Studying how atoms interact with each other make molecules can seem tedious and not very interesting until one realizes that these arrangements can be very specific.

For example, if one takes any one of the amino acids which are necessary to the making of the muscles of our bodies and re-arranges the atoms slightly while keeping each one bonded to the same original atoms, a different amino acid is formed which cannot be used in building muscles. On the other hand, if pharmacologists add a small group of atoms, say a methyl group, to a complicated multi-atom drug, it can be made more effective or less effective.

Molecules and their atoms also interact during chemical reactions to form new compounds or to do some kind of work.

This one-semester course will attempt to address these interactions of atoms.  The models that make up our study of chemistry involve mathematical formulations and thus basic algebra will be a necessary tool.

Let's begin this interesting journey together. 


Dr. Richard L. Bowman

Dr. Richard L Bowman received his PhD degree from Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA, in biophysics (and biochemistry) in 1979. He is now the A. Leroy and Wanda H. Baker Professor of Science, Emeritus, at Bridgewater College (Bridgewater, VA, USA) after retiring in 2012 from teaching physics at Bridgewater for 26 years.

His research has included using light from a synchrotron to probe the structure of molecules. He has also published papers and given talks in iterative function system fractals, evaluating random number generators, web-based science simulations, and other topics related to pedagogy and teaching.

To contact Dr. Bowman, use the form at the bottom of this page, send him an email at, or talk with him before or after class.


During this course, students will learn:

1. the history and development of chemistry as a science;

2. to understand the philosophy, methods, scope and limitations of science as a means of studying our physical world;

3. how data collection and analysis are used to create models that describe the characteristics and interactions of substances in our physical world;

4. the basic ideas behind writing chemical formulas to represent how atoms go together in molecules;

5. how to write and balance equations representing chemical reactions;

6. the main concepts going into our models (both historical and current) of the atom including the Bohr and quantum mechanical models;

7. the basic ideas involved with our understanding of light and electromagnetic spectra;

8. how the behavior of acids, bases and salts in aqueous solutions can be modeled ;

9. about the states of matter and how energy is involved in the transformations between states;

10. about chemical reactions in terms of their energy needed and/or relaeased

11. the characteristics that describe fluid behavior and flow;

12. some aspects of more advanced topics such as organic chemistry, biochemistry and nuclear chemistry.

In other words, this course will present a basic overview of what we know, what we guess, and what we don't know about atoms and molecules

Since mathematics is the language of the physical sciences (including chemistry), this course will use general arithmetic, some algebra and some geometry as tools for most of what we do.


The textbook used in this class is an e-books in pdf format and available for download.

Baxter, Wade. CK-12 Chemistry - Intermediate, 2016. (from the server for this course)

Calbreath, Donald. CK-12 Chemistry - Intermediate Workbook, 2015. (from the server for this course)

This textbook and workbook are freely available under the "Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC) License."


The topics listed here are the basic ones we will cover during this course. However, some adjustments will be made as the quarters goes by due to the needs and interests of the students and the teacher.

Week 1: What Is Science? What is Chemistry? Measuring. Matter and physical and .chemical changes
Week 2: Matter and Energy; Light
Week 3: Theories of the Atom: The Bohr Model & the Quantum Mechanical Model
Week 4: Electron Configuration of Atoms; the Periodic Table; Chemical Periodicity
Week 5: Ionic Bonds and Formulas
Week 6: Covalent Bonds and Formulas
Week 7: The Mole Concept; Chemical Reactions
Week 8: Stoichiometry
Week 9: Review of First Quarter Material
Week 10: The Behavior of Gases
Week 11: Condensed Phases: Solids and Liquids; Solutions and Their Behavior
Week 12: Chemical Kinetics
Week 13: Chemical Equilibrium
Week 14: Acids and Bases; Neutralization
Week 15: Thermal Chemistry
Week 16: Electrochemistry; Nuclear Chemistry
Week 17: Organic Chemistry
Week 18: Review of Second Quarter Material

Students will be informed of what pages relate to each topic as the class advances through the semester.


Class time will be devoted to various activities. There will be assigned readings, input from Dr. Bowman on a given topic followed or proceeded by some-hands-on student investigations (individually and in groups). In class problem solving and take-home assignments will aid in students learning the material. See the main course page for a active schedule of assignments and when they are due.


Students must obey the regulations already set out by Lezha Academic Center in the handbook given to the students.. In addition there are several policies that are emphasized below for our class.

  1. Attendance at all class activities is expected of each student. When sickness, special events, or emergencies make it impossible for a student to attend a class, then it is the responsibility of the student to notify Dr. Bowman  or other appropriate school officials as soon as possible. (This can either be by a call to the school or an email to Dr. Bowman.) This should be done prior to the time of the scheduled activity when the student knows of the event before it happens.
  2. Being present in class does not guarantee that a student will learn the material being presented. Active learning is very important. Students should take good notes in their notebooks, ask questions as appropriate, listen to all discuswsions, and participate in all of the hands-on activities and homework. Asking anyone else to do your work for you will not hale you to learn the concepts and techniques being presented and is actually cheating.
  3. Any report, homework, quiz or exam not turned in to Dr. Bowman will be given a grade of zero points.
  4. Missed quizzes cannot be made up and will also receive a score of zero except that excused absences described in #1 will not hurt or help a student's quiz score.
  5. Missed exams may be made up when given prior approval by Dr. Bowman or in cases of emergency. In an emergency or sickness, contact Dr. Bowman or other approved school officials as soon as possible.


The grade for each student will be computed using the following scale of weights.

  Each Quarter
Items Percentage of Total
Tests 30
Quizzes 15
Attendance/Participation  5
Classwork/Homework 20
Investigations/Projects 10
Final Exam 20
Total 100

In general there will be a test given every four weeks and a quiz in between tests. Precise dates of tests, quizzes, and all other assignments will be announced in class at least two class periods ahead of the due date. These deadlines will also be recorded on the main course page.

The final grade for the course will be the average of the grade for each quarter.


You may use the form below to contact Dr. Bowman. However, please be aware that due to the occasional unreliability of the Internet, your message may not get to him when you would like it to get there. You may also write to with an email message.

Your Name:

Your Email Address:
Confirm Email Address:

Your Questions or Other Comments:

By submitting your comment, you give permission for Dr. Bowman to respond to you via email. No other use of your name or email address will occur except to respond to any question you raised.