I Syllabus for 2021-2022
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Instructor Information

Office Location

Warren 101G

Office Hours

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 9:00-9:30 a.m.

Summer 1 Only

Course Information

COVID-19 Protocols

Recording Policy

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PHYS-1415-001 Physical Science I


Course Description

Science course designed for non-science majors with focus on elementary education science instruction methods and content. Primary emphasis will be fundamental concepts of chemistry, such as atoms, density, equations, reactions, acids and bases and solutions. May also include integration with physics, geology and astronomy.

Student ResourcesStudent Resources Website

Department Expectations

Occupational License Disclaimer

Notice to Students enrolled in an educational program for preparation of issuance of certain occupational licenses:

Students enrolled in an educational program in preparation for obtaining certain occupational licenses are potentially ineligible for such license if the student has been convicted of an offense. For further information, please contact:

Melodie Graves
Justice Involved Advocate
Student Service Center 117
Make appointment at

You can also contact the Legal Clinic, or the faculty member in charge of the educational program that you seek to enroll in. The further information you will receive will include notification to you of your right to request a criminal history evaluation letter from the licensing authority in order to clarify your particular situation.


(4 sem hrs; 3 lec, 3 lab)

Class Type

On Campus Course

Syllabus Information


Conceptual Physical Science, 6th Edition, Hewitt, Suchocki, and Hewitt. Pearson/Addison Wesley, 2017.

Lab handouts will be available on Blackboard. Students should print their own before coming to lab.





Pen, pencil, paper, calculator, large three ring binder, safety goggles, plastic apron


Student Performance

1.  Have sufficiently developed lab skills.

2.  Have a basic understanding of chemistry and its everyday applications.

3.  Explain the relation between atoms and molecules.

4.  Make simple chemical calculations.

5.  Have a basic concept of solution chemistry.

6.  Understand atomic structure and the periodic table.

7.  Have a basic understanding of the different types of chemical reactions.

8.  Relate chemistry to other disciplines and understand how it fits into everyday living.

9.  Develop confidence in presenting chemistry concepts in the classroom.

1.  To gain a basic understanding of general inorganic chemistry and its applications.

2.  To learn fundamental theories, concepts, terms and skills to master basic inorganic chemistry.

3.  To gain an introduction and basic understanding of simple organic chemistry.

4.  To develop fundamental laboratory skills.

5.  To provide hands-on activities for use in teaching chemistry basics in the elementary-middle school classroom.

Students Rights and Responsibilities

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Log in using the AC Connect Portal

In order to receive your AC Connect Email, you must log in through AC Connect at .

If you are an active staff or faculty member according to Human Resources, use "Exchange". All other students, use "AC Connect (Google) Email".

Expected Student Behavior

Please put your cell phones on silent mode during class.  If it is a necessity to have a phone on, please see me about it during the first week of class.  Do not send text messages during lecture.  Do not listen to music playing devices, etc. during class.  Use of electronic devices should be related to the course material currently being discussed.  Any obvious "multitasking" takes away from the learning environment.

Please respect your classmates by arriving on time to class and refraining from side conversations during lecture.  

Please familiarize yourself with the Student Rights and Responsibilities Document and particularly the section on cheating.

CHEATING:  If a student is caught cheating on a test in this class, the test will be taken up and a grade of zero will be assigned for that test.  The grade assigned for cheating may not be the drop grade and a report will be added to the permanent record of the student.

TOBACCO AND TOBACCO PRODUCTS USE:  Amarillo College is a tobacco-free campus.

 LAB:  Do not eat, drink, or chew gum while in the lab room.  If you need to do any of these during lab time, or to make phone calls, you will need to step outside the room.  Wear closed shoes (no flip-flops or sandals) and pants or skirts that come down to at least mid-calf when doing experiments. Pants should not have holes in them. Tie back long hair during experiments.  If you are not present for a lab experiment (this includes arriving late after classmates have gotten started), you may not receive credit for that portion of the lab activity.

Grading Criteria

You may monitor your grades through Blackboard.

There will be four regular exams and a comprehensive final exam. Homework will be assigned and there will be participation/discussion questions which contribute to the final grade.  These will occur on most Thursdays that are not exam days, and can be given on other days as well.  This will take the form of participating in class discussion.  There are no make-up exams; if you find out you have to miss an exam, contact the instructor prior to the exam and the instructor may be able to arrange for your test to be taken in the Testing Center.  Any such tests should be completed before the next class meeting.

