CHEM 104 – Chemistry and Problem-Solving Fundamentals

Spring 2023





Office Hours:

Course Credit Hours:


Dr. F. Gregg McIntosh

Sims 109F


Tuesday 12:30-1:45 PM, or by appointment, virtually via Zoom


Section 002: Tuesday 9:30 am – 10:15 am / SIMS 111

Required Materials:

●    Text: OpenStax Chemistry digital text.

●    A scientific calculator with logarithms and exponential functions (cell phones may NOT be used).

●    A computer with internet access and a webcam (used for online exams).

Course Goals:

●   Gain an understanding of the fundamental concepts of chemistry.
●    Develop critical thinking and problem solving skills.
●    Build a foundation of good study habits and knowledge for more advanced scientific studies.
●    Better understand how science and chemistry relate to the world around us.

University Level Competencies: 

●   Competency 1: Winthrop graduates think critically and solve problems. 
●   Competency 2: Winthrop graduates are personally and socially responsible. 
●   Competency 3: Winthrop graduates understand the interconnected nature of the world and the time in which they live. 
●   Competency 4: Winthrop graduates communicate effectively

 Course Outline:

In this course, we will examine the following topics:

●   Unit Systems and Dimensional Analysis
●    Basic Concepts of Matter
●    Subatomic Particles, Isotopes and Nuclear Chemistry
●    Electronic Structure and Chemical Periodicity
●    Chemical Bonds
●    Chemical Nomenclature
●    Chemical Calculations: The Mole Concept and Chemical Formulas
●    Chemical Calculations Involving Chemical Equations
●    States of Matter
●    Gas Laws
●    Solutions
●    Acids, Bases and Salts
●    Chemical Equations: Net Ionic and oxidation-Reduction

Preparation: In order to succeed in this course you must keep up with the assignments and manage your time wisely. Therefore, you should:

Watch the video lectures as soon as the corresponding quizzes are posted, and complete Blackboard assignments on time. Classroom time is for problem sessions, so come to class prepared with specific problems/topics that you want clarified. This allows you to benefit most from the weekly face to face time. 

Attend class.  If you miss class, it is your responsibility to obtain notes from another student in the class. You are also responsible for any announcements or schedule changes made during class, whether or not you were present. 

●    You are responsible for any announcements made in class, via Blackboard, or by email. Make sure you have access to your Blackboard account, that your correct email is included in the class listserver, and check your email and Blackboard accounts at least once a day for any updates.

Devote time to study each day.  This is a rigorous course that requires daily preparation.  Work homework/practice problems daily.

Take good notes and develop good study habits. Many students with good work ethics often still need to change how they approach studying for this course. Working problems independently is necessary to improve your comprehension and problem solving skills. Supplemental work with tutors or fellow students can also be advantageous. 

Work out all problems on paper, whether for exams, quizzes, or practice, and make sure to keep track of units and significant figures. This develops better problem solving skills, aids you in catching careless mistakes, and helps me or your tutors in troubleshooting your work. In addition, parts of some quizzes and exams will require you to show your work in order to receive credit.

Use your time wisely. Online quizzes typically have at least a three day window to complete and have multiple attempts (with different questions every time). Start your attempts early rather than waiting until the deadline. Review previous attempts so that you may learn from your mistakes before taking the quiz again. This also gives you time to ask me for assistance between attempts.

Exams and Grading:


Exams and Quizzes: You will need a scientific calculator (one with exponential notation, logarithms, and orders of operation) for exams and quizzes. 
Use of cell phones and sharing of calculators
are both strictly prohibited during exams and quizzes. You will also need a computer with internet access and a web camera for exams (and for a ‘quiz’ to test your equipment).

Course Withdraw: Tuesday, March 21is the last day to withdraw from or SU a full semester course.  Students may not withdraw from a course after this date without documented extenuating circumstances as determined by the University.

Requirements for Communicating Through Email: You are required to use your Winthrop University email address when communicating with classmates or me through email. All communications about this course will be sent by me to your Winthrop email address and you are required to use your Winthrop email address when sending emails to me. When sending me an email, please use “CHEM 104in the subject line. If you use another email account, it is possible that your email will go to my junk folder. I will reply as promptly as possible, depending on my availability. If you do not hear from me within 24 hours on weekdays, or 48 hours on weekends, please send me a reminder in case your email did not get through.

Attendance/participation:  You are expected to actively participate in the course, and keep up with all announcements made in Blackboard or sent via email. Participation includes attending class, replying to emails requesting a response, completing online assignments, and contacting the instructor with any questions or concerns. Absences include not responding to instructor requests and failure to complete online assignments.

Online learning: Any student enrolled in courses at Winthrop regardless of modality (traditional in-person, online, hybrid, ...) is entitled access to all campus resources. These resources include, but are not limited to, admissions counseling, recreational facilities, and health, library, and academic services. Questions regarding access to these resources should be directed to the assigned academic advisor.

