CHEM 110 A: Preparation for General Chemistry

Autumn 2020
MWF 8:30am - 9:20am / * *
Section Type:
Syllabus Description (from Canvas):

Download a PDF of the Summarized Course Schedule (calendar only with reading schedule):

Download a PDF of the full Syllabus content shown below (includes calendar):

CHEMISTRY 110 A AUTUMN 2020 (SLN: 12229)


Course Web Site: 

Registration Questions and Entry Codes:  Chemistry Undergraduate Services |

Lectures/Lessons:          M, W, F  8:30 – 9:20 am PDT,  via Zoom (meeting IDs and links on Zoom page of course site)



     Course : Prof. Andrea Carroll | or  direct message via Canvas Inbox

     Public Office hours:  Wed 9 pm - 10 pm and Thurs 9 am - 10 am, via Zoom (meeting IDs and links on Zoom page of course site)

     Private Office Hours: If you would like to discuss something personal/private, please email me to schedule a private appointment. I will send you a private Zoom link.


Discussion/Lab Section TAs:      




Maddie Wong


Penny Poon


Yuting Zeng



  TA Help Sessions on Zoom:  You may attend any and all TA help sessions! The TAs can help you course content, ALEKS, pre-labs, data analysis, lab write-ups, etc. TA Help Sessions will NOT be recorded or posted in order to protect student privacy. (meeting IDs and links on Zoom page of course site)



Except where indicated, all items are required and available from the University Bookstore:

  • Introductory Chemistry: A Foundation, 8th ed., Zumdahl and Decoste
  • Study Guide to Introductory Chemistry, Zumdahl (optional).
  • Scientific calculator. A simple calculator that can handle log calculations and scientific notation is sufficient.
  • ALEKS access. Purchase online: (see ALEKS info on the course website for more information).
  • Daily online access to Canvas ( and the Zoom app (within Canvas or at You can look for WA State Drive-in wifi hotspots if needed. For Discussion and Lab Sessions you must be able to participate in Zoom calls by voice. If your computer does not have a microphone, you may need to log in with your phone.



Students who successfully complete CHEM 110 will be able to

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • describe matter qualitatively at the microscopic and macroscopic levels.
  • predict microscopic quantities given macroscopic data, and vice versa.
  • predict the types and amounts of products of common chemical reactions.
  • analyze a complex problem using chemical principles, discriminate between useful and un-useful information within the context of the problem, design a solution path, and present the result with appropriate descriptors.
  • evaluate whether the result of a calculation makes sense, analyze sources of error in the approach
    (i.e., arithmetic, logical, or conceptual) and redesign the solution path to achieve an accurate result.


The course is organized into five areas of focus, and each is designed around a set of questions that a person might ask if they were curious about how chemistry works.

Relationships. Goal: to develop relationships with each other and with the material.

  • Who is everyone, and why are these relationships important to your learning?
  • How do scientists think?

Communication. Goal: To learn how to properly communicate scientific findings.

  • Why does it matter how we communicate science?
  • How do we know how good a measurement is, or what it is measuring?
  • How do we appropriately and efficiently communicate a scientific finding?

Representation. Goal: To represent matter at microscopic and macroscopic scales of measure.

  • Why does it matter how we represent matter?
  • How do we know if a chemical change occurred?
  • How do we know that atoms exist?
  • What do molecules look like, and how do we name them?

Connecting. Goal: To move quantitatively between microscopic and macroscopic scales of measure.

  • Why do we want to connect the macro- and microscopic scales of measure?
  • How do we count atoms if they are too small to see?
  • How can we use macroscopic experimental data to determine microscopic chemical composition?

Change. Goal: To describe chemical change qualitatively and quantitatively.

  • Why do we care about describing chemical change?
  • What are some common types of chemical reactions?
  • How much stuff can we get from a chemical reaction?
  • Why does a system get hot or cold during a reaction?



