"Basics of Chemistry: Concepts in Context" is an introductory textbook that includes topics that one would expect for students in a college-level, one semester course (Preparatory or Introductory Chemistry) seeking a broad background. The book makes use of integrated contexts in which the chemistry is introduced and explained: health, an introduction to chemical aspects of medicine, and chemistry in everyday life. Some of the contextual components might be considered complex for an introductory college course. Indeed, virtually all chemistry in such a course can be learned and understood at a much higher level. Thus, the book ascribes to the principle of “need to know”, in which sufficient background is presented to explain the ideas and information to the reader.
The book was developed over several years and in two circumstances—as a traditional print text and then later again as the reading and reference material assembled in an electronic form. As such, the book was vetted and reviewed in three drafts initially, subject to copyediting and then again through another redundant process prior to its publication here. The goal is to make the topics understandable and lucid to the learner and to aid the instructor in their tasks but to do so succinctly, accurately and in an interesting manner. Both reviewers from the ranks of college-level instructors and students in those courses have described the voice and language as being conversational and understandable. Besides the descriptive writing, such a project obviously includes tables of information and graphic elements—photos, figures and illustrations. The latter are intended to supplement the visual learning aspects of multimodal cognitive learning. The textbook portion contains solved or worked problems that follow an algorithmic approach.
The goal is not to teach the algorithm but to assure that students can use the steps to build their problem solving. Indeed, three question types appear both within the body of the writing but also at the end of sections and the end of the entire chapter. Practice problems resemble solved questions or other simple ones, extending the data or other question components to other circumstances.
Concept problems extend the application of the ideas beyond the simpler examples, asking the user to apply the knowledge more broadly. Extension problems typically require an application for which additional information and data must be accessed via the Internet (or other source). The goal is to acquire the data and answer the questions (and not simply use search tools for the answers). Chapters 1-9 concern themselves with atom and molecular considerations, states of matter, solutions, physical and chemical changes, energy, rate and equilibrium topics, and acid-base chemistry, and an introduction to organic molecular structure.
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