Chem 120H Syllabus

Chem 120H  Introductory Quantitative Chemistry

Spring, 2020

1100-1215 T, R    Colburn 109


Instructor:  Prof. Steven Brown

Office: 239 BrL

Voicemail:  831-6861


Office Hours:  1000-1100 T,R; 1200 F  or by appointment



Course Description

Chemistry 120H is an honors, laboratory-oriented course covering measurements on chemical systems. It provides an introduction to measurements, the use of standards, handling of measurement errors, and a brief introduction to measurement of species in solution, including ”classical” chemical analysis based on the application of equilibrium theory and use of simple chemical instrumentation.

As a required course for Chemistry and Biochemistry honors undergraduate majors, this course is intended for first-year, honors undergraduate chemistry and biochemistry majors. This course provides students a background in basic chemical measurement, equilibrium calculations, data analysis, report generation, and practice in making careful, classical chemical measurements of mass and volume. The student in Chem 120H is presumed to have gained a background in algebra, chemical nomenclature, in properties of inorganic compounds and in basic chemical stoichiometry from secondary school courses and to have gained exposure to statistical methods, basic equilibrium theory and practice, and chemical measurements in Chem 115H or an equivalent course.

Topics introduced in Chem 120H include chemical and physical properties of solutions, mainly of inorganic ions and complexes, with a brief introduction to quantitative measurements by potentiometry, kinetics and the absorption of light by chemical systems.

Note that this course is separate from Chem 112H and the material covered in Chem 120H will not necessarily mesh with that given in Chem 120H, either in topic or in timing. Note also that this course combines lecture and laboratory, and that the laboratory is more heavily weighted in determining the student grade.



This course is a mixture of lecture/discussion and laboratory with a focus on aqueous inorganic chemistry: chemical reactions, reaction stoichiometry, and some calculations from acid/base equilibria, complexation, redox chemistry, and solubility. The focus is on an introduction to chemical measurement and assessment. Computers and, if appropriate, calculators, will be used for chemical calculations and data analysis. 

Lecture notes, laboratory experiments and homework assignments will be made available on Canvas for students enrolled in the course. Solutions to homework are provided in a comprehensive solutions manual provided by Harvey to accompany his text.



Required Texts:

Analytical Chemistry 2.1, by David Harvey, self-published e-book, 2016. (Required Text)

This text is designated as DH in the schedule and assignments.

You can obtain the text book and the solutions manual for the text book at no cost from or from the course Canvas site. This pdf text is a complete revision of Harvey’s 1999 hard copy text Modern Analytical Chemistry, published by McGraw-Hill. It supplements the CHEM 112 text well, offers many problems and emphasizes use of Excel and R software.

Other Required Items:

1. Safety goggles (not safety glasses; goggles have side shields – you must use these goggles in all Chem lab courses – these are available at the bookstores, from the ACS student chapter locally, or online). You may also use a lab coat or lab apron if you wish.

2.  A bound laboratory notebook with numbered pages – these look much like a composition notebook, and you can use one of these if you number the pages yourself. Note that a spiral notebook or a notebook with tear-out pages is NOT acceptable for this class.  You can get a larger bound notebook (with more pages, at higher cost) if you like, as you can/will also use this notebook in Chem 438 and Chem 445/6. These bound notebooks are available from the local bookstores or online.

3. Access to a laptop or other computer running either MacOS or Windows. You may use Linux, but you do so without support from course personnel.   We will use Excel and R software in the statistics section and elsewhere throughout the semester. R software is available online {from } at no cost; also download and install Rstudio desktop environment software for your computer {  } available at no cost. Microsoft Excel and Word software are available from {there is free access to Office 365 for UD students while you remain a full-time student}.  You may use alternatives to Excel and Word if you prefer, but you must save your files in pdf format to permit grading.

4. Scientific calculator (mainly for quizzes and exams – any kind will do, so long as it has logarithms and exponential functions). You may use a graphing calculator on exams.

5. A USB2 memory stick with 2Gb of memory.  Any USB2 memory stick with > 512 MB but < 2 Gb, formatted as FAT (or FAT32) is fine for transferring data in the lab. Macs can read FAT-formatted files. So can Windows. The Vernier LabQuest2 used in lab can only read and write 2Gb and smaller FAT-formatted USB stick devices reliably – larger devices may not work, so avoid these if you can. Also avoid getting USB3 sticks- they will not work with the Vernier LabQuest. If you use a 4Gb stick, format it as ExFat. This sometimes works with the Vernier LabQuest. The lab has a number of usable 2Gb sticks, but these get “lost” so don’t rely on one being available.


