CHEM 142 A: General Chemistry

Spring 2023
MWF 9:30am - 10:20am / BAG 131
Section Type:
Syllabus Description (from Canvas):


Download a copy of the course schedule:

  • 2023-MM-DD Version: DOCX | PDF

Where, When, and How 

Class Sessions (all in KNE 130):

  • Section A: 8:30-9:20 am
  • Section B: 9:30-10:20 am
  • All class sessions will be recorded and made available in the CHEM 142 A Panopto folder

Course Web Site: 

Registration Questions/Entry Codes: Chemistry Undergraduate Services | 

If you are sick or qualify in other ways for an excused absence, please fill out the form below:

UW Chemistry Absence Reporting Form


Course Instructor:   

Prof. Colleen Craig | contact via | public help sessions (office hours) in the Chemistry Study Center (BAG 330)

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

Lab Instructor:

Prof. Andrea Carroll | | Office hours: email for appointment

TAs in Discussion and Lab Sections:  

Consult MyPlan or the UW Time Schedule for time and location information for your Discussion and Lab Sections.

Discussion Section Schedule Notes

Discussion Section (DS) will be in person, at the scheduled time on Tuesdays (Sect B) and Tuesdays (Sect A) and at the location listed in your course schedule as "QZ". In person participation in DSs is part of your grade. In person DSs will not be recorded. See the Policies page for Discussion Section absence policies. 

DS will not meet for either Section A or B in Week 1.

DS in Week 2: Your TA will describe the purpose, structure, and grading policy of DS in detail, then you will split up into groups to complete worksheet problems relevant to content covered in Lessons 1.1-1.2. DS in Week 2 will not be graded

DS in Weeks 3-11: You will work in small groups on worksheet problems relevant to content covered since the previous DS. DSs in Weeks 3-11 will be graded on participation. Your two lowest DS scores over the term will be dropped. 

Lab Section Schedule Notes

Week 1: No Lab this week. You do not need to attend your lab section during week 1.

Week 2: Lab Safety Orientation. Proper attire, lab coat, and goggles are required.

Weeks 3-5: Labs meet in person. See the Policies page for Laboratory absence policies. 

Week 6: No Lab this week.

Weeks 7-9: Labs meet in person. See the Policies page for Laboratory absence policies. 

Week 10: Holiday, No Lab this week.

TA Help Sessions

All TAs will offer Help Sessions in the Chemistry Study Center, BAG 330. See the "Get Help!" Canvas module for the schedule. You may attend any and all TA help sessions! This means that you can get MULTIPLE hours per week of live help from TAs. The TAs can help you with pre-labs, data analysis, lab write-ups, and course content.

TA Sections, name of the TA associated with each section, and TA emails
Section TA Email (


Course Communications

General questions about the course? Use Ed Discussion.

With so many students in this class, it’s simply not feasible for the instructor or the TAs to respond to individual emails about the course content or schedule. If you have a question along these lines, please post it to Ed Discussion rather than emailing one of us directly. That way you will be accessing the collective knowledge of literally hundreds of people, who are all thinking about the same things as you. You are likely to receive an answer much more quickly than if you only email an instructor or TA. The TAs and instructor will be actively monitoring the discussion board and will answer questions as we find them. Many of your colleagues will probably have the same question as you, so posting your question on the discussion board helps everyone in the class.

How to help me respond to your emails:

I receive a lot of emails. I will do our best to respond within 24 business hours to an email you send me, but to maximize your chances of hearing back, please adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Email me about private matters, such as grades, or requests for private appointments. Questions about course content or the course schedule should be posted to Ed Discussion. If you send me an email with a non-sensitive or non-personal question, I will not respond.
  2. Use your official UW email to send your message. This helps me know that I am really talking to you and not some rando with a hotmail account who wants to know about you, because you have to log in to your UW email using your UW NetID credentials. (Learn how to set up UW Gmail or Office 365 for your UW email address.)
  3. Indicate your TA section and your Full Name
  4. Present yourself in a professional manner
    • Use an appropriate salutation (“Dear Prof. Craig,” or “Hi Prof. Craig,” etc.) and sign-off (“Best, Leslie Jones” or “Thanks, Jerrod Carmichael” etc.).
    • Write in complete sentences.
    • Employ proper punctuation and grammar

