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Physical Science

Chem is Chool! 

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There's No Way To Fail
00:00 / 01:31

Physics is Phun! 

One LIVE Class / Week
Section 1:  TBD
Create a Class (click here)
Eastern Time

32 Week
2 Semesters


Phys Sci Concepts in Action.jpg

Pearson Physical Science Concept in Action Text


Copyright @ 2017

Wysession, Frank, Yancopoulos

ISBN: 0133628175

ISBN13: 9780133628173

Course Requirements

  1. Student Pre-Assessment as part of Registration / Enrollment (click here).

  2. Enrollment Agreement (Parent Survey) as part of Registration / Enrollment (click here).

  3. Textbook (hardcopy).

  4. Free Zoom account with audio / video capability for classes.

  5. Tablet with stylus for writing is highly recommended (e.g. Wacom).

  6. Students will spend 6-8 hours per week for this course.

  7. MAC users get compatible software (Word, Powerpoint, Excel), if possible.


  • Two (2) Formal Lab Reports based on Hands-on experiments.

  • Fifty (50) labs and/or hands-on activities.


32 Week Course
2 Semesters


Lab Supplies Needed

  • Mass scale

  • Metric Measure 

  • 100 ml Plastic Grad Cylinder 

  • -10 C to 110 C Thermometer (non-immersion) 

  • 250 ml GLASS Beaker / Cup

  • Stop Watch (0.1 s)

  • Safety goggles 

  • 10 Copper Coins

  • Household Items 

Pearson Physical Science Concept in Action Text


Copyright @ 2017

Wysession, Frank, Yancopoulos

ISBN: 0133628175

ISBN13: 9780133628173

Phys Sci Concepts in Action.jpg

Earlier editions are acceptable, but may have differences in sections and question numbers.

The 2006 Pearson / Prentice Hall or later editions should be adequate (if cost is an issue).

Course Description


Prepare for an exciting year of studying Physical Science! This High School prep course targets all middle school students, and incorporates Chemistry (matter, atom, bonding, chemical reactions, carbon and nuclear chemistry) because Chem is Chool along with Physics (motion, Newton's laws, energy, work & simple machines, electricity, magnetism, sound, light, lenses, & color) because Physics is Phun!

Physical Science practically relates to student’s experience all the time, though they may not realize it. It helps students make the important connection between the science they read and what they experience every day. Relevant content, lively explorations, and a wealth of hands-on activities take students’ understanding of science beyond the page and into the world around them.

Assignments involve reading, note taking, review worksheets, and labs all centered around concepts in action. Students engage in laboratory activities every week, including step-by-step training, supported and reinforced by articulate instructions and model documents, for writing good lab reports. They will write THREE (3) formal lab reports over the year.


Note: Students will perform math computation and manipulation of basic equations. (Equations are provided so memorization of formulas is not necessary.)

Note:  Students are given opportunity to correct their tests for points to reflect, realign their thinking, and master content. This also applies to revising graded formal lab reports.


Topics and Objectives:

  • Chemistry Introduction, Measurement & Mathematics

    • Define Chemistry and understand its place in science.

    • Present steps of the scientific method and be able to distinguish each and explain their components.

    • Use the Metric System versus the English System. Interconvert metric units using prefixes.

    • Evaluate Accuracy & Precision in Measurements (significant figures).

    • Use the Metric System versus the English System. Interconvert metric units using prefixes.

    • Write numbers & do calculations in scientific notation.

    • Evaluate Accuracy & Precision in Measurements (significant figures).

    • Distinguish various types of graphs. Organize data using tables and graphs.

    • Define Chemistry and understand its place in science.

    • Present steps of the scientific method and be able to distinguish each and explain their components.

  • Matter and Change

    • Classify Matter as pure substances versus mixtures and explain the main difference among solutions, suspension, and colloids.

    • Distinguish extensive and intensive Physical properties. Give examples of physical properties.

    • Explain how mixtures can be separate.

    • Distinguish chemical versus physical properties and how this can be observed.

    • Evaluate Accuracy & Precision in Measurements (significant figures).

    • Identify the states of Matter (s, l, g) using kinetic theory.

    • Define phases changes of all states of matter and the energy involved for each.

    • Understand what happens to a substance’s temperature and a system’s energy (heat) during a phase change.

    • Describe the arrangement of molecules and how they change from solid to liquid to gas.

    • Distinguish between evaporation and boiling. How are they the same? How are they different?

  • Atomic Structure / Modern Atomic Theory

    • Explain Atomic History from specific scientists perspectives (Democritus, Dalton, Thomson, Chadwick, Bohr, Rutherford).

    • Understand atomic structure (atomic number, atomic mass, subatomic particles) and be able to define and draw all components. Draw a nuclear symbol for an element.

    • Explain what makes elements unique in properties (e.g. atomic number, mass, valence) and distinguish isotopes.

    • Describe the modern atomic theory in terms of electrons, energy levels, electron cloud, and electron configuration.

    • Analyze what happens to electrons when atoms gain or lose energy?

