Fundamental Concepts

A standard introductory chemistry book may run to several hundred pages, and include numerous important ideas. The intent in Chemistry Chapter Zero is to focus on the presentation of a set of fundamental concepts to pre-high school students, and to anticipate that comfort with these concepts will be a foundation for success in subsequent learning of chemistry.

Atoms -- Every material in the world is made up of particles called atoms, which are indistructable, as long as one aviods nuclear reactions. One way of organizing our knowledge about indivual atoms is to use a Periodic Table.

Bonding/Molecules/Reactions -- Molecules are groups of atoms that travel together, i.e, the atoms are bonded to other atoms. The assembly, rearrangement, and disassembly of molecules are examples of reactions.

Structure/Properties -- The activity of every molecule derives from its structure. By activity we mean the capability of participating in various reactions, and more broadly of influencing reactions and properties of materials. The structure of a molecule includes not only the number and type of its component atoms, but also a description of which atoms are bonded to each other, bond lengths and bond angles, and information on the overall spatial arrangement of the parts of the molecule.


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