COVID-19 Statement:
The health and safety of the campus community is Winthrop’s top priority. As socially responsible members of this community, everyone is expected to engage in daily health self-monitoring and to stay home (residence hall or off-campus housing) from on-campus class, work, or activities if they begin experiencing any COVID-related symptoms. Please do not attend class if you have a fever or any signs of the COVID virus, do not attend class if your roommate or someone you have close contact with acquires the virus, and be respectful of others’ desire to remain COVID-free. Masking on campus remains optional but strongly encouraged, especially in indoor settings around others. Use the Patient Portal COVID-19 form to report illness or exposure and upload the positive test, if relevant. Students who violate WU guidelines will be asked to comply. Continued failure to comply may result in referral to the Dean of Students Office as a student conduct violation.

COVID-Related Absence

Students should contact Health Services regarding a positive test, close contact, or enhanced COVID-like symptoms. Any student who has either tested positive, has COVID-like symptoms, or has close contact with someone who has COVID, must contact Health Services. Students should log in to the Patient Portal to complete a C19 form and upload the positive test, if relevant. Health Services will communicate with the student on what steps to take next, and if need be, the Dean of Students Office will receive absence verification for required isolation and quarantine. Students who verify their absences through the Dean of Students Office often minimize any academic impact caused by missed class time. Students retain a responsibility to communicate with instructors regarding missed work, and complete assignments in a timely manner as they are able. Regular communication with faculty is expected so that student progress in the course is not negatively impacted. Health Services will only provide dates of absence, not medical information. Please note, residential students who test positive must follow their personal COVID Quarantine and Isolation Plan.

Students with Disabilities/Need of Accommodations for Access:

Winthrop University is committed to providing access to education.  If you have a condition which may adversely impact your ability to access academics and/or campus life, and you require specific accommodations to complete this course, contact the Office of Accessibility (OA) at 803-323-3290, or,,as early as possible to discuss your concerns.

Academic Success Center: Winthrop’s Academic Success Center is a free resource for all undergraduate students seeking to perform their best academically. The ASC offers a variety of personalized and structured resources that help students achieve academic excellence, such as virtual tutoring and academic coaching. The ASC is located on the first floor of Dinkins, Suite 106.  Please contact the ASC at 803-323-3929 or For more information on ASC services, please visit

To utilize ASC Peer Tutoring during the 2020-2021 semester, students must enroll in and complete the Tutee Seminar on Blackboard. A two minute video on how to enroll so can be found on the bottom of the webpage. Upon completing the Tutee Seminar, students can register for up to two ASC Peer Tutors each semester via Tutor Trac ( ). Students who experience any difficulty with the registration process can contact the ASC at 803-323-3929 or


***This document may be adjusted as needed during the semester. The student is responsible for being aware of any changes and so should check the department website,, regularly for changes to this syllabus.

This is a tentative schedule and will be revised as needed.


Text Section/Topics

Lecture Videos

For captions, select the gear icon (settings), then subtitles, and English

(You may need to right click and open in a new window, depending on your browser settings)

Lecture Presentations
(in OpenOffice and Powerpoint formats)




Ch. 1, ppt


Ch1-Significant Figures
Ch1-Sig. Figs. Examples



Ch1-Conversions Examples


Ch1-Conversions Examples


Exam 1



Ch2-Isotopes Examples
Ch2-Isotopes and Avg. Mass

Ch. 2, ppt




Ch2-Molar Mass
Ch2-Moles Examples


Ch2-Empirical Formulas
Ch2-Diatomic Molecules


Exam 2



Ch3-EM radiation
Ch3-Quantum numbers

Ch. 3, ppt


Ch3-Electronic configuration
Ch3-El conf examples
Ch3-Other notation examples


Ch3-Periodic Table
Ch3-Periodic Trends
Ch3-Per. Trend examples



Ch4-Bonding Introduction
Ch4-Ionic nomenclature

Ch. 4, ppt


Ch4-Covalent compounds
Ch4-Polyatomic ions
Ch4-Ionic cpds examples
Ch4-Covalent cpds examples
Ch4-Polar bonds


Ch4-Lewis structures
Ch4-Lewis structure examples


Ch4-Formal charges
Ch4-Formal charges examples


Ch4-Molecular geometry
Ch4-Molecular geometry examples
Ch4-Molecular polarity


Exam 3


Spring Break


Last day to w/d full semester course


Ch6-Empirical Formulas
Ch7-Balancing reactions

Ch. 6, ppt


Ch7-Types of Reactions
Ch7-Types of Reactions examples

Ch. 7, ppt


Ch7-Net Ionic/Precipitation examples


Ch7-Stoichiometry examples


Ch7-Limiting Reactants examples
Ch7-percent yield


Exam 4



Ch9-Specific heat

Ch. 9, ppt



Ch10-Heating curve
Ch10-Phase Transitions

Ch. 10, ppt


Exam 5





11:30 AM in
SIMS 111