Introductory Chemistry

I.     Course Prefix/Number: CHM 101

       Course Name: Introductory Chemistry

       Credits: 4 (3 lecture; 3 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

MAT 070, or MAT 051 (after Summer 2007), or MAT 052, each with a grade of P; or MAT 114 with minimum grade of C; or placement into a higher MAT course; or consent of instructor. COL 101 is recommended.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces the basic concepts and language of chemistry; includes lectures and weekly hands-on laboratory. Content includes classification, properties and states of matter; measurements; atomic structure and bonding; properties of gases; chemical reactions and stoichiometry. Similar to CHM 105, but more in-depth coverage of fewer topics. Credit cannot be received for both CHM 101 and CHM 105.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Apply the scientific approach to acquiring knowledge.
  2. Distinguish states and types of matter in terms of macroscopic and nanoscopic properties.
  3. Evaluate the reliability of measured and calculated quantities and report those values using standard SI units, rules of significant figures and rules of scientific notation.
  4. Construct and utilize conversion factors (dimensional analysis) to solve chemical problems and calculate various physical quantities.
  5. Predict properties of atoms, elements and compounds using the Periodic Table of Elements and modern atomic theory.
  6. Represent compounds using their names, chemical formulas, and models.
  7. Apply the concepts of mole and stoichiometry.
  8. Represent solutes and reactions in aqueous solutions, and write molecular, complete ionic and net ionic equations.
  9. Quantify solubility and solution concentration.
  10. Correlate the tenets of kinetic molecular theory with ideal gas behavior.
  11. Summarize the nature of energy, and quantify energy changes.
  12. Describe the quantum mechanical model of the atom.
  13. Predict bonding types and bond angles in molecules by applying Lewis and VSEPR theories.
  14. Correlate the physical properties of substances with intermolecular forces.
  15. Quantify properties of aqueous solutions of acids and bases.
  16. Quantify colligative properties of solutions.
  17. Describe the phenomenon and medical/scientific applications of radioactivity including imaging, geologic dating, and nuclear energy.
  18. Safely demonstrate basic laboratory skills using corresponding equipment and glassware.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. The Scientific Method and Introduction to Chemistry
    1. Scientific method
    2. Types of outcomes of scientific method
    3. Knowledge changes with time in science
  2. Classification and Properties of Matter
    1. Matter
    2. Mixture vs. Pure Substance
    3. Compound vs. Element
    4. Homogeneous vs. Heterogeneous Mixture
    5. Element Symbols
    6. Physical and Chemical Separation
    7. States of Matter
    8. Physical and Chemical Properties and Changes
    9. Types of Energy and Energy changes (Endothermic and Exothermic)
    10. Temperature, Heat, Specific Heat Definitions and Problems
    11. Laws of Conservation of Mass and Energy
  3. Measurements, Calculations, and Problem Solving in Chemistry
    1. Physical Quantities and Measurement Systems (SI)
    2. SI prefixes
    3. Significant Figures – Writing and in Calculations
    4. Scientific Notation
    5. Problem Solving and Unit Conversion
    6. Ball Park Answers
    7. Density
  4. Atoms and Elements
    1. History of the Concept of Atoms
    2. Dalton’s Atomic Theory
    3. More Current Models of the Atom (Electrons, Protons, Neutrons)
    4. Isotopes
    5. Average Atomic Mass
    6. History of the Periodic Table
    7. Periodic Law
    8. Ions, Octet Rule
    9. Some Group Characteristics
  5. Nuclear Chemistry
    1. History
    2. Types of radiation
    3. Nuclear reaction vs. Chemical reactions
    4. Stable and unstable isotopes
    5. Nuclear decay and Decay series
    6. Radioactive half life
    7. Measuring radiation
    8. Uses of radiation
    9. Nuclear fission and fusion
  6. Compounds—Formulas, Naming, and Nanoscopic Units of
    1. Law of definite composition
    2. Law of multiple proportions
    3. Chemical formulas (diatomic elements, compounds)
    4. Nomenclature of binary and ternary ionic compounds
    5. Nomenclature of binary and ternary acids
    6. Nomenclature of binary covalent compounds
    7. Definitions: formula unit, molecule, ions
    8. Formula mass
  7. Amounts of Chemical Species—the Mole
    1. Mole definition
    2. Avogadro’s number
    3. Molar mass of Monatomic Elements
  8. Composition of Compounds—Quantitative Aspects
    1. Mole to Mole Ratios in Formulas
    2. Mass to Mass Ratios
    3. Calculations of the Following: Molar mass, Formula Weight, Mass Percent Composition from Formulas and Experimental Data
    4. Empirical Formulas
    5. Molecular Formulas
  9. Chemical Reactions and Equations
    1. Types Of Equations, Reactants, Products, Balancing Equations
    2. General Types of Chemical Reactions: Combination, Decomposition, Single Replacement, Double Replacement, Combustion
    3. Specific Types of Chemical Reactions: Acid Base, Precipitation, and Redox Reactions
    4. Net Ionic Equations
    5. Activity Series
  10. Stoichiometric Calculations
    1. Mole Ratios from a Balanced Equation
    2. Mass Ratios
    3. Limiting Reactant
    4. Percent Yield
  11. Electrons in Atoms and the Periodic Table
    1. Electromagnetic Spectrum
    2. Ground and Excited States for Electrons
    3. Quantum Mechanical Model of the Atom
    4. Electron Probability, Shells, Subshells, Orbitals
    5. Electron Configuration
    6. Orbital Diagrams
    7. Periodicity and the Periodic Law
    8. Valence Electrons and Periodicity /Periodic Properties
    9. Periodic Trends: Atomic Radii, Ionization Energy
  12. Chemical Bonding
    1. Electron Dot Structure
    2. Octet Rule reminder
    3. Lewis Theory
    4. Ionic Bonds, Formula Units and Solids
    5. Covalent Bonds
    6. Lewis Dot Structures
    7. Molecular Shapes: VSEPR
    8. Electronegativity
    9. Bond Polarity
    10. Molecular Polarity
    11. General Properties of Ionic And Covalent Compounds
  13. Properties of Gases
    1. Phases of Matter
    2. Kinetic Molecular Theory
    3. Measurement of Gases
    4. Gas Laws Idea (with Calculations) Using The Definition Of Gas Pressure
  14. Intermolecular Forces—Liquids and Solids
    1. Molecular Polarity Review
    2. Intermolecular Forces: Dipole-Dipole, Dispersion, Hydrogen Bonding
    3. Viscosity
    4. Surface Tension
    5. Phase Changes
    6. Enthalpies of Phase Changes
    7. Vapor Pressure, Boiling Point
    8. Solids: Ionic, Molecular, Covalent Network, Metallic
  15. Solutions
    1. Mixture Type (review)
    2. Homogenous (Solution, Colloid), Heterogeneous (Suspension)
    3. Types of Solutions
    4. Solution Process, Interactions and Enthalpy
    5. Solvent and Solute Polarity and Solution Formation.
    6. Factors Affecting Solubility and Rate of Solution Formation
    7. Concentration Units Including w/v %, w/w %, v/v %, ppm, ppb, M
    8. Stoichiometry With Molarity
    9. Dilutions
    10. Colligative Properties
    11. Osmolarity and Osmosis
  16. Acids and Bases
    1. Arrhenius Theory, Hydronium Ion
    2. Bronsted-Lowry Theory; Conjugates
    3. Acid-Base Strength
    4. pH
    5. Titration