The course consists of:

  • 3 lecture lessons per week – via Zoom meetings or Panopto Recordings in Canvas – these will be recorded.
  • 1 discussion section per week – with TA via Zoom Meetings in Canvas. These will NOT be recorded.
  • Daily work in the ALEKS online learning environment, with weekly deadlines and an end-of-the-quarter progress deadline
  • Online quizzes and exams



The point distribution for the evaluative components of the course is as follows:



Final exam




ALEKS Objectives & Mastery




Quizzes. Quizzes will be delivered via Canvas during the regularly-scheduled class session on Fridays in weeks 3, 5, and 7 and then on Wednesdays in weeks 9 and 11. There will be five quizzes and at the end of the quarter one quiz score will be ignored/dropped before course grades are assigned. Each quiz will focus mainly on the most recent set of lectures, but chemistry is a cumulative subject by nature, so we will assume that you have a firm understanding of material from earlier in the quarter and from previous courses when we the quiz questions. The Quizzes represent 50% of your course grade (12.5% each).

Final Exam. The Final Exam will be delivered via Canvas during the regularly-scheduled final exam session for this course. The Final Exam is cumulative. Towards the end of the quarter we will provide details about the percentage by points of each course unit on the final. The Final Exam represents 20% of your course grade.

Participation. Discussion section (called Quiz section in the UW Time Schedule) will be conducted via Zoom during the regularly scheduled discussion section time. To earn your participation credit, you must arrive on time and participate in good faith during the Discussion Section, not simply be in attendance. The two lowest Discussion Section scores will be dropped, allowing you to miss two without penalty. We may provide other opportunities to earn participation credit (if so they will be announced in class and described on the course website). All of the scores for any additional participation assignments will be included in your participation grade (i.e., the lowest score will not be dropped) and the breakdown of the overall participation grade will be adjusted. These additional opportunities will not be “extra-credit” points. The Participation category represents 10% of your course grade.

ALEKS. Your ALEKS grade is constructed from your Objective scores and the percent of the pie you complete by the end of the quarter. The more of the pie you complete, the higher your ALEKS score will be, but you do not have to complete the entire pie to earn credit for ALEKS. Similarly, you do not have to complete all the topics in an Objective to earn credit for that Objective. Whatever percentage of topics you complete by the due date will be your score for that Objective. The Objective and Pie Mastery portions of your ALEKS grade are weighted equally. They each represent 10% of your overall course grade, so altogether the ALEKS category represents 20% of your course grade. **Note: minimum ALEKS Pie mastery scores are tied to the course grades: 70% is required to earn course grades of 1.7-2.4, 80% for grades 2.5-3.4, and 90% for grades 3.5-4.0. 

Monitor your Scores. Your scores for the various course components will be recorded using the online Gradebooks in Canvas ( The scores from ALEKS will be migrated to the Chem 110 course gradebook periodically throughout the quarter.

Grades. Total course scores will be calculated as outlined above and grades will be assigned based on the percent score earned for the quarter. The table below provides the PROPOSED score to grade conversion.  We reserve the right to adjust these conversions and any adjustments will be described in class and/or on the course website if they are needed. Note from the ALEKS section above: minimum ALEKS Pie mastery scores are tied to the course grades: 70% is required to earn course grades of 1.7-2.4, 80% for grades 2.5-3.4, and 90% for grades 3.5-4.0. You will see this requirement reflected in the table below. (Example: if you have a score of 82%, which is shown with a grade of 2.7, but only achieve 79% Mastery in ALEKS (% of Pie), then the grade assigned will be a 2.4 (the maximum grade available for ALEKS mastery in the 70% bucket.)  It is the Chemistry Department’s policy not to make grade changes of 0.1 after final class grades are submitted to the UW Registrar.

grade conversion table2.png


Original work performed in good faith is assumed on all assignments and course components.

The Student Conduct Code prohibits several forms of academic misconduct (see section 7: Prohibited Conduct), including:

  • Cheating
  • Falsification
  • Plagiarism
  • Unauthorized collaboration
  • Engaging in behavior specifically prohibited by an instructor
  • Recording and/or dissemination of instructional content without express permission of the instructor

Your submissions for online assignments and exams should be your own, individual work unless explicitly told otherwise.  You will be signing and submitting an honor code statement for this course.

For exams and/or quizzes, you may not seek out or accept any input from other individuals nor should you communicate with other members of the class or provide assistance to other students during or after the assignments unless an instructor explicitly allows for that collaboration.  This also prohibits the sharing of content from any assignments, quizzes, exams, etc. with 3rd-parties such as Chegg, CourseHero, Reddit, or any other non-UW course content repositories.  Failure to adhere to this code of ethics will result in referral for possible disciplinary action as described in the Student Conduct Code.



