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Community Links High School


2016-2017 Syllabus

Instructor: Mr. Sidarous

Course Description:

Chemistry is often defined as the study of matter, especially how it interacts and changes. In this course, we will be focusing on energy and electrons to explain how matter behaves, and relating these ideas to real-world situations and applications. This will involve not only enriching and improving students' science reasoning skills, but also extensive reading and writing. In our study of chemistry, we will perform experiments, write lab reports, and do research about real-world chemistry, in addition to daily homework.

Chemistry can often feel like a math-intensive course. While there will be problem sets focused on calculations, for the most part, the math we do in Chemistry will be focused on deepening our conceptual understandings and examining data. We will strive to make connections between the procedures students use in math class and the procedures we use for math in Chemistry.

Course Objectives:

Students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate mastery of the process of scientific inquiry

  • Use cognitive skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, and ethical analysis

  • Understand that science is a way of knowing and technology is a way of adapting

  • Use educational technology as tools for learning

  • Understand that macroscopic behaviors of matter can be explained in terms of the microscopic behavior of atoms and sub-atomic particles

  • Use basic chemistry concepts to describe and explain real-world phenomena

Materials needed daily:

  • at least one writing utensil, preferably a pencil

  • 3-ring binder with pockets and 5 tab dividers

  • scientific calculator

  • student planner

Suggested additional materials:

  • colored pens (for note-taking, peer reviews, etc.)

  • colored pencils or markers (for computer modeling activities)

  • in-binder 3-hole punch (for easy portfolio organization)

  • metric ruler


Grades will be determined using the following percentage breakdown:

Interim Growth: 10%

Active Learning: 15%

Assignments: 15%

Mastery: 50%

Final Exam: 10%

A = 100% to 90%

B = 89% to 80%

C = 79% to 70%

D = 69% to 60%

F = 59% and below

Interim Growth:

This category refers to how much improvement a student demonstrates on a set of college-readiness-related standards, as measured by periodic "interim exams". Historically, this has meant ACT practice exams. The exact nature of interim exams has yet to be determined for this year.

Active Learning:

This does not just mean "class participation". Chemistry involves both individual work and cooperative group learning. Students need to be actively engaged in learning chemistry - asking questions, volunteering thoughts, providing feedback to peers, fulfilling responsibilities in group roles, etc. Students will receive an "active learning" grade every day in class. Unexcused absences will result in an automatic zero for this grade that day.


This includes work done both in and outside of class. Many assignments will be begun in class, continued at home, the completed over the course of the next day (or next several days). To be successful in this class, students must complete each section of each assignment as they are assigned. Students will receive daily grades for section completions on these sorts of assignments, as well as a final overall grade when the completed assignment is turned in.

Assignments may be turned in one day late for half credit. After one day, no late work will be accepted. Students with unexcused absences will receive a zero for any assignments due the day of their absence as well as for any assignments given that day. Students with excused absences must turn in assignments due the first day of their absence the day of their return, or they will be considered late. Students with excused absences will have one day for every day missed plus one additional day to complete all assignments given during their absence. Major assignments, including labs and projects, will be accepted late for a 10% penalty for each day up to 10 days (two school weeks) after the due date. Group projects must be turned in by one member of the group on the due date or the project will be considered late.

Many assignments, including labs and projects, will be completed in groups; however, each student is responsible for completing his/her own work, in his/her own words. Students who turn in assignments with identical (word for word) entries will not receive credit for the assignment and will face additional consequences for copying/plagiarism.


"Mastery" refers to students' final performance on the content- and practice-related standards for each unit. Students demonstrate mastery on a particular standard with the final submission of large assignments (e.g. labs and projects) after they have undergone teacher editing and/or peer review, and on the unit's summative assessment. Mastery will be graded in each instance according to a rubric. Students will receive the final grading rubric for each assignment as it is given, so that they will know exactly what is expected. Some standards will continue across units; as such, students will have multiple opportunities during each semester to demonstrate mastery of a particular standard.

Final Exam:

"Mastery" The "final exam" in Chemistry is not just a test. While there will be a traditional exam, this grade will also include the final submission of a large assignment (a lab or project, depending on the schedule), as well as the end-of-semester portfolio check (see Portfolio Guidelines for more details).


Students are responsible for checking the class binder for missed assignments and obtaining the day's notes from a classmate. Quizzes, tests, and labs that are missed due to an excused absence must be made up after school the day of their return. Students with extended absences will schedule their make-ups after discussion with Mr. Sidarous.

Mr Sidarous,
Oct 29, 2013, 12:48 PM