Laboratory Activities

The laboratory activities will include a safety overview including the location and demonstration of the use of safety equipment. The weekly laboratory activities will include 12-16 of the activities listed below.

  1. Learning basic laboratory techniques (e.g., Bunsen burner use, filtration, evaporation, etc.)
  2. Scientific Method
  3. Making and recording measurements (e.g., mass, volume, temperature, etc.)
  4. Physical and Chemical Properties
  5. Calorimetry and Specific Heat
  6. Caloric Content of Food
  7. Nomenclature Worksheet (dry lab)
  8. Determination of the mass percent of oxygen in a compound (potassium chlorate)
  9. Double Displacement Reactions
  10. Single Displacement Reactions
  11. Identification of Selected Anions—introduction to qualitative analysis
  12. Building molecular models
  13. Charles’ Law and Determination of Absolute Zero
  14. Properties of Solutions (solubility and rates of dissolution)
  15. Acid-Base Titration (Standardization of a Base Solution)
  16. Properties of hydrates and determination of the percent mass loss upon heating
  17. Properties of acids, bases, and salts (pH, conductivity)
  18. Preparation and properties of oxygen
  19. Observation of atomic emission and emission spectra
  20. Stoichiometry of a Precipitation Reaction
  21. Determination of the percent yield of a reaction
  22. Acid Rain

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  • Lectures, which may be supplemented with classroom discussion, use of molecular models, use of multimedia, and/or use of computer based materials at the discretion of the instructor.
  • Hands-On Laboratory Activities
  • Individual and/or Group Problem Solving

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

  • Participation in class and/or small group discussions
  • Problem solving to include basic algebraic manipulations
  • Hands-on laboratory activities
  • Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.


IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Lecture text:  Introductory Chemistry, 5th edition, 2015 by Nivaldo Tro (ISBN 13:  978-03219-1029-5), or comparable text.

Laboratory manual:  Custom Foundations of Chemistry in the Lab (ISBN:  9-7811-1816-806-6), which is a custom version of Foundations of Chemistry in the Lab, 13th edition, 2011, by Hein, (ISBN: 978-0-470-55490-6, or comparable manual.

Beginning with the Spring 2007 semester, students will be required to purchase their own Chemical Safety/Splash Goggles.  These goggles must meet the following criteria:

  • Fit snuggly against the forehead and face, protecting against splashes
  • Be impact resistant; ANSI rating of Z87 or higher
  • Include only indirect venting

Two varieties of such goggles compliant with the above criteria are available for purchase in the bookstore (cost range ~ $6-$12).  Students may also elect to find an alternative source for purchase, so long as the goggles meet the above criteria and are approved by the instructor.

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton’s Schedule of Classes.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Depending upon the instructor, any combination of the following assessments may be used to evaluate student progress and determine the course grade.

  • Quizzes, tests, and/or examinations which may include essay, short answer, multiple choice, true/false, and/or problem solving questions
  • Laboratory assignments, reports, results and/or practicals
  • Individual and/or group written reports
  • Individual and/or group oral reports
  • Individual and/or group problem solutions

XI.   Other Course Information

  1. Regular attendance at all sessions is expected.
  2. Reading the text and laboratory manual ahead of the class or laboratory session is expected.
  3. Regular attendance at all sessions is expected.  Missed laboratory sessions will not be able to be made-up
  4. Class policies on make-up of exams and acceptance of late work will be determined by the individual instructor.
  5. Students will be required to review and sign off on this review, their understanding and adherence to basic laboratory safety regulations.
  6. Support services include the availability of open computer laboratories, the college library, and the availability of free tutoring through the Learning Center and/or office hours with the instructor.
  7. If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services.  To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus.  All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements.  The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at