How to make an appointment to speak with me privately:

If you would like to schedule a time to speak with me privately, I am happy to meet with you! I schedule student meetings in 15-minute blocks. Meetings can be held either in person or on Zoom. When you contact me to set up a meeting, please follow these steps:

  1. Send an email. I will not remember to put the meeting on the calendar if we only speak in person.
  2. Indicate whether you want to schedule a private meeting (if you have questions about grades, DRS accommodations, etc.), or if other students may attend (if you want to discuss course content).
  3. Indicate whether your prefer an in-person or Zoom meeting. If Zoom, I will send you a meeting link once we confirm a day and time. Note: Depending on the day/time, I may only be available via Zoom. 
  4. Suggest two or three possible days for our meeting, and provide your detailed schedule on those days. I will email you back with a 15-minute block.
  5. Confirm via email that the day and time I suggest will work for you. 
  6. If you have to reschedule or cancel a meeting we’ve set, let me know as soon as possible.


If you're sick (with anything!) or have received a positive COVID test, do not come to class, even if it is on an exam day. The Chemistry Department has a generous sick leave policy. You can request an excused absence at the Chemistry Department Absence Reporting Form. If you're feeling sick, please stay home and take your first opportunity to get tested.

"What if I miss an exam due to illness?"

Consult Policies for Quizzes/Exams for information about how we will handle exams scores that are missing due to illness.


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

Laboratory Accommodations

If you require accommodations in the laboratory (including assistants and/or interpreters), please contact the Undergraduate Services Director (Bagley 303D) in person during the first week of the quarter to discuss your accommodations. If you have accommodations related to lab report deadlines, follow the instructions on the Course Policies and Lab Info and Schedule pages of the Labs Canvas site PRIOR to your first lab for the quarter.

Quiz/Exam Accommodations

For the Preparation for General Chemistry and General Chemistry courses, it is the Department of Chemistry's practice to have students with exam accommodations take their exams in the DRS Testing Center. If you have already established accommodations with DRS, the information for the Alternative Testing Contract will be submitted to DRS via their online system. Questions regarding the online submission of the alternative testing request and contract should be directed to the Disability Resources for Students Office (, MGH 011).


Students with exam accommodations are solely responsible for scheduling the exams with DRS well in advance of the exam dates. Since the testing center has a limited capacity, please be sure to schedule ALL of your chemistry exams (including the final exam!) as early as possible in the quarter so that the DRS office can accommodate you.

Students who do not schedule far enough in advance to secure a testing reservation will need to take the exam in the classroom at the regular class time with the rest of the class, and will only be provided the standard time interval for completing the exam: 45 minutes for a midterm, and 100 minutes for the final.


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, can be found on the Religious Accommodations Policy page. Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form.


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

Course Materials

  • Chemical Principles, 7th ed., Zumdahl/Decoste (custom-split Chem 142 version available through the bookstore contains, in the order of coverage: Chapters 2, 12, 13, 3, 4, 15, & 5, as well as the Student Solutions Manual). You may purchase or rent full and/or e-book versions of the Chemical Principles 7th or 8th editions if you prefer – there are several options available by searching online.
  • Study Guide, Chemical Principles, 7th ed., Zumdahl/Kelter (optional).
  • UW General Chemistry 142 Laboratory Manual, Autumn 2022-Summer 2023 (Hayden McNeil).
  • Laboratory Notebook (Hayden McNeil) with numbered pages and carbonless duplicate pages. You may continue to use a notebook from a previous quarter if it meets the stated criteria and has at least 30 pages available. The bookstore sells a version with “UW Chemistry Laboratory Notebook” information on the front, but this version is not required – it is the type of notebook that is critical).
  • Lab coat and safety goggles (NO safety glasses or any other type of goggles).
  • Scientific calculator. Graphing/text-entry calculators WILL NOT be permitted on quizzes or exams.
  • ALEKS access. Purchase online. Consult the ALEKS module for more information. If your financial aid is delayed, contact your instructor for a temporary access code.