    • Explain, draw, and/or describe scientific models related to how electrons behave in atoms.

    • Understand when atoms are most stable in terms of electron configuration.

  • Gas Laws

    • Explain the behavior of gases based on the kinetic theory of Gases.

    • Define pressure, volume, moles, and temperature in relation to gases.

    • State and apply Boyle’s law, Charles’s law, and the combined gas law to calculate the relationships between volume, temperature, moles, and pressure.

  • The Periodic Table

    • Explain the history of the Periodic Table including the scientists who contributed to it (Mendeleev, Moseley).

    • Describe the arrangement of the periodic table (periods, groups, periodic law, classes of elements) and its components (atomic mass, atomic number, element symbols).

    • Classify elements into representative groups based on electron configuration for Valence (outer electrons that bond).

  • Chemical Bonding

    • Understand the conditions of stability for atoms and explain why atoms bond.

    • Draw electron dot diagrams for elements 1-20 and for bonded atoms showing a full valence (8).

    • Explain and show how elements become ions (cations and anions).

    • Distinguish ionic bonds from covalent bonds, listing properties of ionic compounds and covalent molecules.

    • Explain covalent bonding in terms of bonds (nonpolar and polar) and molecules (nonpolar & polar).

    • Explain how to determine the charges of atoms that become ions (cations, anions).

    • Show how elements become ions (cations and anions) related to protons and electrons.

    • Distinguish types of compounds and apply the rules for naming and writing formulas for ionic compounds, covalent molecules, and polyatomic ions.

    • Describe metallic bonding and explain metallic properties.

    • Define alloys and give examples.

  • Chemical Reactions

    • Define and incorporate the law of conservation of mass.

    • Analyze components (reactants, products, coefficients) of chemical equations in order to balance them.

    • Understand and calculate quantities using the Mole related to balancing chemical equations.

    • Describe and identify the five types of chemical reactions (synthesis, decomposition, single replacement, double replacement, and combustion). Give examples of each type.

    • Distinguish Chemical reactions that involve the transfer of electrons (reduction/oxidation reactions) based on the discovery of subatomic particles.

    • Label and identify components of energy relations in chemical reactions (activation energy, endothermic and exothermic energy flow).

    • Recognize and analyze reaction rate and factors that affect it (temperature, surface area, pressure, concentration, stirring, catalysts).

    • Distinguish physical and chemical equilibrium in terms of forward and reverse changes.

    • Explain how equilibrium is shifted when changes in temperature, pressure, or concentration are introduced in a system.

  • Solutions

    • Define "solution," "solute," and "solvent"

    • Explain the three ways substances can dissolve in water

    • Describe the three properties of a solution that can differ from its solute and solvent

    • Explain how the process of solution can be either exothermic or endothermic

    • Give examples of applications of endothermic/exothermic solutions

    • Describe the factors that affect the rates of dissolving

    • Contrast saturated, unsaturated, and supersaturated solutions

    • Describe the factors that affect solubility

    • Define "percent by volume," "percent by mass," and "molarity"

    • Calculate the concentration of solutions

  • Acids and Bases

    • Define "acid" and "base"

    • Describe the general characteristics of acids and bases

    • Explain the process of neutralization

    • Describe the pH scale

    • Give examples of strong and weak acids and bases

    • Describe the particular properties of strong and weak acids

    • Define "electrolyte"

    • Explain the usefulness of electrolytes

  • Carbon Chemistry

    • Use the valence electron structure of carbon to explain its bonding tendencies

    • Give examples of different carbon structures

    • Define "hydrocarbon" and "saturated hydrocarbon/alkane"

    • Describe the features of alkanes

    • Describe the features of unsaturated hydrocarbons

    • Discuss the forms of hydrocarbons found in fossil fuels

    • Apply the general combustion reaction type to the combustion of fossil fuels

    • Discuss the effects of incomplete combustion

  • Nuclear Chemistry

    • Define "radioactivity"

    • Describe the three types of nuclear radiation

    • Summarize the history of the study of radioactivity

    • Describe the effects of nuclear radiation

    • Define "half-life" & solve problems involving the concept of half life

    • Discuss the application of radioactive decay to dating methods

    • Artificial Transmutation of Elements - Explain how one element can be changed into another by bombardment

    • Define Nuclear Fission

    • Describe the forces acting on an atomic nucleus

    • Summarize the history of the study of atomic fission

    • Explain how a nuclear power plant generates electricity

    • Define Nuclear Fusion & discuss the practical obstacles to nuclear fusion as a power source

    • Describe the process by which atomic fusion takes place

    • Explain where the energy from a nuclear fusion reaction comes from


  • Force & Motion

    • Describe how motion is produced (Forces).

    • Explain what is meant by relative motion and factors involved.

    • Distinguish between distance and displacement.

    • Define vector quantities versus scalar quantities and add/subtract them.

    • Distinguish between speed and velocity and know how to calculate both.

    • Describe the three types of speed / velocity.

    • Define and calculate acceleration, acceleration due to gravity, and free fall.

