Pre-AP Chemistry

Pre-Advanced placement Chemistry Syllabus 

  1. What Mr. Patton Believes

Welcome to Mr. Patton’s classroom. As your instructor, I believe the following:

    • All students can learn.
    • All students want to learn.
    • Learning requires interesting work that is relevant to the world.
    • Work needs to be challenging, but not impossible.
    • Students of all learning styles must be able to learn the concepts and do the work.

2. My Goals for You

My job is to help you achieve these goals. I cannot bore a hole in your brain and pour in mastery of chemistry. You must invest your own personal time and effort. Here are my goals for you as a student:

  • Understanding and applying scientific thought, principles and methods. 
  • Developing and improving your ability to read scientific and technical writing and take effective notes. 
  • Understanding the principles taught in this course, which are based on the Laying the Foundation curriculum, but are also influenced by the College Board, APSI, other high school teachers, college professors, and the American Chemical Society. 
  • Designing and performing laboratory experiments, recording information into a laboratory notebook, and writing formal laboratory reports. 
  • The ability to solve complex problems that combine multiple concepts. 
  • The ability to perform well on the science section of the ACT. 
  • To prepare you for the rigor of AP Biology and AP Chemistry.

Most students want to know, “Is this class hard?” The answer is both yes and no. Some of the skills you need will probably be difficult to master, and others probably won’t. For many of you, this class will be difficult, but hopefully it will also be your favorite. The only students who fail my class are the ones who do not try. 

3. Materials You Need

In order to do well in this class, and to accomplish the learning targets, you will need the following:

  • A positive attitude and conduct. If you don’t have these, you’ll need to at least do a good job of pretending you do. Your speech and conduct are imperative to your success. You must speak positivity about your ability to succeed; you must always try your best, and you must not lose confidence when you fail. Every student in this course will fail at something, the important thing is dealing with failure in a way that makes you more successful down the road.
  • ****A 3-ring binder. Preferably 3 inches thick (d-ring durable view), with dividers so you can keep your notes, handouts, quizzes, etc. organized by unit. I give out a lot of handouts, unit schedules, and worksheets.

A scientific calculator. If you already have a graphing calculator (such as a TI-83) for your math class you can use it. If you don’t already have a calculator, buy one that can handle scientific notation, logarithms, and trig functions (sine, cosine and tangent). I personally use the TI-30XIIS, which costs around $10-15 and performs everything necessary for this course. 

  • A willingness to come in and ask for extra help as soon as you are confused, or think that you are falling behind. In most high school science classes, each topic builds on previous topics. It’s essential that you straighten out any confusion or misunderstandings quickly, before you get behind other students. I am willing to meet before or after school, as long as you check with me beforehand to make an appointment. 
  • 4. Classroom Procedures

    Bring to Class:

    You are expected to bring the following items to class: 

    • Completed assignments. 
    • Pen and/or pencil. I recommend a pencil for notes, homework and tests, but lab reports must be filled out in ink. 
    • 3-ring, D-ring Binder for class notes and handouts. 
    • Blank paper for practice problems, checkpoint questions, note-taking, etc. 
    • Scientific calculator

    When you Arrive:

    • Pick up copies of any handouts from the table at the front of the room.
    • Sit in your assigned seat.
    • Have any homework or lab notebooks out on your desk for pick-up or evaluation.
    • If you were absent, check the class schedule for what was covered, and see about getting access to the presentation notes from a classmate. 

    Bathroom Policy:

    If you need to go to the bathroom when you arrive in class, ask for a pass as soon as you arrive. Leave your homework on your desk for me to check while you are gone, and be back in your seat ASAP. Your homework is late if it is not on your desk when I check, whether or not you’re in the room at the time. 

    If possible, use the bathroom at the end of class after the lecture portion is finished and you have time for practice problems or working on homework. However, I know that you can’t always control your bladder; if you absolutely need to go the bathroom during lecture, raise your hand with the ASL sign for “toilet.” 