 Internet and Instructional Technology

  • Access to a computer or tablet. You can borrow one from the Student Technology Loan Program, which is funded through Student Technology Fees.
  • Daily online access to Canvas ( and ALEKS. Weekly online access to Gradescope. All necessary links are available on the course Canvas site.
  • Internet access. Students in WA State without broadband internet service: visit WA State Drive-in wifi hotpsots.
  • Ability to convert a sheet of paper and/or file into a PDF to submit your Lab Reports to Gradecsope. You do NOT need a printer or separate scanner for this course, but submissions cannot be a group of individual image files. Free scanning apps are available for smartphones (such as Genius Scan and Scannable) – the Gradescope instructions page of the Labs site has more details for using these apps.


Students who successfully complete CHEM 142 will be able to

  • Explain the chemical and physical behavior of matter based on the modern atomic theory, quantum mechanics, and the resulting atomic periodicity.
  • Describe the formation and energetics of chemical bonds based on electrostatic forces.
  • Describe and predict the structure of covalent and ionic compounds
  • Describe the physical and chemical changes taking place in chemical reactions at both the particulate and macroscopic levels.
  • Write balanced chemical equations for acid-base, precipitation, and oxidation-reduction reactions and use the balanced equations to predict quantities of reactants and products.
  • Explain the rate of chemical reactions and the conditions that influence the rate using rate laws, reaction mechanisms, and collision theory.
  • Explain the behavior of gas phase chemical systems at the particulate and macroscopic level using ideal gas behavior.
  • Develop skill in visualizing the particulate level as related to the concepts listed above.
  • Clearly define a problem and develop solutions for that problem including the use of central and auxiliary equations and conversion factors.
  • Relate empirical observations, particularly in the laboratory portion of the course, to concepts listed above.
  • Demonstrate laboratory, data analysis, and scientific writing skills.

NOTE: The Unit modules contain a more detailed list of the learning goals for each Unit and Lesson in this course.


Course Components

  • 3 class sessions per week, focusing on content discussion and problem-solving. In person attendance at these sessions is strongly encouraged, but optional. Class will be livestreamed and recorded via Panopto for those who cannot be present in person. 
  • 1 in person discussion section per week in Weeks 2-11
  • 1 in person three-hour laboratory session certain weeks of the quarter (6 labs total See the 142 Laboratory Resources page of the course website for details.) 
  • Daily work in the ALEKS online learning environment
  • Online prelab assignments and online submission of post-lab reports, delivered via Canvas
  • 3 in person exams, delivered in Weeks 4, 7, and 11 during the regularly scheduled class sessions in BAG 131. 
  • 1 in person final exam:
    • Section A: Tues, Dec 12 8:30-10:20 am in KNE 130
    • Section B: Wed, Dec 13 8:30-10:20 am in KNE 130


Course Category Weights and Descriptions

Category weights for overall course grade


Percent of grade

Reading Quizzes


Poll Everywhere In-Class Poll Participation

Discussion Section Participation


Exam Reflection Surveys


ALEKS (50% Objectives, 50% Pie Mastery)




Midterm Exams (2 highest scores out of 3 total; 21%/each)


Final Exam





Reading Quizzes (1%)

There will be a Reading Quiz in advance of each class day for which you have an assigned reading. Each Reading Quiz will contain 5 questions worth 1 point each. The goal of the Reading Quizzes to is help bring your attention to important concepts and terminology in the chapter that we will build on during class. Reading Quizzes will be graded on accuracy, not merely on completion. You are encouraged to have your book open while you work on the questions, and to work with other CHEM 142 students! The lowest 4 Reading Quiz scores will be dropped, allowing you to miss a few without penalty. 

Poll Everywhere In-Class Poll Participation (1.5%)

Discussion Section Participation (2%)

Discussion section will be conducted in person 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. Each Discussion Section is graded out of 3 pts:

    • 1 pt for arriving on time
    • 2 pts for participating in good faith

The two lowest Discussion Section scores in Weeks 2-10 will be dropped, allowing you to miss two without penalty.

Exam Reflection Surveys (1.5%)

These surveys will guide you through a reflection on your exam preparation strategies, and an analysis of your performance and the strategies that work best for you in learning the material for this course. Engaging with the survey questions sincerely will help you  build metacognition, a mental skill that allows you to keep track of which study habits work and which don't. There will be six Exam Reflection Surveys total: three Pre-Exam Reflections, and three Post-Exam Reflections, distributed throughout the quarter. (Note that there will not be a pre- or post-exam reflection for the final exam in this course.) Each Exam Reflection Survey is worth 2 pts. All Exam Reflection Surveys will count towards your score. 

