Introduction to General Chemistry

Last Updated: AUGUST 12, 2015

Welcome to the Chemistry 6A homepage on the World Wide Web. These ePages provide supplemental information for our course taught by me, Professor James M. Ritchey at California State University, Sacramento. This course introduces you to the basics of general chemistry.

Lecture Meeting Information and Location: MWF 9:00AM to 9:50 AM in MARIPOSA HALL-1000

Text: Introduction to General, Organic, and Biochemistry, by Hein, Pattison,  and Arena  (11th Edition--most common version is a paperback)

Course Contact: My office is SQU-428C, Office Hours: MWF--10:00 AM to 11:00 AM or by scheduled appointment at other times. My office telephone number is 278-7654 and my email address is

Course Syllabus:

Course Description: “Chemistry” will be presented in a clear, engaging manner that will stimulate students to further their scientific knowledge as they prepare for their future careers. The principles and facts of general chemistry will be presented and discussed (including: measurements, atomic and molecular properties and structures and the classification of matter, inorganic nomenclature, chemical equations, stoichiometric calculations, chemical bonds, gas laws, liquids and solutions, acids and bases, equilibrium reactions, and oxidation/reduction). The scientific method will be utilized to convey the concepts of chemistry. To develop problem-solving skills, many of the concepts are introduced, developed, and practiced via algebraic manipulations.


Prerequisites: No college prerequisites are required to enroll in Chemistry 6A. High school chemistry and algebra are recommended, but not required.


Learning Goals: For those who have never experienced “chemistry,” the discipline can be viewed as a type of “foreign language.” As with any “foreign language,” in order to read and speak the “foreign language” it is necessary to memorize the “alphabet,” certain critical “words,” and sentence construction rules, or in the case of chemistry, specific chemical facts and rules. However, a systematic approach to applying those chemical facts and rules in solving chemical problems is stressed. Seeing “how” and “why” a particular chemical problem is solved and what “units or dimensions” should be in the final answer are at least as beneficial, and often more so, than the actual numeric answer. Although other goals may exist for each individual student, several worthwhile goals for Chemistry 6A include: 1) learning and appreciating the “scientific method” and being able to apply it to both theoretical/actual chemical situations and “real-life” non-chemical problems; 2) understanding the “basic chemical building blocks” of atoms and molecules and the types of forces that hold together or stabilize their structures; 3) becoming proficient in writing chemical equations that express, in a shorthand manner, what products are generated, under given conditions, from specific starting reactants; 4) becoming familiar with the basic states of matter and the energies related to cooling, heating, and converting one state of matter to another; 5) comprehending the role of the electron in oxidation/reduction reactions; and 6) becoming familiar with not only the “acid/base” relationship, but how this relationship constantly appears in everyday life.


Required Writing Component: Chemistry 6A is listed in Area B, Sub areas B1 and B3 of the G.E. Program. Area B, Sub area B3 requires that a writing component be included in the course. Hence, a writing component is included within the laboratory portion of Chemistry 6A. Specifically, the writing component is found in two areas of the laboratory experience.

First, before each laboratory is performed a laboratory purpose and procedure summary is to be submitted. The summary presents the general purpose of the laboratory experiment and highlights the steps you will perform in the laboratory. The summary is turned in at the beginning of the laboratory period to which the summary applies. Correct spelling and proper grammar are required in the summaries. The summary is to be your work and not that of a partner or a joint effort with other fellow students.

Second, each laboratory is completed by submitting a written laboratory report the week following the experiment. Several short answer questions and problems are posed in each laboratory description and must be answered in the report. A complete answer contains two elements; 1) the appropriate scientific explanation and 2) one or more grammatically correct sentences presenting the appropriate scientific explanation, rationale, or necessary information.


Schedule and Grading

Approximate Lecture Schedule

Week Of:                     Monday                        Wednesday                             Friday


8/31                             Intro. & Pretest            Chapt. 1 & App. 1                    Chapts. 1 & 2


9/7                               Labor Day-Closed       2                                              2


9/14                             3 & 4                            3 & 4                                        Quiz #1


9/21                             4                                  4 & 5                                        5 & 6


9/28                             6                                  6                                              Quiz #2


10/5                             7                                  7                                              Exam #1


10/12                           7                                  8                                              8


10/19                           9                                  9                                              Quiz #3


10/26                           9                                  10                                            10


11/2                             11                                11                                            Quiz #4


11/9                             11/12                           Vet Day-Closed                       12


11/16                           12                                13                                            Exam #2


11/23                           13                                15                                            Thanksgiving-Closed


11/30                           Quiz #5                       15                                            15


12/7                             16                                16                                            Quiz #6


12/14                                       Final Exam is Wed. the 16th (8-10AM)



Grading:         Lecture; 75% (550.00pts) Two Exams (100pts each), your best five of six Quizzes (30pts each), and the CUMULATIVE Final Exam (200pts).