The final grade in this class will be determined from the average of all test grades (50%), participation (5%), homework (5%), lab reports (15%), notebooks (5%), presentations (5%), and final exam (15%).  The lowest test, homework and participation grades will be dropped.  The lowest two lab grades will be dropped.  The notebook, presentation, and final cannot be dropped or replaced.  Some extra credit opportunities will be announced.

Late homework assignments and lab reports will not be accepted.  If you are unable to attend class on the day something is due, please contact the instructor by class time in order to have the absence excused.  Otherwise, you will get a zero for any assignment due or participation grade being given that day.

The final grade will be assigned based on your final average as follows:  90=A, 80=B, 70=C, 60=D, and less than 60 is failing.  Grades will be rounded to the nearest whole number; final grades will not be curved.



All students are expected to attend class regularly.  Lack of attendance will affect the grade because of missed lecture material and missed participation questions and labs.  If a student will not be able to attend class, the instructor should be notified at or before class time.  Exams can only be made up at the instructor's discretion and require a doctor's note or other documentation; if you have a one-time conflict that you know about in advance, inform the instructor before the exam day so you can take the exam in the testing center.  Lab activities which require using chemicals or other hands-on equipment cannot be made up.  If a student finds it necessary to drop this class, it is their responsibility to contact the instructor and initiate the drop process. The last day to withdraw from this class is November 23, 2021.

According to Amarillo College policy, any student who has not attended class by the 12th class day will be automatically dropped and will not be allowed to re-enroll.



This course is designed around units based on each chapter content. Laboratory work that supplements the content is also included.  The topics listed in each chapter will include but will not necessarily be limited to those listed below.

Chapter 12:  Atoms, elements, structure of the atom, periodic table, models, atomic spectra.

Chapter 13:  Radioactivity, half life, carbon dating, nuclear fission, nuclear fusion

Chapter 14:  Properties and charges, density, elements and compounds

Chapter 15:  Bonding (ionic, covalent, metallic), electron dot structures, polarity, intermolecular forces

Chapter 16:  Mixtures and their classifications, solubility, solutions, soaps, water treatment

Chapter 17:  Writing and balancing equations, rates of reactions, catalysts, energy in reactions

Chapter 18:  Acids and bases, neutralization reactions, acid rain, oxidation and reduction

Chapter 19:  Organic chemistry, polymers, plastics


(Subject to Change as Announced)





Introduction to class

Safety Orientation (Video and lab quiz)

 8/26 Chapter 12: The Atom  


Chapter 12:  Elements and the Periodic Table

Light and Spectra Lab; Size of a Molecule Lab

9/2 Chapter 12:  Electrons in the Atom  


Chapter 13:  Radioactivity

 Isotope Lab; Half Life Lab

 9/9 Chapter 13:  Nuclear Power  


Review and catch up

Density Lab

 9/16 EXAM 1  


Chapter 14:  Properties and Phases

Properties Lab; Phases Lab (Solid/Liquid/Gas)

 9/23 Chapter 14:  Chemical Compounds  


Chapter 15:  Molecules and Covalent Bonding

Lewis Structures Lab

9/30 Chapter 15:  Shapes of Molecules; Polarity  
 10/5 Chapter 15:  Intermolecular forces

Polarity Lab; TBA

 10/7 Review and catch up  
10/12 EXAM 2

White Powder Lab

 10/14 Chapter 16:  Mixtures  


Chapter 16: Mixtures and Moles Mixture Lab; Salt/Sand/Iron Lab
10/28 Chemistry Halloween  


Chapter 16: Water Treatment

Swamp Water Lab; TBA

11/4 Chapter 17: Reactions and Kinetics  


Review and Catch Up Signs of Reaction Lab; Reactions and Rates Lab
 11/11 EXAM 3  


Chapter 18:  Acids and Bases

Acid and Base Lab; Presentations (2)

 11/18 Chapter 18:  Oxidation/Reduction  


Chapter 19:  Organic Compounds

Presentations (5)

 11/25  No Class Thanksgiving


Chapter 19:  Functional Groups and Polymers

Slime Lab; Presentations (2)

 12/2 Catch up and Review  



Presentations (2); check out of lab

 12/9 Review for Final  
TBA FINAL EXAM 10:30-12:30  


Additional Information

COVID-19: Covid-19 is still spreading in our community. You are strongly encouraged to wear a mask in class and in the halls. Please spread out in the classrooms and leave space between yourself and your neighbors. Do not come to class if you have possible exposure or if you are waiting on Covid test results.