ALEKS (13%)

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 some credit for ALEKS. Similarly, you do not have to complete all the topics in an Objective to earn some credit. Whatever percentage of topics you complete by the due date will be your score for that Objective. The number of topics is not the same in every Objective; we endeavored to make your load lighter in weeks with a quiz. The Objective and Pie Mastery portions of your ALEKS grade are weighted equally. They each represent 6.5% of your overall course grade. 

Laboratory (15%)

Your Laboratory grade is comprised of six prelab quizzes (5 pts/ea), six postlab reports (60 pts/ea), the Undergraduate Stockroom contract (5 pts), and the Safety Quiz (5 pts). All of the lab activities will count towards your score. More details about lab can be found on the 142 Lab Canvas page.

Midterm Exams (42%) and Final Exam (24%)

Graphing or text-entry calculators WILL NOT be permitted on exams.

A list of equations, constants, and conversion factors will be provided with exams. Students will not be permitted to bring their own list of notes or equations to exams.

There are three midterm exams in this course. Each exam will focus on the most recent set of lessons, but chemistry knowledge is cumulative by nature, so the questions will often depend on knowledge from earlier chapters and prerequisite courses. Information about exam length, format, and coverage will be posted in the Exams module as each exam date nears. The dates for the exams are provided in the course schedule on Canvas. 

The lowest score among the three midterm exams will be dropped. This drop policy encourages you to quarantine if you are sick, even if the quarantine period occurs on as exam day. Please do not come to class or to an exam if you are sick. If you have an excused absence on a midterm exam, your missed exam score will be replaced with your score on the final exam. 

Exam keys will be available on Canvas after grading has been completed, except for the final exam which will not be published. Scores for the final exam will be posted in the Canvas gradebook. You may make an appointment with me next quarter to view your responses and grading details for the final exam.

Grade Distribution

The final mean GPA in Chemistry 1x2 generally falls within the range 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.

How course grades are calculated: I will use the equation of a line between (~98%, 4.0) and (~40%, 0.7) to convert course percentages into GPs. When I do this, the average grade tends to fall in the range 2.6-2.9. I do not set the average to fall in this range. This means your grade in the course does not depend on anyone else's grade! Grades in this class are not zero sum. 

Monitor your Scores

Your scores for Participation, Lab, and Exams  will be recorded using the Canvas Gradebook. Your ALEKS scores can be monitored through the Gradebook and Reports tabs on ALEKS. Your overall ALEKS grade will be imported to the Canvas Gradebook at the end of the quarter.


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

You are required to sign and submit an honor code statement for this course, in which you will affirm your acknowledgment of what constitutes academic misconduct in this course as defined below. Failure to adhere to this code of ethics will result in referral for possible disciplinary action as described in the Student Conduct Code.

General policies for all course assignments

Your submissions for ALL assignments (including but not limited to homework assignments, lab reports, quizzes, and exams) should be your own individual work unless you are explicitly told otherwise by your instructor.

You are strictly prohibited from sharing any content from ANY assignment (including but not limited to homework assignments, lab reports, quizzes, and exams) with any website or app (including but not limited to Discord, Chegg, Course Hero, and Snapchat) or any other course content repository (virtual OR physical) that is not explicitly approved by the instructor. This prohibition applies both during the quarter that you are taking this course and any time after the course ends.

Specific policies for exams and quizzes

During exams and/or quizzes, you may not seek out or accept any input from ANY other individual, whether or not they are a classmate. Further, you may not provide assistance to other students during the availability window for an exam or quiz unless an instructor explicitly allows for that collaboration.

Specific policies for lab reports

It is presumed that the data you record and report in laboratory is your work. All data analysis and written/typed calculations and responses that you submit should be yours alone, even if you collected data with a laboratory partner. We often find examples of plagiarism in which lab reports are copied from someone else, or from an earlier quarter and examples of improper collaboration in which lab reports or portions of lab reports are posted or shared for other people to view.

