Print Version

Effective: Summer 2015

Prerequisites: Prerequisite: Satisfactory score on the mathematics placement test or MATH 105 or 108.
Advisory: Advisory: Concurrent enrollment in ESLL 25 or ENGL 209.
Grade Type: Letter Grade, the student may select Pass/No Pass
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Natural Sciences Transferable: CSU/UC
4 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. (84 hours total per quarter)

Description -
This course introduces one of the most significant emerging fields in modern chemistry, green chemistry, which connects the optimum use of chemistry to the well-being of humanity and the environment. Fundamental principles of chemistry necessary to understand the source and fate of man-made chemical substances in the environment and potential impacts on human health. Chemical concepts such as atomic structure, bonding, thermodynamics, and chemical reactivity are introduced as they pertain to particular environmental issues. Basic chemical laboratory techniques and methods are included as well as a survey of important green chemical principles with an emphasis on inquiry and problem solving. Intended for students who wish to meet general education requirements in physical science or those planning to complete the General Chemistry sequence (CHEM 1A - 1C). CHEM 20 qualifies as a prerequisite for CHEM 1A and is accepted for General Education Natural Science transfer credit by both the California State University and University of California systems.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. describe the principle of sustainability as it relates to green chemistry and discuss its application in chemical processes
  2. understand the scientific method and distinguish between hypotheses and scientific laws.
  3. use dimensional analysis to set up and solve numerical problems.
  4. classify matter and describe the properties of matter.
  5. quantify relationships between air composition, health hazards and global climate change
  6. understand the fundamental assumptions of atomic theory and describe the structure of the atom.
  7. use the periodic table to explain and predict properties of elements.
  8. interpret chemical formulas, write simple compound names and recognize classes of compounds based on their formulas.
  9. write, balance, and classify chemical equations and recognize patterns of chemical reactivity to predict the products of a chemical reaction.
  10. identify and discuss energy sources and their thermodynamic and environmental aspects
  11. describe and discuss the key chemical properties of water and the issues related to humanity's use of water
  12. understand the meaning and uses of the mole and of Avogadro's number.
  13. describe the properties of solutions and define and use molarity in calculations.
  14. develop a basic understanding of the composition of selected classes of synthetic organic chemicals and their environmental fates
  15. describe the properties of acids and bases and understand the basis of the pH scale.
  16. identify the environmental sources and atmospheric reactions which lead to acid rain
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
A chemistry laboratory, safety goggles or Visorgogs, a scientific calculator, and an access code for online homework.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Introduction to the Principles of Green Chemistry
    1. Impact of humanity on our environment
    2. Principles of sustainability
    3. Sustainable practices we need for our future
  2. Chemistry of Air
    1. Composition of air
    2. Scientific method: Observations, hypotheses, theories, and scientific laws
    3. Measurements, units and conversion factors
    4. Significant figures and scientific notation
    5. Chemistry of selected air pollutants and risk assessment
    6. Classification, physical states and properties of matter
    7. Physical and chemical properties and changes
    8. Atomic structure and periodicity
  3. Chemistry of Global Climate Change
    1. Simple Lewis structures, chemical bonds and molecular shapes
    2. Carbon cycle and the greenhouse effect
    3. Quantitative concepts: mass, molecules and moles
    4. Human drivers of climate change: gas emissions and land use
  4. Our Addiction to Energy
    1. The thermochemistry of combustion
    2. Measuring the efficiency of energy transformations
    3. Energy changes at the molecular level
    4. Efficiency and environmental impact of combustion fuels: coal, petroleum and biofuels
    5. Isotopes, radioactivity and energy from nuclear fission
    6. Energy from electron transfer: redox reactions, batteries, fuel cells and renewable sources
  5. Water for Life
    1. Unique chemical properties of water
    2. Aqueous solutions, solubility and concentration units (mass/volume; molarity)
    3. Identifying ionic and molecular compounds as solutes
    4. Properties of acids and bases and the pH scale
    5. Acid rain: sources and consequences; measurement of water quality
  6. Polymers, Plastics and Our World
    1. Organic molecules as units of polymers
    2. Common polymers and their characteristics
    3. From cradle to grave: the fate and impact of plastics on the environment
Methods of Evaluation -
The student will demonstrate proficiency by:
  1. Successful completion of online homework assignments
  2. Passing grades on exams and quizzes covering lecture and laboratory concepts
  3. Satisfactory performance of laboratory experiments
  4. Timely and coherent completion of written laboratory assignments
  5. Successful completion of a special topic group project and presentation
  6. Satisfactory performance on a comprehensive final exam
  7. Group Project on assigned topic such as:
    1. Drugs as pollutants
    2. Can plastics make you fat? The theory of obesogens
    3. Genetic engineering: Should we fear “Frankenfoods?”
    4. Growing greener food
    5. Green chemistry as a business strategy
    6. Innovative ideas for a greener home
    7. Poisons all around us: Hazardous wastes
Representative Text(s) -
Text: Middlecamp, et al, Chemistry in Context, 7th edition, American Chemical Society, 2012. (use of the electronic text will be encouraged)
Hill, et al, Chemistry for Changing Times, 13th edition, Pearson, 2010.
Lab Manual: Holland, ML, PhD. CHEM 20 Lab Manual for Foothill College, First Edition 2013.
Laboratory Manual for Chemistry in Context, 7th edition, the American Chemical Society, McGraw-Hill, 2011.

