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CHEM 120 A: Principles of Chemistry I

Meeting Time: 
MTWTh 8:30am - 9:20am
GUG 220
Samantha Robinson
Samantha Robinson

Syllabus Description:

"If you never guess wrong, you're not guessing about hard enough things." - Jordan Ellenberg, Shape, 2021 (p. 418)

Course Meeting Times


M, T, W, TH 8:30-9:20am

GUG 220

Lectures are recorded via Panopto, and the recordings will be available on Canvas (and as a live stream).

Attendance is not monitored in lecture and you only need to attend in person for the 4 midterms and the final exam. If you need to miss an exam for any reason, please submit a response to this absence form.

Discussion (Quiz) Sections

Fridays (times and locations per the UW Time Schedule)

Discussion sections are not recorded and in-person participation is expected. You are allowed to miss two discussion sections without penalty. If you need to miss discussion section for any reason, please submit a response to this absence form.

Lab Sections

Mondays & Tuesdays (times and locations per the UW Time Schedule)

In-person participation is required for lab. You are required to attend a lab safety orientation and 6 lab experiments. If you need to miss lab for any reason, please submit a response to this absence form.

Teaching Team


Dr. Samantha Robinson (she/her) |

Office Hours: Mondays 9:30-11:00am (BAG 202)

Teaching Assistants

TA Office Hours Schedule TBA

Ramsess Quezada - he/them | (Lead + Section AH) |

Alyson Shoji - she/her | (Section AA, AI) |

Roxanne Sai - she/her | (Section AB) |

Hui Gao - she/her | (Section AC) |

Megan Phan - she/her | (Section AD) |

Sasha Sawyer - they/them | (Section AE, AJ) |

Rowena Yin  - she/her | (Section AF) |

Chisa Zensho - she/her | (Section AG, AL) |

Sean Xiang - he/him | (Section AK)  |

Course Materials & Connectivity

Textbook & Online Homework Access

      • General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry, 7th edition (Stoker, Cengage)
      • Achieve Online Homework (Macmillan) (Course code = vnyzt2) ($32/quarter with UW pricing)
      • Scientific (non-graphing) calculator

(There are several formats of the textbook available from the bookstore and other retailers (hardcover, loose-leaf, rental, used, etc.) Pick whatever format will be most affordable and convenient for you. More information is available on the Textbook & Materials Information Page)

Lab Gear

      • Lab Coat & Goggles
      • Lab Notebook (carbonless duplicate pages)

(More information available on the Lab Policies Page)

Internet & Instructional Technology

    • Access to a computer or tablet

Need a device? Try Student Technology Loan Program funded by Student Technology Fees

    • Daily online access
    • Should we need to pivot to remote discussion sections, labs, and/or exams:
      • Zoom (
      • You will need to be able to participate in Zoom discussion sections by voice
      • You will need the ability to convert a sheet of paper and/or file to pdf

You will NOT need a printer or separate scanner for this course, but submissions cannot be a group of individual image files. There are free apps available for both Apple and Android devices: ie, Genius Scan, Scannable, and the native "Notes" app on Apple devices.

Learning Objectives

See a specific breakdown of objectives & skills per chapter in the Canvas site.

Course Components & Grading

The course consists of:

  • 4 recorded in-person class sessions per week - Recordings will be available in Panopto in Canvas
  • 1 in-person discussion section per week with a teaching assistant (sessions are not recorded)
  • 6 Lab experiments over the course of the quarter
  • Daily work in the Achieve online homework platform
  • In-person exams administered during the lecture time in GUG 220
  • Various participation assignments: exam reflections, reading assignments, etc.

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




4 midterm exams (12% each, drop lowest score)



1 cumulative final exam





8 Discussion Sections (drop 2)



27 Active Reading Assignments (drop 2)



Auxiliary Participation Assignments

(Includes Surveys and Exam Reflections)


Achieve Online Homework (15 total assignments - drop 1 assignment)


Lab Experiments & Reports (6 experiments)




Some additional notes on grading:

  • The final median GPA in Chemistry 120 generally falls between 2.6-2.9.
  • 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.
  • Your scores for the various assignments and exams will be recorded using the online Gradebooks in Canvas.

Additional Resources in Canvas

Course Schedules: Assignment Due Dates + Reading Schedule

Office Hours Schedule

Classroom Climate

Access & Accommodations

Academic Ethics

Keys to Success & Help Resources

Course Communication

Course Policies (Absences & Late Work)


Catalog Description: 
First course in a three-quarter overview of general chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry. Not for students majoring in biochemistry, chemistry, or engineering. Includes matter and energy, chemical nomenclature, chemical reactions, stoichiometry, modern atomic theory, chemical bonding. Laboratory. Only 5 credits can be counted toward graduation from the following: CHEM 120, CHEM 142, CHEM 145. Prerequisite: Assessment of skills by taking General Chemistry Placement Exam Offered: AS.
GE Requirements: 
Natural Sciences (NSc)
Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning (QSR)
Section Type: 
Last updated: 
September 23, 2022 - 9:56pm