Lectures. Lessons covering course content will be provided via Zoom during the published class time. These sessions will be recorded and available for viewing in Panopto as your schedule allows. Part of your expected work is to participate in the Zoom sessions or view the lectures on Panopto and submit any questions that you have about the lectures the to the course discussion board on Canvas.

Textbook material. Lectures will cover only highlights of the textbook material. The textbook sections that correspond to each lecture are listed in the course schedule.  You are responsible for material covered in class AND in the textbook (whether or not it was covered in lecture).



Activities in Discussion Sections (“QZ” in the Time Schedule).  The weekly Discussion Section will be facilitated by your TA via Zoom. The primary activities during Discussion Section will include:

  • TA fielding questions about quizzes, general course content, etc.
  • working with your remote colleagues on worksheet problems relevant to current course topics.

The worksheet problems are intended to help you synthesize the material covered in the previous week’s lectures, therefore, they will be quite challenging. A blank version of the worksheet will be available in advance of a particular Discussion Section. You can find them in the relevant Unit page in the Course Topics module. The worksheet key will be available after the last Discussion Section wraps up each week.

Important note for Zoom Discussion Sections: If you want to keep your video off to save on bandwidth that is fine, but you must interact with your colleagues through the audio in order to participate. If your computer microphone doesn't work, you can join the DS Zoom meeting through a phone connection. Ask your TA for details.



This course uses the internet-based learning program ALEKS (Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces). In ALEKS, you will complete learning objectives rather than traditional homework assignments. An ALEKS Objective contains topics relevant to the lecture discussions. ALEKS will present you with a series of problems that explore a particular topic. The problems will have enough variability that you will only be able to get them consistently correct by understanding the core principle or skill defining the topic. Your daily/weekly work on ALEKS will be on your own schedule outside of class, although there are specific deadlines by which you must complete various Objectives. The registration code for your ALEKS course can be found on the ALEKS information page of the course website in Canvas. Make sure that you register for the ALEKS course specific to this quarter’s section of Chem 110.

Your first task in ALEKS will be to complete an Initial Knowledge Check. This is ALEKS’s way of assessing your current knowledge of math and chemistry, so that it can guide you appropriately. You will probably be asked a few questions that you don’t know how to answer. Don’t worry…the ALEKS system is only determining your knowledge baseline so that it can be tailored to address your specific needs. ALEKS will give you a new Knowledge Check after you complete each Objective, so that it can track your evolving knowledge state as you move through the material and continue to tailor its approach to your unique learning path.

You, alone, are responsible for monitoring the due date and time for all ALEKS Objectives. Note that it is not possible to open up an ALEKS Objective 3 or 4 hours before it’s due and be able to complete it. ALEKS will not let you access the problems corresponding to the more advanced topics in an Objective until you have mastered the basics, so you will need to spend time nearly every day on ALEKS to complete the Objectives. The schedule of Objectives and their due dates is available on the Canvas course site.



Quizzes. There are five quizzes in this course, delivered via Canvas every other week on Fridays in weeks 3, 5, and 7 and then on Wednesdays in weeks 9 and 11. The lowest score among the five quizzes will be dropped. The dates for the quizzes are provided in the course schedule on Canvas. Quizzes will be delivered during the regularly-scheduled class time.

Each quiz will focus mainly on the most recent set of lessons, but chemistry knowledge is cumulative by nature, so the quiz questions will often depend on knowledge from earlier chapters and courses. Information about quiz length and coverage will be posted as each quiz date nears.

Final Exam. The final exam will be delivered via Canvas during the time slot assigned in Finals Week. The final exam will be cumulative over the quarter. Information about length and coverage will be posted as the final exam date nears.




If you are unable to complete a required course activity due to a valid, unavoidable cause, please report it by filling out the Absence Reporting Google Form available via the link posted on the Canvas course and lab sites.

Examples of unavoidable causes include: illness; death or serious illness in the immediate family; and – with prior notification – observance of regularly scheduled religious obligations, attendance at academic conferences or field trips, or participation in university-sponsored activities. Note: absences due to participation in university-sponsored activities require PRIOR approval.