  • Newton's Laws of Motion

    • Explain & recognize Newton’s First Law of Motion, Inertia, as the tendency of matter to resist change in motion.

    • Understand projectile motion as a combination of an initial forward velocity and the downward vertical force of gravity resulting in a curved path.

    • Understand and explain friction [recognizing four kinds of friction] as a force that opposes motion, producing negative acceleration or “deceleration”.

    • Explain & calculate variables of Newton’s Second Law of Motion, f = ma, describing how force, acceleration, and mass are related. Force equals mass times acceleration.

    • Explain & recognize Newton’s Third Law of Motion which states that forces always occur in pairs. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

    • Recognize momentum (mass, speed, direction) in the motion of objects.

    • Calculate Momentum using the Conservation of Momentum.

  • Energy

    • Define and calculate Potential Energy (PE) in terms of gravitational PE, and explain elastic PE.

    • Define and calculate Kinetic Energy (KE) related to the motion of object.

    • Recognize maximum PE, maximum KE, maximum velocity, rest position, and when PE = KE for moving objects.

    • Identify specific forms of energy and how they can be transformed into other forms based on the conservation of Energy.

  • Thermal Energy & Heat

    • Define heat flow direction, temperature, thermal expansion, and specific heat.

    • Calculate / measure heat changes in a system using a calorimeter.

    • Distinguish the three types of heat transfer (radiation, conduction, convection).

    • Explain the difference between thermal insulators and conductors.

    • Define Thermodynamics related to three laws.

  • Work, Power, Simple Machines, Efficiency

    • Define and calculate Work as the force applied to an object over a specific distance (W = f d) in units of joules.

    • Understand how work relates to Potential Energy (mgh) and Kinetic Energy           (½ mv2).

    • Define and calculate Power as the amount of work done per unit of time (P = W/t) in units of Watts.

    • Classify the six simple machines, being able to calculate work done based on effort (force and distance) and resistance (force and distance) and calculating mechanical advantage.

    • Define & calculate efficiency of machines, knowing that real machines are never 100% efficient due to friction.

  • Electric Force, Current, Induction, Conduction

    • Define & explain aspect of electric force (charged ions, forces of attraction & repulsion, Coulomb’s Law, Electric Fields).

    • Understand component of electric current and be able to calculate each related to Ohm’s Law (voltage, current, resistance).

    • Distinguish between induction and conduction related to transfer of charges.

  • Electric Circuits & Electromagnetic Induction

    • Distinguish between static electricity and circuits.

    • Describe, draw, and explain the types of circuits (series, parallel, combination).

    • Recognize practical applications of electric force & circuits (transmission, overloading).

    • Define magnetism, magnetic fields, and electromagnetic induction.

  • Sound Energy - Sound Waves; Speed, Wavelength and Frequency of Sound

    • How are mechanical waves like sound produced, transmitted, and heard?

    • Define the properties of mechanical waves like sound waves (longitudinal, wavelength, amplitude, frequency, speed) and calculate variables.

    • Explain and recognize behaviors of sound waves (Doppler Effect, refraction, reflection, resonance, and diffraction.

    • Distinguish between pure sound, noise, and music. How do musical instruments work? 

  • Light - Electromagnetic Radiation; Dual Nature of Light; Wavelength and Frequency; Reflection and Refraction

    • Define electromagnetic radiation and recognize the relationship between frequency, wavelength, and the speed of light.

    • Describe wave-particle duality and classify associated properties of light (photoelectric effect, reflection, refraction, diffraction, and polarization).

    • Recognize types of reflection of light, the law of reflection, and draw all components of light when it reflects off a reflective surface.

    • Recognize refraction of light, optical density, index of refraction, identifying all components of light as it refracts while travelling through different media.

  • Light & Color - Lenses; Polarization; Human Eye; Color

    • Name the two major types of mirrors and lenses and describe & draw how light is transmitted through them (object, image, focal point).

    • Define polarization and give real life examples of its use.

    • Identify and define the parts of the human eye responsible for vision.

    • Distinguish between primary additive, primary subtractive, and complementary colors of LIGHT. Be able to define how each color is created.

  • Student Project
    • Participate in a project-based, independent study, learning unit as a review of one major concept from 2nd semester.

    • Use class notes, labs, homework, textbook, internet, and other resources to research ideas to create a lab experience based on Motion, Newton’s Laws, Simple Machines, Electricity, Sound, or Light.

    • Submit a report of the project that includes all elements of a formal lab report.






Grade Weighting

10%    Homework

 5%    Participation 

30%   Labs

50%   Unit Tests

  5%   Student Project / Semester Exam

Unit Assessments

Textbook Reading

Class Notes (Powerpoint)

Notes / Study Guide

Homework (Text or Worksheets)

Lab (Quiz; Worksheet or Report)

Test (Multiple Choice; Problems)

Grading & Assessments

Craig T. Riesen

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  • Biology

  • Chemistry

  • Physics

  • General Science 7-12

  • Basic Administation K-12

  • Online Instructor

30+ years Teaching Experience

  • Public Schools (26+yr)

  • Online (7+yr)

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