                        Lab; 25% (183.34pts) All lab totals will be scaled to this point value as a maximum for a perfect score.

            Grades:           90% of the total high score=A range

                                    78% of the total high score=B range

                                    65% of the total high score=C range

                                    55% of the total high score=D range



Homework Problems


These problems are from Introduction to General, Organic, and Biochemistry by Hein, Pattison, and Arena. (11th Edition)


Chapter                      Problems (Paired and Additional Exercises)


2. Odd numbered problems from #1 to #63


3. Even numbered problems from #2 to #36


4. Odd numbered problems


5. Even numbered problems


6. Even numbered problems


7. Odd numbered problems from #1 to #61


8. Odd numbered problems


9. Odd numbered problems


10. Odd numbered problems from #1 to # 59


11. Even numbered problems from #2 to #58


12. Starting at #3, every third problem (i.e. 3, 6, 9………..)


13. Odd numbered problems to #56


14. Even numbered problems to #54


15. Odd numbered problems to #50


16. Every third problem (i.e. 3, 6, 9………) to #60


17. Even numbered problems

 These problems will be collected but not graded. I will record that you turned in the assigned problems. Summary answers are at the end of the textbook and detailed answers will be posted.



Chemistry (University) Drop Policy: See the current University Catalog.


Laboratory Schedule:  

Laboratory Room: SQU-444

Laboratory Text: Introduction to GOB in the Laboratory by Hein, Peisen, and Ritchey (10th Edition)



Week Of:                                             Laboratory Assignments                                            


8/31                 Check-in and general introduction to the lab and to safety


9/7                   No labs this week (Labor Day)


9/14                 Expt. #2- Measurements (individual)


9/21                 Expt. #3- Preparation of Oxygen (individual)


9/28                 Expt. #4- Preparation of Hydrogen (individual)


10/5                 Expt. #7- Water in Hydrates (individual)


10/12               Expt. #10- Composition of KClO3 (individual)


10/19               Lab Exam (200pts) over the first five experiments.


10/26               Expts. #11 & #12- Single and Double Replacements (partners)


11/2                 Expt. #17- Lewis Structures and Molecular Models (individual)


11/9                 No labs this week. Vet's Day


11/16               Expts. Gas Diffusion on my web page & #19- Gas Laws (partners)


11/23               No labs this week. Thanksgiving Recess.


11/30               Expts. #22 & #23- Neutralization/Titration (partners)



NOTE: All lab experiments must be performed and written up. Failure to do so will result in a failing grade for the entire course.


All experimental reports are due at the beginning of the following lab period. There is a 10% penalty for each late day. Reports more than five days late will receive a maximum of 50% of the original 100pt score. Prelab write-ups are due at the beginning of each week’s lab.


Be sure you use INK when you record data and fill in your lab reports.




Prelab Assignment Example:




Name: Dibblecroft J. Sneedwax

Section: 9999

Date: January 1, 2121

  EXPERIMENT 6: Freezing Points--Graphing of Data


            The subject experiment is designed to illustrate two main concepts. First, the process of freezing a substance is to be investigated by studying the temperature of a liquid or solid as a function of the length of time that liquid or solid is held within a test tube that is itself held within a beaker of ice. Second, to better understand the useful procedure of graphing experimental data, the experimentally observed temperature and time data are to be plotted to produce a graphical representation of the freezing process.


            Important points to note during procedure:

                        1. Use only clean and dry equipment.

                        2. Read and record all temperatures to the nearest 0.1oC

            Steps in experiment:

            1. To the indicated position on the ring stand, clamp the 18 X 150 mm test tube.

                        2. Assemble the slotted cork and thermometer into the correct configuration in the test tube.

                        3. Obtain and pour 10.0 ml of glacial acetic acid into the ring stand mounted test tube and adjust the temperature of the acetic acid to approximately 25oC.

                        4. Position a 400 ml beaker that is filled with an ice-water mixture under the clamped test tube.

                        5. Record a temperature for the acetic acid that corresponds to a 0.0 minute reading and then lower the clamped test tube into the ice bath so that all of the acetic acid is below the surface of the ice water.

                        6. With constant stirring by motion of the thermometer, record the temperature of the acetic acid every 30 seconds. Stop stirring when crystals begin to form within the acetic acid.

                        7. Continue recording the temperature at 30 second intervals until a total of 15 minutes has elapsed. To maintain a constant ice bath temperature, the ice water is occasionally stirred.

                        8. Place the test tube, with the thermometer still within the acetic acid, in warm water to melt the frozen acetic acid. Keep this liquid for additional experiments.

                        9. Weigh 0.450 g of benzoic acid and place the benzoic acid into the acetic acid containing test tube from above. Stir the acetic acid-benzoic acid mixture until the benzoic acid dissolves.

                        10. Using a fresh ice bath, repeat steps four through 7 for the acetic acid-benzoic acid mixture.


Scanned-In Lab Experiments


Gas Diffusion Experiment









Past Exams and Quizzes