If you are ill or dealing with a serious illness in your immediate family, no documentation is necessary or required; the Department of Chemistry requests that you NOT submit any health-related documents.  If you experience any of the other types of absences, please be prepared to submit the documentation supporting your absence.

Exam/Quiz Absences.  If you have an unanticipated absence from a quiz or midterm exam, please submit the Absence Reporting Google Form within 48 hours of the exam. The information and related documentation you submit will be reviewed and the course instructor will be notified of the status of your absence. If your absence is excused, either the missed assignment will be dropped before course grades are assigned or your performance on the final will be used to replace the score of the missed quiz/exam.  If your absence does not meet the above criteria, it will be considered unexcused and you will be given a zero for the quiz/exam.

If you are absent from the final exam and are eligible for an incomplete, you must make up the final exam no later than the end of the next regular academic quarter to remove the incomplete. There are no exceptions to this rule.  If you are absent and not eligible for an incomplete according to UW regulations, a course grade of 0.0 will be given.

Important note:  The meeting sessions in Zoom record participation. If you do not log into your scheduled session, if you miss a significant amount of your scheduled session, and/or if you are not engaged in participation during the session, you will not receive credit for that Zoom session.



The goal of the Department of Chemistry, and of the University of Washington as a whole is help you develop critical thinking skills. Those skills and your training to succeed in professional environments are enhanced when you interact with people with diverse backgrounds, embodiments, and experiences. Therefore, I expect you to follow the UW Student Conduct Code in your interactions with your colleagues and me in this course by respecting the many social and cultural differences among us, which may include, but are not limited to: age, cultural background, disability, ethnicity, family status, gender identity and presentation, citizenship and immigration status, national origin, race, religious and political beliefs, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and veteran status. I expect the same of your TAs, UW staff members, and myself. Please talk with me right away if you experience disrespect in this class, and I will work to address it in an educational manner. is a resource for students with classroom climate concerns.



Your experience in this class is important to us, and it is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law. Disability Resources for Students (DRS) offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities.  If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary or permanent disability that requires accommodations, you are welcome to contact DRS at 206-543-8924 or or visit  If you have already established accommodations with DRS, the information for the Alternative Testing Contract will be submitted to DRS via their online system. Students with accommodations are solely responsible for scheduling the exams with DRS well in advance of the exam dates.  Regarding lab reports and accommodations for “quick turnaround assignments”: because students will have >24 hours after their lab session to upload in-lab reports into Gradescope and a full week for take-home reports, there will not be DRS-related deadline extensions for Chem 162 reports. 



Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy ( ). Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form ( ).



  1. Participate in ALL available sessions, pay close attention, and take notes.
  2. Learning chemistry is a sequential process. You must understand today’s material before you can understand tomorrow's. As with all courses at UW, your instructors and TAs will assume that you are studying at least two hours for each hour of lecture and one hour for every hour of lab. Find a place that allows for periods of uninterrupted study. Skim through chapter or sections to be covered in the next lecture.
  3. Make daily, weekly, and quarterly learning plans and follow those plans.
  4. Working in shorter, more frequent sessions in ALEKS will be more efficient than long, marathon sessions.
  5. Practice! Work on suggested end-of-the-chapter problems as well as topics in ALEKS - focus on understanding the concepts and general processes, not just memorizing how to solve a specific problem.
  6. Talk chemistry with fellow Chem 110 students. You will not only learn more, but you will probably also enjoy the course more. This is a much bigger challenge with remote learning, but also so much more important when there are not in-person sessions. Use the discussion board, conferences, chats, etc. to create study groups for talking about the course content.




Catalog Description:
Introduction to general chemistry with an emphasis on developing problem solving skills. Covers basic concepts of chemistry along with the mathematics required for quantitative problem solving. For students without high school chemistry or with limited mathematics background. Successful completion of CHEM 110 prepares students to enroll in CHEM 142. Prerequisite: assessment of skills by taking the General Chemistry Placement Exam. Offered: AWS.
GE Requirements Met:
Natural Sciences (NSc)
Last updated:
June 15, 2024 - 2:02 pm