Learning Resources:

This course will be recorded to allow repeated viewing of lectures/discussion. Registered students in the course may find the captures listed by date on Canvas under the “My Media” section of the Chem 120H site. Full lecture notes will be made available in advance (in PDF format) on Canvas.  There will be pdf versions of the course text and all course laboratories available for download at the Chem 120H site on Canvas. 

You will need to be registered for the course as a student or as a listener to gain access to the Canvas course site. All material on the site is copyrighted by the holder; your use of these materials is conditioned on your acceptance of the copyright terms.

Help in learning the material for this course is available from the instructor with no appointment during posted office hours and by appointment outside of posted office hours. The Teaching Assistant also can provide help on topics covered during his/her posted office hours.

Additional help can be obtained though the Academic Enrichment Center ( ), where tutors can be found to help with course concepts. Both group (free) and individual tutorial (for-pay) sessions are offered. Mrs. Staib (BrL 102) has a current list of for-pay tutors in chemistry, some of whom can help with the material covered in this class. Please see the instructor before choosing any for-pay tutor because not all tutors on Mrs. Staib’s list are equally competent in explaining the material covered in Chem 120H.


Course Requirements

Students are expected to attend lecture/discussion, to participate in any discussions,  and to participate fully in all individual, group and pairs work in the laboratory. All students are expected to maintain a clean laboratory space and to comply with all laboratory safety requirements.

Students are expected to put in the effort outside of class needed to master the material assigned in class. This may involve reading the text, doing problems from the text, watching video presentations, and completing the lab reports.

Course Policies


Assignments Policy:

Homework will be assigned in lecture and will be posted on Canvas. Homework deadlines will be posted, and you are expected to do homework in advance of those deadlines, even though homework is neither collected nor graded in this course. Collaboration is encouraged on homework, but you are expected to know how to do each homework problem yourself.

Data are due to Google Sheets and laboratory reports are due to Canvas according to the schedule posted. Late submissions of data and reports generally will be penalized 10% per business day late, but deadlines missed for a reason (a documented illness, a documented class conflict, or for work- or conference-related travel, etc.) can be made up without penalty. If you have a problem and cannot make a submission deadline, please let the instructor know. I may be able to allow you some extra time for a once-only problem.

Weekends, UD holidays, UD closures for any reason, and UD closures for Spring Break do not count as business days for imposition of penalties for late submissions. A business day is considered to end at 2359.


Exam Policy:

Any homework assigned with a due date five days prior to the date of an exam is eligible for inclusion on that exam. Lecture materials given more than five days prior to the exam date will generally be eligible for inclusion on the exam. Other announced materials posted on Canvas with a coverage date one week prior to the exam date are also considered eligible for inclusion.

The final exam is comprehensive, covering all course materials.

All exams are closed-book, closed-notes, but you are expected to bring a single 4″ x 6″ card with your name and any information you wish on both sides of the card. The card can include any information the student regards necessary. The exam will provide all constants, all statistical tables and a periodic table, nothing else.

The card you bring will be graded out of 5 points as part of the exam: 5 for acceptable, 2 for marginal, and 0 for useless or not submitted. If the student obtains a score > 90% on the exam, a poor score on a card will be changed to 5.


Attendance and Excused Absences Policy:

Though formal attendance is not taken at lecture, you are expected to attend all scheduled lectures/discussions and to pay careful attention while in the lecture. Information provided in lecture/discussion may not always be duplicated on the class web site. You are responsible for knowing all information given in lecture and discussions, whether or not you are in attendance.

Note that University policy requires the instructor to inform the Registrar when a student is not in attendance for a substantial portion of the course. The class policy on absences follows the University policy, which can be found at . 

Scheduled absences must be made known in writing to the course instructor in advance so that arrangements can be made for adjustment of due dates of class and laboratory assignments. Scheduled absences may require an e-mail from the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office or from the employer to support student claims. Other absences will be excused as appropriate:  e.g., for medical reasons (serious illness requiring a doctor’s care) and family emergencies. Some University sanctioned events, and employer-required absences may also be excused.

Minor absences may be excused at the discretion of the course instructor on a case-by-case basis, depending on the reason for the absence and on what course material is missed.

