Information Organization and Homework Assignments
The following organizational tools are useful for most chemistry courses.
Vocabulary terms and their definitions are effectively organized using flash (concept) cards. Other types of information that are amenable to flash card format are chemical symbols for elements or molecules and people and their contributions to chemistry. Examples of each of these are given below (D. Applegate, CAL).
In addition to terms, symbols, and people, chemistry equations for solving problems may be organized on flash cards. Examples are provided below (D. Hurst, CAL).
Another way flash cards can be used with chemistry information is illustrated below (D. Hurst, CAL). Color coded cards organize chunks of chemistry information. In this example, the molecular formulas of ions are organized by charge: ions with one negative charge are recorded on one color of cards, ions with two negative charge are recorded on another color, etc. The color coding aids in encoding and recall of the information.
Running Concepts Lists
Running concept lists may be used to organize the same types of information as flash cards. The terms, formulas, symbols, or names are written in the right-hand column of the page, and the definitions, equations, meanings, and contributions are recorded in the left-hand column. Several examples are illustrated below (D. Applegate, CAL).
Show Me An Example Of A Running Concept List (For Terminology)
Show Me An Example Of A Running Concept List (For Equations)
Show Me An Example Of A Running Concept List (For Element Symbols)
Show Me An Example Of A Running Concept List (For Molecular Formulas)
Show Me An Example Of A Running Concept List (For Important People)
Show Me An Example Of A Running Concept List (For Metric System Prefixes)
Steps for solving chemistry problems, such as calculating molarity or balancing equations, may be summarized using flow charts. The example below is a flow chart of steps for solving mass-mass problems (D. Hurst, CAL).
In chemistry, matrices may be used to summarize information about two or more concepts, as with the examples given below.
Show Me An Example Of Chemistry Matrices (For Radiation)
Show Me An Example Of Chemistry Matrices (For Subatomic Particles)
Show Me An Example Of Chemistry Matrices (For Acids and Bases)
A critical component of most chemistry classes is solving problems using equations and formulas. The following strategies relate to completing such homework assignments. A strategy for working problems while reading a science text, which is very helpful for chemistry material, is presented in the Reading and Problem Solving for Physical Sciences section of the General Science page.
Preview new problems and formulas before they are covered in class. Most books give numerous sample problems and solutions in each chapter. Carefully look over these before class.
Form a reliable study group for daily or weekly sessions to complete homework assignments. Other students may be able to explain ambiguous problems in a different way than the instructor. Talking about problem solutions also helps to reinforce and internalize the procedures in one's mind.
Work all the sample problems in the text and at the end of each chapter. If you run out of problems, just change the numbers in the sample problems and rework them. Most instructors, peer tutors, and professional tutors will be happy to check the work of students who go "above and beyond" the assigned problems.