We understand that it can be difficult for students to discern what constitutes good-faith collegial support on lab reports, and what constitutes plagiarism or cheating. While we often find examples of explicit plagiarism in which lab reports are directly copied from a student in the current quarter or an earlier quarter,​ we also find many cases of students “over collaborating,” resulting in reports that are essentially identical or extremely similar with only minor edits made to achieve minimal differences between the reports. This does not meet our expectation that you are submitting your own independent work. In short, if you have not done something yourself, do not attempt to pass it off as original work. If you have questions about what might cross the line, please do not hesitate to ask your lab or class instructor prior to submitting your work. You will not get in trouble for asking this type of question!


Lesson Schedule

An approximate schedule for the chapters to be covered each week is available in the Canvas calendar for this course. You are responsible for material covered in class AND in the textbook (whether or not it was covered in class). In class lessons will cover only highlights of the textbook material.

Lesson Notes and Recordings 

PDFs of the lesson notes I will present in each class are available on the Unit modules. All lessons will be recorded using the Panopto lecture capture system. Note: If a technical problem causes a scheduled recording to fail, the lesson will not be re-recorded.

Class Activities

During the regularly scheduled class time, we will engage in learning activities to further and deepen your understanding of the material presented in the textbook. These activities will help you review the content from the textbook, and help you build youproblem-solving skills. 

Attendance at the in-person class sessions is strongly encouraged, but not required. I will employ Poll Everywhere activities to keep the sessions engaging, but these polls will not be graded. If you don’t plan to pay attention during an in-person session, don’t come, because you will distract other students. These sessions will all be recorded and made available on Panopto, so you can watch them at your leisure.


The primary activities during the weekly in-person Discussion Sections will include:

  • The TAs will field your questions about lab, quizzes, course content, etc.
  • You will work with your colleagues on worksheet problems relevant to current course topics.

Weekly 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 at least a week in advance of each Discussion Section. You can find the worksheets in the relevant unit page. The worksheet key will be available on Tuesday evening each week.

In-person participation during the Discussion Sections is required. To earn participation credit, arrive to discussion section on time and collaborate in good faith with your colleagues. If you arrive late, or if you engage in activities unrelated to the course, you will not be awarded participation credit for that day. 

You may miss two Discussion Sections without penalty.


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. Once you consistently answer the problems for a given topic correctly, ALEKS will conclude that you have learned the topic, and you will then be allowed to choose another topic to learn (refer to the ALEKS Orientation posted on the course website for more details). 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 downloaded from ALEKS module in Canvas. 

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. The Knowledge Check will contain 25-30 questions and shouldn’t take more than 40-60 minutes to complete. 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. When you use ALEKS, you will complete the learning tasks you need and not those somebody else needs. After you complete the Initial Knowledge Check, ALEKS will provide one-on-one instruction intended specifically for you. ALEKS will also 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.


  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. Working in shorter, more frequent sessions in ALEKS will be more efficient than long, marathon sessions.
  4. 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.
  5. Talk chemistry with fellow chemistry 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, chats, etc. to create study groups for talking about the course content.


  1. Ask questions in person during class, discussion section, or help sessions / office hours.
  2. Ask questions on course discussion board. While you are there, take a look at your classmates’ posts and see whether you can help them. Learning happens when people share experiences, knowledge, and ideas.
  3. Form your own study group. Try using the course discussion board to find interested classmates. You have your own Zoom account, so you can even connect virtually to discuss the course!
  4. The Center for Learning and Undergraduate Enrichment (CLUE) offers free drop-in tutoring and exam reviews for Chemistry. See the Academic Support Programs website for more information.
  5. The Instructional Center offers free drop-in tutoring, review sessions, study skills seminars, and more for students who are members of TRIO or EOP (students who are not members of TRIO or EOP may apply to access IC services on a space-available basis). For more information, visit the IC website.
Catalog Description:
For science and engineering majors. Atomic nature of matter, quantum mechanics, ionic and covalent bonding, molecular geometry, stoichiometry, solution stoichiometry, kinetics, and gas laws. Includes laboratory. No more than 6 credits from the following may count toward graduation requirements: CHEM 120, CHEM 142, CHEM 143, CHEM 145. Prerequisite: either a minimum grade of 1.7 in CHEM 110, a passing score in the General Chemistry Placement exam, or a minimum score of 1 on the Chemistry AP exam; recommended: MATH 120 or MATH 124. Offered: AWSpS.
GE Requirements Met:
Natural Sciences (NSc)
Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning (QSR)
Last updated:
July 16, 2024 - 5:30 pm