Disciplines -
Method of Instruction -
  1. Lecture
  2. Laboratory demonstrations and experiments,
  3. Class Discussion
  4. Group Work
Lab Content -
  1. Observation and Measurement Skills:
    1. Introduction to SI measurements, units and prefixes and the concepts of accuracy and precision
    2. Measure and record mass and volume data correctly
    3. Practice graphing data and determining the equation for a line.
  2. Concentrating on the Unknown
    1. Become familiar with concepts of detecting substances and measuring concentrations based on the absorbance of light using a simple spectrometer
    2. Perform simple dilutions of standards to generate a calibration line for a light absorbing substance
    3. Determine the concentration of a light absorbing substance in an unknown sample
  3. Generating and Characterizing Gases Based on Chemical Properties
    1. Make observations when reactants are combine and identify indicators of chemical change
2.Perform a series of chemical reactions to generate gases and test their reactivity
  • Become familiar with characteristics of some important atmospheric gases
  • What's in your water? Basic theory and use of atomic emission spectroscopy to determine metal concentrations in local water sources
    1. Introduction to the principles of emission spectroscopy using flame tests and visible light emission spectroscopes.
    2. Preparation of local water samples for analysis of environmentally significant metals by atomic emission spectrometry.
  • Exploring Combustion: Fuels and Energy Efficiency
    1. Experimentally determine and compare energy produced by combustion of different fuels
    2. Compare the theoretical and experimental energy values using percent error
  • Synthesis of Biodiesel (2 part lab)
    1. Synthesize biodiesel from vegetable oil
    2. Learn the use of a centrifuge
    3. Calculate theoretical and experimental yields
    4. Demonstrate the principles of atom economy by synthesizing soap incorporating the glycerol byproduct
    G.Polymers and Plastics (2 part Lab)
    1. Part 1: Synthesize samples of bioplastics
    2. Part 2: Characterize and compare physical properties of common recyclable plastics and the synthesized bioplastics. Propose novel uses for the synthesized bioplastics based on their properties.
    Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
    1. Homework Assignments:
      1. Homework will consist of reading the assigned text, completing problems from the text, and online homework assignments (problems, tutorials, practice quizzes) for each of the ten chapters covered in this course.
    2. Laboratory assignments:
      1. There will be 7-8 experiments performed in this course during the weekly two-hour laboratory session for which a pre-laboratory assignment, data and calculations, and a post-laboratory assignment are assessed for credit.
    3. Additional course work:
      1. One or more group projects with a presentation will be assigned which will require a substantial time commitment outside of class
      2. The careful and regular reading and rereading of the text and lecture notes are essential to passing this course.
      3. Practice worksheets will be provided by the instructor that showcase more challenging problems and may be completed in-class or as additional homework.