Week 1 – The Revised AP Curriculum & Exam

A good place to begin this online course is to get an overview of the changes taking place with the
revised AP chemistry curriculum and exam. I have thought long and hard about this and have boiled it
down to four main areas of change:
 The Course and Exam Description/AP Chemistry Curriculum Framework
 The New Exam Format
 Guided Inquiry Labs
 The New AP Audit
We will delve into each of these in more detail over the next few weeks, but here is a relatively brief
description of each component.
The Course and Exam Description/AP Chemistry Curriculum Framework
This is the main document that describes the new course.
The course is organized around six “Big Ideas”
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Structure of Matter
Properties of Matter
Chemical Reactions
Rates of Reactions
Thermodynamics
Equilibrium

Each of these Big Ideas is broken down to Enduring Understandings and Essential Knowledge.
Parallel to all of this are the Science Practices. Finally, a Science Practice is linked with Essential
Knowledge to form a Learning Objective. Whew. The Learning Objective is very important because
each question on the new AP exam will be linked to a Learning Objective.
This will begin to make more sense as you read through the Course and Exam Description.
Note: As you delve into this document, I have found Appendix: AP Chemistry Concepts at a
Glance (on page 90) to be very helpful. This condenses the ideas into a few pages and helps the reader
get a sense of the topics that make up each of the Big Ideas.
Embedded in the framework are Exclusion Statements. These are ideas that are “beyond the scope of
this course and the AP exam.” For each statement, a rationale is listed. Some of these ideas are
considered prior knowledge. Some ideas are too algorithmic. Some ideas are theoretically
controversial (such as sp3d and sp3d2 hybridization). The bottom line is that these are ideas that will
not be the basis of any AP questions. If you feel that some of them are important to your course, go
ahead and teach them. I certainly have some ideas I plan to keep in my course.
Much of this information is simply an attempt to communicate clearly the knowledge and skills that
make up AP chemistry. The philosophical shift is away from memorized facts and toward
understanding and analytical skills. Since I have always tried to help my students understand
chemistry rather than memorize a lot of random information, I don’t see my course really changing too
significantly. I plan to use more guided inquiry techniques to help my students build up their skills of
analysis and explaining ideas.

 Each part will still count as 50% of the score.  There will be no “Predicting Reactions” question on the exam.  No penalty for guessing on the multiple choice portion of the exam.  A periodic table AND an equation and constants sheet will be available. . Here is one set of definitions about four types of labs.  Each question only has four answer choices.  A table of Standard Reduction Potentials will not be included on the exam.The New Exam Format Probably the most obvious change is the shift in the AP chemistry exam format.. etc.  The first question will not necessarily be about equilibrium. graph. the task is set by the instructor or chosen by the class. An unknown may be analyzed in this type of lab. multiple choice and free response. Students may be given a limited set of chemicals or equipment to use. Others have been doing this type of lab for a long time.  One question will involve the development of a lab procedure. Different people have very different definitions for inquiry.  No calculator is allowed on the multiple choice portion of the exam. it is simply not inquiry. What is the same?  There will still be two parts to the exam. it will be included in the question. The problem is again defined by the instructor and a procedure is given. lab setup. Guided Inquiry Labs Some people are very concerned about the requirement for guided-inquiry labs. Guided Inquiry: (example: Designing a hand warmer) In this case. As you try the new AP chemistry practice exam. Limits are set on the possible procedures. and several questions about the stimulus. you will get a better feel for the structure of the exam. however. etc. The teacher states the problem and gives the procedure.  A periodic table and an equations and constants sheet will be available (the same as the one used on the multiple choice portion of the exam). The procedure is left up to the student.  The questions will be more analytical rather than recall of information.  There will be “question sets” consisting of a “stimulus” such as a diagram. The long questions will be similar to multi-part questions that have appeared since 2007. What is different in the Multiple Choice portion of the exam?  The multiple choice portion will only have 60 questions (instead of 75). This sort of lab is necessary to build up skills such as how to collect a gas. If such information is needed. measure quantities. Structured Inquiry: (example: Acid-Base Titration) This is a case where the outcome is not known. This is another place to build up laboratory skills. This is not bad. The short questions will be scored out of 4 points. the ability to write a balanced net ionic equation given the reactants will still be assessed in the exam. neutralize an acid. These will be scored out of 10 points.  There will be three “long questions” and four “short questions”. We have been told not to expect any released exams for a couple of years since the data will need to be collected to norm these exams. What is different in the Free Response portion of the exam?  The calculator may be used on the entire FRQ portion of the exam.    Confirmation: (example: Making an Ester) This is a lab where the outcome is known. however.

A simple learning cycle might include: Students explore an idea by doing a simple lab activity. you are supposed to perform at least 16 labs. six of which need to be guided inquiry. the better their grade on that portion of the lab. dependent variable. Finally. Open Inquiry: (example: Research) This is a very open-ended situation in which the student decides on the problem to explore and comes up with his/her own procedure. The closer the student come to 35 mL. Flinn scientific has posted some useful videos about the new curriculum. Students discover ideas (invent concepts) by stating a scientific problem to solve (independent variable. students apply what they have learned in a new situation. The College Board has published a lab manual with 16 guided inquiry labs. . During your AP course. You can choose six from the College Board lab manual or six from any other source. controlled variables) and sharing results with classmates. watching a demonstration. The teacher and students draw conclusions and learn the concepts. One idea is the “target lab”. The philosophical difference is that the student is more involved in the development of the procedure of the lab. This sort of lab would be a good application section of the learning cycle. Instead of having students perform a structured lab. Guided inquiry labs follow a “learning cycle”. You can download the password-protected teacher lab manual from AP Central. so each learning objective was matched up with a lab. Guided inquiry means that the student thinks more like a scientist. they are given a target. Hopefully this will lead to greater engagement and a deeper understanding of what occurred during the lab. or exploring a simulation. We will explore the lab manual during the summer as well as work at making a traditional lab more guided inquiry. There are 16 learning objectives that involve lab ideas. The password is: CBCHEM_LM2013# Several companies have developed lab kits that match each of these 16 labs. An example might be to calculate the amount of baking soda and vinegar needed to produce 35 mL of CO2 gas.

Assignment B: Now is the time for you to do your assignment. and had it approved. I have written my new syllabus. Writing the syllabus helped me understand the new curriculum. This sounds daunting. you can put these together and have about 90% of your syllabus completed. The College Board has provided some very useful tools to help with the writing of the Syllabus. (5 points) . concise. Make your handout complete. If you choose. everyone will be required to submit a new syllabus as part of the AP Audit. You are presented with four annotated sample syllabi. There is a Syllabus Development Tutorial to watch and the Syllabus Development Guide is very clearly written with examples to clarify each step. Visit the Assignment Link just below these Lecture Notes to submit your assignment. Some of the assignments for this summer workshop parallel the pieces of the syllabus. Use the information from reading the AP Chemistry Course Description and these lecture notes to create a handout that you can give your students describing the new AP Chemistry Exam.The New AP Audit Since everyone is now teaching a new course. but the process is actually quite easy. At the end of the summer. submitted it. and creative. Save the handout on your own computer and send me a copy in either Microsoft Word format or Rich Text Format. you can select one of those to use as your syllabus.