The Structure of Matter

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
CHEM 1110
The Structure of Matter
Science & Technology
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture: 4 hours/week Laboratory: an average of 2 hours/week
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

The course will be presented using lectures, problem sessions and class discussion. The laboratory course will be used to illustrate the practical aspects of the course material.  Close coordination will be maintained between laboratory and classroom work whenever possible.  This will be accomplished by discussing laboratory experiments in class and, when necessary, by using the lab period for problem solving.

Options: Students will be encouraged to view course material in the context of teaching through a combination of class presentations, cooperative learning and tutorials. Current educational technology, such as research using the Internet, molecular modeling software and data analysis with spreadsheets, may be employed.

Course Description
This course offers a brief review of stoichiometry and the treatment of experimental data, then focuses on the modern view of atomic structure, theories of bonding and molecular structure, organic chemistry including nomenclature, conformation of alkanes, substitution reactions, addition reactions and oxidation/reduction reactions. A practical laboratory component (requiring good manual dexterity) is an integral part of the course.
Course Content

1. Introduction and Review

Scientific measurements, significant figures; the mole, formulas, stoichiometry.

2. Atomic Structure

Development of atomic structure; fundamental particles; quantum theory of radiation; the quantum mechanical model of the atom; Planck, Heisenberg, orbital shapes, sizes and energies, electronic configurations; periodic properties: ionization energy, atomic size, electron affinity.

3. Bonding and Molecular Structure

Ionic bonding; covalent bonding: Lewis structures, electronegativity, polarity, resonance, shapes of molecules; Valence Bond Theory: hybridization, orbital diagrams; Molecular Orbital Theory: shapes and energies of molecular orbitals, bond order, intermolecular forces, and hydrogen bonding.

4. Organic Chemistry

Nomenclature; identification and physical properties of common functional groups, conformations of alkanes, Newman projections, ring flipping, conformations of substituted cyclohexanes, R/S system of nomenclature, cis-trans (E/Z) isomerism,  SN1/SN2 reactions and mechanisms, carbocation stability, dehydration of alcohols, oxidation of alcohols and aldehydes and addition reactions of alkenes.

Options: Organic compounds involved in human physiology and anatomy will be discussed.

Laboratory Content

The following laboratory experiments will be selected from the following list and performed during the lab period:

  1. Laboratory Safety
  2. Volumetric Techniques: A Review of Titration
  3. Recycling Aluminium
  4. Back Titration: Analysis of an Insoluble Base
  5. Atomic Spectra
  6. Synthesis of Aspirin
  7. Chromatography
  8. Preparation of Geometric Isomers
  9. Preparation and Analysis of Potassium Hydrogen Maleate
  10. Qualitative Organic Analysis
  11. Molecular Geometry
  12. Synthesis of an Azo Dye 
  13. Preparation of Reagents and Equipment for the Laboratory
  14. Electrolysis of Water
  15. The Molar Mass of Magnesium

NOTE: The student must be able to physically accomplish the various tasks involved in the above experiments.  This includes, for example, sufficient manual dexterity for accurate manipulation and use of volumetric glassware.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the students will:

  1. Carry out measurements using the correct number of significant figures, and understand precision and accuracy.
  2. Solve stoichiometry problems of the following types:  percentage composition/empirical formula, gram-gram or gram-volume (of a gas), solution stoichiometry, limiting reactant, problems involving two simultaneous or two sequential reactions.
  3. Explain the Bohr Theory of atomic structure.
  4. Give the electronic configuration of any of the common elements in the periodic table.
  5. Given a periodic table, explain relative sizes, ionization energies, and electron affinities of the elements.
  6. Explain and be able to apply the following concepts to covalent bonds: dipole moment, electronegativity, and percent ionic character.
  7. Draw Lewis structures for a given molecule.  The molecule may exhibit resonance, or expanded valence shells.
  8. Use the VSEPR theory to predict the geometry of any polyatomic molecule.
  9. Given the formula of a polyatomic molecule, use the Valence Bond Theory to describe the types of bonds, the type of hybridization of central atom, and draw a diagram showing orbital overlap and geometry.
  10. Use the Molecular Orbital Theory of bonding to describe the bonding in any diatomic molecule involving atoms from the first two rows of the periodic table.
  11. Given the formulas of two compounds, list the types of intermolecular forces that apply to each molecule, and predict which will have the higher boiling point, or heat of vaporization.
  12. From the formula of an organic compound, give the IUPAC name.
  13. Given the formula of an organic compound, draw diagrams of all possible isomers, and describe each type of isomer.
  14. Be able to name and identify the common functional groups.
  15. Be able to draw the lowest and highest energy conformations of alkanes via Newman projections and cyclohexanes in 3D indicating axial and equatorial bonds and 1,3-diaxial interactions.
  16. Given a compound with a stereogenic centre, be able to identify it using the R/S system of nomenclature.
  17. Be able to provide the mechanism of either an SN1 or SN2 substitution reaction indicating the structures of all transition states & intermediates including the stereochemical outcome of the reaction.
  18. Be able to provide the mechanism of the addition of HX to alkenes.
  19. Given the formulas of the substrates and reagents, be able to predict the major product of the reaction including oxidations of alcohols and aldehydes and addition reactions of alkenes.
  20. Given a list of carbocations, be able to rank their relative stabilities.

Options: For classes with students enrolled in the Bachelor of  Physical Education and  Coaching  program:

  1. Instructors will be aware that students in this class are seeking a career as teachers and therefore topics may be presented with a pedagogical perspective.
  2. Students may be provided with skills enabling them to explain both quantitative and qualitative topics in the course to an audience of elementary or high school students.


Laboratory Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Give the name and describe the use of common laboratory equipment.
  2. Accurately perform standard laboratory techniques using the accepted methods, such as titration, weighing, pipetting.
  3. Give the random and systematic errors inherent in each of the common quantitative techniques which are used in the laboratory.
  4. Write a report based on observations and data obtained in the laboratory using a standard report format.
  5. Given a set of experimental data or using data obtained in the laboratory, apply the appropriate mathematical techniques (e.g. graphical analysis, solution of equations, etc.) necessary to obtain a numerical result.
  6. Using the data, observations or results of an experiment, determine the relationship between experimental variables.
  7. Analyze the overall laboratory experiment with respect to errors inherent in the method or techniques.
  8. Give the theory upon which the experiment is based.
Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will present a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester. Evaluation will be based on the following:

Lecture Material (75%)

  • Two or three in-class tests will be given during the semester (30% in total)
  • A final exam covering the entire semester’s work will be given during the final examination period (30%)
  • Any or all of the following evaluations, at the discretion of the instructor: assignments, quizzes, class participation [5% maximum],presentations, research assignments, group work (15% in total)

Laboratory (25%)

Written reports for each experiment or activity will be handed in and graded.  These reports may be of various types: complete reports, short reports (handed in on report sheets) or written research assignments.  In addition, pre-lab activities, such as written quizzes or online assignments, may be evaluated. Qualitative and quantitative results of experiments performed on unknown samples may be graded. 


A student who misses three or more laboratory experiments will earn a maximum P grade.

A student who achieves less than 50% in either the lecture or laboratory portion of the course will earn a maximum P grade.

Textbook Materials

Consult the Douglas College Bookstore for the latest required textbooks and materials. Example textbooks and materials may include:

Chemistry, A Molecular Approach by Tro, Fridgen and Shaw

Chemistry 1110 Laboratory Manual, Douglas College


CHEM 1108 (C or better) AND Pre-Calculus 11 (C or better) or equivalent


Chemistry 12 (C+ or better) AND Pre-Calculus 11 (C or better) or equivalent


Courses listed here must be completed either prior to or simultaneously with this course:

  • No corequisite courses

Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

  • No equivalency courses