    The ASL sign is used so that bathroom requests do not interrupt the lecture or discussion. Usually, I will acknowledge non-verbally with a “thumbs-up” or “okay” sign, then you may grab the bathroom pass and leave the room.

    If you need to leave the room during class for any other reason, please raise your hand and ask as you normally would.

    Finally, please note that under most circumstances, my hall passes are valid for 5 minutes. If you are out of the room for more than 5 minutes, you will be marked as tardy (unexcused) for the class. If you are out of the room for more than 20 minutes, you will be marked for skipping class, and I will report your absence. Any exceptions to this rule (other than unforeseen circumstances) must be approved in advance.

    Late Arrival:

    Tardiness is unexcused unless you arrive with a valid pass. Any time you are late to class (regardless of the reason), make sure you get the notes for anything you missed before you arrived.

    During Class:

    • If you need to get up out of your seat to do something in the room, such as sharpen a pencil or hand in a paper, please don’t interrupt class to ask permission. Simply get up and do what you need to do quietly and non-disruptively and return to your seat as soon as you finish. 
    • If you get lost during a lecture or discussion, hold up a piece of paper and wave it gently back and forth like a “white flag of surrender.” When I see a “white flag,” I’ll stop at the next convenient opportunity and go back to try to clear things up. It’s always OK to wave a white flag any time you’re lost; you’re almost certainly not the only one. 
    • Food and drink (other than water and/or medical accommodations) are prohibited.
    • Absolutely nothing that goes into your mouth (including water!) is permitted in the lab area during experiments. Whenever lab chemicals are out, you must put your water bottles away inside your backpack. (This is an important safety rule and there are no exceptions!) 
    • Cell phones, computers, smart watches, etc. are strictly prohibited during instruction and assessment unless you are told otherwise.
    • Personal grooming (brushing your hair or teeth, applying makeup, deodorant, etc.) and other activities are not permitted during class if they are excessive and distracting.
    • Do not take up class time discussing grades with me. If you need to discuss your grade, or you believe I misgraded an assessment, feel free to ask me about it before class, while the class is working on something quietly (such as during a daily question problem or homework), or outside of class time.

    Grading Policy:

    Point Value System 

    Lab Fee:

    $30.00 Lab Fee  

    5. Cheating & Plagiarism

    I am not lenient in instances of cheating. If an instance of cheating or other academic dishonesty occurs, all students involved (including those who knowingly allowed someone else to copy their paper or test) will be subject to the school policies regarding cheating, including: 

      • A grade of zero for the test or assignment.
      • Parental notification.
      • Disciplinary action as outlined in the student handbook. 

    If any part of an assignment (lab reports, homework assignments, papers, etc.,) contains quoted or paraphrased information from any source (including another student or the internet), you must give credit to that source, in the form of an appropriate citation. 

    If some part of your assignment doesn’t sound like your own writing and is not attributed, I will ask you to show me the source material that it came from. If you are unable to produce the source materials, I will assume that you must have plagiarized it, and all local and district policies regarding cheating will apply. 

    For the rules hackers in the class, if you turn in another student’s work for all or part of an assignment, but you include all of the proper citations, it is, of course, not plagiarism. However, you will receive credit only for the parts of the assignment that you did yourself. 

    I will not write letters of recommendation for students who have cheated or plagiarized. 

    6. Mr. Patton’s Big Deals

    Everyone has things that are a big deal to them, here are mine:

    • Intentionally rude, unkind, or insensitive language or behavior towards anyone, including yourself. 
    • Distracting or disruptive behavior, including (but not limited to) excessive non-sequiturs, talking without being given the floor, side conversations or excessive noise, excessive fidgeting, or anything else that is distracting to your classmates or to me. 
    • Arguing or debating after I have asked you to stop doing something or have attempted to end the discussion. 
    • Doing something I have just asked you or someone else to stop doing (or not do). Any of the above behaviors may result in removal from class and disciplinary action.

    Sign here: _______________________________________

    (Place this in the front of the inside of your 3-ring, D-ring Binder.)