Pre-AP Chemistry focuses on students developing a deep conceptual understanding of matter and energy at the molecular level by asking students to explain their macroscopic observations using particulate-level reasoning. Students will begin their exploration of matter by observing and measuring macroscopic properties of everyday materials and progress throughout the course to explore deeper and more detailed perspectives of the particle nature of matter. Pre-AP Chemistry motivates students to be active participants in applying critical thinking and mathematical skills as they engage in context driven mathematics, data analysis, modeling, and productive collaboration with their peers.
Areas of Focus
Each Pre-AP course focuses on a small set of discipline-specific instructional priorities that support both teacher practice and student learning within the discipline. These areas of focus reflect research-supported reasoning practices that should receive greater emphasis in instructional materials and assessments than they often do. Pre-AP recognizes that many teachers and schools already embrace these disciplinary practices, and now we're offering resources that specifically emphasize these areas of focus.
Pre-AP Chemistry Areas of Focus:
- Attention to modeling: Students go beyond labeling diagrams to explanatory modeling chemical processes to demonstrate, revise, and deepen understanding of key concepts and principles.
- Strategic use of mathematics: Students use mathematics to understand and express the quantitative aspects of chemistry, to record and interpret experimental data, reveal patterns and relationships, and to solve problems.
- Emphasis on analytical reading and writing: Students engage in analytical reading and evidence-based writing to gain, apply, and communicate scientific knowledge.
Underlying Unit Foundations
These big ideas are addressed across units:
- Structure and Properties
Course at a Glance
The table below shows the four main units in Pre-AP Chemistry, the recommended length for each unit, and the key topics in each.
|Unit 1: Particle View of Matter|
|Timeframe: 6 weeks|
|Unit 2: Particle Interactions|
|Timeframe: 8 weeks|
|Unit 3: Chemical Quantities|
|Timeframe: 6 weeks|
|Unit 4: Chemical Transformations|
|Timeframe: 8 weeks|
Schools that officially implement a Pre-AP course will receive access to instructional resources for each unit. These resources don’t constitute a full day-by-day curriculum. Instead, they provide support and model lessons as teachers design instruction for each unit.
Pre-AP Chemistry instructional resources include:
- A course framework and model lessons for key concepts within each unit that provide guidance and support for teaching the course.
- One or two practice performance tasks with scoring guidelines and instructional support suggestions for each unit.
Additional resources: Pre-AP Chemistry does require additional resources to use in the model lessons. This list is divided into three categories: general consumable items that are generally replaced yearly, chemicals that will need to be replaced regularly, and general stock room equipment. The general consumable materials and chemicals have the unit when they are used listed.
The majority of these items are commonly found in science stock rooms and are low tech and low cost; this ensures all students can engage in inquiry-based investigations and reasoning.
|Pre-AP Chemistry General Consumable Materials||Unit|
|12 oz can of regular soda||U4|
|2 empty 20 oz bottles||U4|
|2 L bottle of regular soda||U4|
|4 black pens or markers (for paper chromatography)||U2|
|antacid tablets (such as Alka-Seltzer)||U2, U4|
|baking soda||U2, U3|
|black dye/food color||U2|
|clear plastic condiment cup||U2|
|colored pencils or pens||all|
|crayons or paraffin wax||U3|
|food coloring||U1, U2|
|granular charcoal (from pet store)||U3|
|hard boiled eggs||U1|
|metal thumb tacks||U2|
|modeling clay||U1, U2|
|opaque cups with lids||U3|
|paraffin wax (can use crayons)||U3|
|plastic page protectors||U4|
|pony beads||U1, U3|
|quart size freezer bags||U2|
|red dye/food color||U2|
|salt (non-iodized)||U2, U4|
|small rubber bands||U2|
|transparent plastic cups||U1|
|wide-bore plastic transfer pipettes||U2|
|butane spray can||U4|
|cobalt chloride paper||U2|
|copper (II) carbonate (optional)||U2|
|copper (II) chloride dihydrate (optional)||U4|
|copper (II) sulfate pentahydrate||U4|
|distilled or deionized water||all|
|lead (II) nitrate||U4|
|methane gas (from laboratory gas jets)||U2|
|silver nitrate (optional)||U4|
|beakers (50 mL - 800 mL)|
|bingo chips (or other small, multi-colored objects) to model chemical reactions|
|chemical splash goggles|
|cryo gloves or heavy winter gloves droppers|
|Erlenmeyer flasks (250 mL and 500 mL)|
|gas pressure sensors|
|graduated cylinders (10 mL - 100 mL)|
|large (size 11) stoppers|
|metal samples for density lab (cut-up rods from hardware store)|
|metal samples for specific heat lab (can use samples from density lab)|
|mini white boards|
|mixing bowl or large beaker|
|molecular model kits|
|mortar and pestle|
|pliers or clamp|
|rock or mineral samples (limestone and any other non-carbonate mineral or rock)|
|small foil pans or can lids|
|spatulas or spoons|
|syringe for gas pressure sensor|
|temperature probes or digital thermometers|
|test tube racks|
|tweezers or forceps|
|wide mouth glass bottles (or 500 mL Erlenmeyer flasks)|
Assessments for Learning
Each unit contains:
- Short, open-ended formative assessment problems or questions embedded in some model lessons to show the targeted content and skills, related to the lesson’s learning objectives, that students should master.
- Two online learning checkpoints per unit that feature multiple-choice and technology-enhanced questions modeled closely after the types of questions students encounter on SAT tests and AP Exams. Learning checkpoints require students to examine graphs, data, and short texts— often set in authentic contexts—to respond to a targeted set of questions that measure student understanding of the unit’s concepts and skills.
- One performance task per unit that engages students in sustained problem solving and asks them to synthesize the unit’s skills and concepts to answer questions about a novel context.