This four to six week unit is to be used to introduce chemistry to college bound high school students. Their reading ability is generally on a high school level and their math background varies from algebra I to pre calculus.
Chemistry is usually the first subject these students encounter which requires the application of the various math skills they have been exposed to over the years. They usually tend to compartmentalize their learning experiences, and to leave their math neatly filed away for math class, or semiforgotten. They have probably avoided as much as possible any problem solving and have not needed to apply their problem solving or math skills to any specific area in any organized way.
The most universally accepted definition of the word “science. is “a systematic, organized method of solving problems in some defined area”. Because of this, the introduction to chemistry would seem to be an ideal opportunity to combine a physical science, the review of math skills, and a methodical approach to problem solving. It is hoped that by thus allowing him to see a practical application for these skills in becoming familiar with the physical properties of matter, the student will improve his math proficiency. The student should begin to acquire a “feel. for attacking problems that increasingly meets with success.
This combination should help the student build confidence in himself and his capabilities, developing an attitude that will help him succeed not only in chemistry, but also in other problem solving subjects. There is probably nothing so conducive to success in this life as the ability to confront problems headon, analyze them, and produce viable solutions.