There is a possibility that we may need to move to tech-supported learning at any point during the semester. This will happen if anyone tests positive, or if the case rate is high around campus. Please watch your Blackboard Announcements and your AC email for notifications. Here is what to expect:

  • For lecture class, we will meet online at the regular class time, using the Zoom platform. There will be a link to the Zoom room in your Blackboard. Attendance is expected. I may give you a worksheet for practice and discussion on that same day.
  • You might also be directed to watch lecture videos.
  • Participation will still be counted, over Zoom.
  • If we are tech-supported during an exam period, the exam will move online.
  • Labs will not meet in person during this time period. I will give you “virtual labs” to do on your own, involving worksheets and/or videos.
  • If this happens, it is not necessarily for the rest of the semester. It may just be for a two-week period after the positive test, or otherwise as announced campus-wide.
  • If you, as an individual, need to quarantine but the rest of the class does not (for example, exposure through a positive test in another class), contact the instructor separately and we will work with you.

OTHER INFORMATION (GENERAL NOTES):  Assignments will be given for reading material in preparation for lecture and for homework assignments.  There will be small group activities throughout the semester.  Some will be during lecture and others during the lab.  There will be four (4) in-class exams.  These tests will be comprehensive and may contain true/false, matching, completion, short answer, multiple choice, and/or problem solving.  Homework assignments will be due on most Tuesdays.  Lab reports are normally due Thursday after the lab is done; do not wait until the last minute to do the lab questions!

LAB LOCKERS: Everyone will be assigned a locker (drawer) in the lab room and given a key for the semester. It will contain equipment for your use during the semester, and you can use it to store your apron and goggles. There will be a “Lab Check Out” day at the end of the semester for students to clean and organize equipment and return drawer keys. Failure to check out of lab will lower your semester grade by one letter.

TEACHING TECHNIQUES:  I will be using several teaching techniques in this class.  Of course, there will be the traditional lecturing for basic content.  I will keep this to only a portion of what we do in class; there will be breaks for problem solving, discussion, and practicing what you have learned.  There will be posted notes for you and these will be correlated to the lecture material.  In-class practice and lab work are often done in small group format.

You will find that I often will not directly answer your questions.  Instead, I will ask you a question that will help you develop an appropriate answer to your original question. This is called the Socratic Method and helps students formulate ideas using the previous knowledge they already  possess.  It also helps you develop critical thinking skills you will need in all aspects of your life. 

You may find yourself called upon during class, at the board working problems with other students, or perhaps leading a short discussion.  All of these are techniques that you can use in your classrooms if you teach in the future.  This is an interactive class and EVERYONE will be asked to participate often!

HOMEWORK GUIDELINES:  Homework must be neat and legible.  It may be done by hand or on the computer.  If I cannot read it, no credit is given.  All homework problems involving calculations must have all work shown and your chosen answer circled or otherwise clearly marked.  Work may be done in either pen or pencil; please do not use red. You are allowed to work together on homework, but I encourage you to take responsibility for your own answers as this will help you prepare for the exams.

LAB REPORTS:  Download and print the worksheets before coming to lab. While you may have partners for the lab, you need to turn in the work in your own handwriting.  Any work found in violation of this policy will receive a zero.  Lab reports are due Thursday after the experiment unless stated otherwise.  Anyone not present for the experiment will not be allowed to receive credit for the portions of the report involving the hands-on activities. Please do not turn it in if you didn't do it.

NOTEBOOKS:  Each student will keep a notebook (three-ring binder) to contain handout material, homework, class notes, lab reports, and other materials from the class.  The cover will include topics relevant to chemistry and interests of the student and will be part of the notebook grade.  The criteria for grading of the notebooks will be covered by another handout.(to be posted on Blackboard).

CLASS PRESENTATIONS:  Each student will be required to make a presentation to the class as part of a group of 2-3 students.  This presentation will be a lesson covering some topic appropriate for chemistry in the elementary classroom.  It will include handout material, expenses, and teacher notes, and will be grade appropriate as determined by the student.  The 20-minute presentation should include an activity for the class to do in small groups, and either handouts for everyone or a computer/slide presentation (or both!).  Additional information about this assignment will be posted on Blackboard. 


Syllabus Created on:

08/17/21 10:25 AM

Last Edited on:

08/18/21 2:50 PM