Absence from an hourly exam generally cannot be made up. The best 2 of 3 exams will be used in determining student grades, so the missed exam is dropped.

Special Accommodations Policy:

Students requesting special accommodations in Chem 120H must be registered with UD’s Disabilities Support Services ( ). Those students must contact the Chem 120H course instructor well in advance ( > 2 wks) of any course activity to arrange for special accommodations for that activity according to the terms for the arrangements set by the Disabilities Support Services staff. Note that an accommodation for any exam is permissible if arranged in advance, but any student with an accommodation will be required to begin the exam at the DSS facility at exactly the same time as that set for the remainder of the class; further, the same rules as those used for the in-class exam will apply to any exams given at DSS, with the exception of accommodations deemed necessary by DSS.


E-Mail Policy:

The instructor does not use social media, so important notices and correction of errors in Chem 120H will be sent to the e-mail distribution list linked to Canvas for the class to provide the fastest dissemination of the information. The Registrar will include your campus e-mail account on these class distribution lists, and you are advised to check it regularly.

The instructor does not accept texts but makes every effort to respond promptly to e-mailed questions or concerns from students, but he may not respond promptly – or at all – outside of normal business hours. Please do not expect an instant response to an e-mailed question. Be aware that because University and the instructor’s e-mail malware filters may block or trap and remove mail, especially external mail from certain accounts, under some circumstances, the instructor may not receive or be able to respond to a student e-mail originating from some off-campus e-mail accounts. Contact with the instructor by your UD e-mail is advised.


Class Cell Phone and Laptop Policy:

Placing and receiving phone calls/texts or using laptops/phones/tablets/watches to access the internet or to check Facebook accounts in class is disruptive and discourteous to your fellow students and to the instructor. You are welcome to bring a smartphone, tablet or laptop to use in following or recording lectures and discussions, and you may use it to find an answer to questions posed in class, but you may not access a smartphone, laptop or tablet for any other purpose. If you do, and you disrupt the class in the opinion of the instructor, you forfeit your right to attend this class, and you may be asked by the instructor to leave the lecture for the day. Repeat offenses will result in other sanctions.


Laboratory Safety Policy:

There will be a safety presentation at the start of the first lab period. You may not do any experiments in lab without attending this presentation and without completing the Bioraft Right-to-Know safety training on-line ( ). Your score on the safety exam is converted to a maximum of 15 points credited toward the total of 240 points for laboratory work. Bring the completed safety training certificate to the first scheduled lab. Students who fail to complete the Bioraft training will not be allowed to work in lab until the Bioraft training is completed.

You must wear safety goggles in the laboratory at all times when anyone has chemicals out or is doing any experiment. You must have proper attire for all labs to be allowed entry to lab: no bare feet, no sandals, no bunny slippers, no shorts, no bare midriffs, no bare shoulders, and no bare sleeves are permissible in a chemistry laboratory. (Alas, Chem 120H is where you learn that fashion and chemistry labs are not compatible.)

You must not bring any food, drink or water into the laboratory. Keep it all in your backpack until you leave the lab. Stow your backpack away from the lab benches and away from egress lines. You can put them in the spaces near the lab doors. Please do not leave food or drink outside the lab door. This will be considered a safety violation.

A brief discussion of possible safety hazards will be given for each experiment. You are expected to follow the safety guidelines. Students who violate safety rules will be asked to leave lab, and a score of 0 will be recorded for that laboratory assignment. An experiment missed as a result of any safety violation cannot be made up.


Laboratory Work Policy:

Labs in Chem 120H can be done in the allotted time, and some may not require the entire period. Some experiments may be completed in one lab period, while others will require two lab periods or more. You may bring and study other work in lab if you have time to do so. Cell reception is poor in 006 but you can connect to UD eduroam wifi easily.

Some of the experiments will be done individually; some will be done in pairs, and some in small groups depending on the availability of resources.

All of the experiments will require brief lab reports that are to be electronically submitted to Canvas as a single pdf file by each student, even if the experiment was done in pairs or as a group. If the laboratory work was done in pairs or a group, you must list all of your co-workers on the title page of the experiment that you submit.


Academic Honesty Policy:

Students are encouraged to become familiar with The University’s Policy of academic honesty found in the UD Student Guide to University Policies ( More on the whole issue of academic integrity can be found in the Student Guide ( Policies delineated in the UD Catalog apply to this course. 

All work submitted for the Chem 120H course should be your own, and all work on the examinations must be done entirely independently. Please be aware that by turning any work into the instructor of this course, you acknowledge being made aware of the University’s academic honesty policy and affirm your adherence to both the letter and spirit of the policy.

Note: Accessing any laptop, cell phone, tablet, smartwatch, ipod or any other device (except an approved calculator) during any Chem 120H exam may result in the immediate expulsion of the student from the exam and a score of 0 on that exam. This score cannot be made up by other work.


Scientific Integrity and Plagiarism Policy:

Whether you work individually or as a member of either a pair or a team, you are responsible for the data you produce and the report you generate from those data. All work submitted for grading in Chem 120H must be your own work on your own (or your group’s) data, except those clearly indicated, specific cases where data are provided to you by the instructor for your assessment.

Submitting false or altered data, or submitting data obtained from another person or a source not indicated either as a source of data or as a laboratory partner on your report is considered a violation of scientific integrity. Any violation of scientific integrity, if confirmed,  will result in a score of 0 for the report. That score cannot be improved.

Submitting any un-cited portion of another’s work as part of your laboratory report is considered plagiarism, and if confirmed, will result in a score of 0 on the report. That score also cannot be improved. Plagiarism includes extended copying of portions of a report prepared by others when the work was done in pairs or by a group. In short, identical group data can be submitted by each member of the group; that repetition is not plagiarism, but submission as yours of extended sections of work or from another person or group without citation  of that work is plagiarism and is not allowed.


Any violation of academic honesty, scientific integrity or plagiarism may be subject to additional sanctions at the discretion of the instructor.




Evaluation Policies and Procedures: 

The course will be marked on the basis of student performance on a safety quiz, laboratory reports, on scores from the best 2 out of 3 midterm exams, and the score on a final exam. The grade given will be determined on the basis of the total number of points earned. Exams are all “open-card”- a 4″x 6″ card containing any information the student regards as helpful – this card is required as proof of preparation for the exam and is graded out of 5 points.


The distribution of points is as follows:

Task                                                                             Points

Lecture/Discussion: 160  pts, scored as follows:

Midterm Exams (3/17, 4/14, 5/12/2020, each 50 pts): 100 pts

(The best 2 of 3 exam scores are used)

Final Examination (5/19-5/26/2020, 60 pts):                  60 pts

Laboratory: 240 pts, scored as follows:

Reports will be graded on the quality of the written report (20 points per report) and the agreement with correct value, when known (5 points). Grading rubrics for each experiment will be posted on Canvas.

Lab reports (9×25 pts) 225 pts

Departmental Safety Quiz  (15 pts)   15 pts

TOTAL:                                                                          400 pts


Scoring Dispute Policy:

All grade disputes must be submitted to the instructor no later than 5 business days after the graded work has been returned. A decision on the dispute will be made promptly and the decision on any new grade will be made available to you on Canvas. Please note that weekends, UD holidays, unscheduled UD closures for any reason, and UD closures for Spring Break do not count as business days for disputes.

No disputes may be submitted for any reason after the last class day.

Grades in Chem 120H will follow the scale given below. Both + and – grades may be given, as appropriate, at the discretion of the instructor; boundaries for these will vary, and are determined by the instructor based on student performance and the class distribution.

Grading Scale:  


> 338 pts       A  

337-300 pts   B

299-225 pts   C

224-188 pts   D

100-187 pts   F

<100 pts        Z  (if appropriate, based on attendance, as required by the Registrar)

The average grade earned by previous students in a similar course offered by this instructor has been B.


CHEM 120 Learning Goals

(Numbers in parentheses indicate the department goal to which each learning goal is applied.)

After successful completion of this course, a student should be able to do the following:

1. Use a computer for data analysis. (5)

2. Write brief technical reports. (8, 10)

3. Work effectively in teams in the laboratory. (8)

4. Quantitatively analyze problems in ionic equilibria for weak acids, bases, buffers, complexation reactions, redox couples, and solubility (1)

5. Perform experiments in quantitative titrimetric analysis. (1, 2)

6. Use reaction kinetics as a way to measure amounts. (1)

7. Use pH meters and spectrometers for chemical analyses. (6)

8. Understand and practice proper safety procedures in the laboratory. (7)

9. Understand and practice ethically correct presentation of scientific data. (9).



Student Feedback on Instruction


The instructor will ask for student feedback at midterm for course/instructor improvement purposes. There will also be an end-of-term student evaluation with a supplement to departmental student evaluation form.

Revised 12/2019

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