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Kyle Grice, DePaul University
Last seen: 14 hours 50 min ago
Joined: 07/22/2010 - 5:29pm

List of expected knowledge from previous classes

Hi All,

I was wondering, if you were to give your inorganic students a list of specific expected knowledge from previous classes that they would need for Inorganic, what would be on it?

I am considering providing something like this list o my class rather than go over previous class's topics while teaching inorganic. Some of my students are transfer students or non-traditional students taking a longer time to finish college. I might provide pencasts or recitation time outside of class to get students up to speed on these.  We require gen chem and organic prior to Inorganic so here is what I would provide my students: 

-Acid-Base theories (we covered this in both gen chem and organic)

-Electron pushing for acid-base reactions (both Bronsted and Lewis-Acid base) from organic

-Electron withdrawing and donating groups from organic

-Lewis dot structures and VSEPR

-Electron configurations

-Formal charges for organic and main group compounds

-Basic MO and Valence Bond Theory that we covered in gen chem and organic

-The basics of isomers and steroechemistry (it will help with symmetry and isomerism of complexes)


All of this is brainstorming at this point. What do you think of this idea?


Chip Nataro, Lafayette College
Last seen: 14 hours 24 min ago
Joined: 04/14/2008 - 9:10am

I think it would be a useful thing to do. I don't have the issue with transfers and non-traditional students you have, but I could certainly see the utility in having such a list available.

Kyle Grice, DePaul University
Last seen: 14 hours 50 min ago
Joined: 07/22/2010 - 5:29pm

Below is the text from the document. If anyone has any feedback that would be great.

I might also make a "pre-test" or online quiz/homewok on very basic gen chem stuff to see where they are. I am doing this because I only have a quarter for inorganic and I don't want to spend much time going over basic stuff. 


CHE320/321 Expected Background Knowledge


The prerequisites for CHE320/321 are the complete General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry sequences (both lecture and lab). Therefore, the information from those classes is expected knowledge for CHE320/321. We will revisit many of these topics, but we will not spend extensive class time going over basic information.


In particular, the following numbered concepts are important to remember:

If you need to review these concepts, I have included where to look for that information under each point. MFT is an abbreviation for our course textbook. Smith refers to the textbook currently used in Organic chemistry (Organic Chemistry, 4th Ed, by Janice Smith), and Tro refers to the textbook currently used in general chemistry (Chemistry: Structure and Properties, 1st Ed by Nivaldo Tro).


1) How to draw a proper Lewis structure and use VSEPR to find expected geometry

- MFT: Ch. 3, Smith: Ch. 1, Tro: Ch. 6


2) Be able to assign formal charges and oxidation states to atoms in main-group compounds.

- MFT: Ch. 3, Smith: Ch. 1 and 12, Tro: Ch. 6 and 9


3) Drawing and visualizing 3D species on a flat surface, including proper use of wedges and dashes.

-MFT: Ch. 3, Smith: Ch. 1, Tro: Ch. 6


4) Quantum numbers, orbital shapes, and electron configurations

-MFT: Ch. 2, Tro: Ch. 3 and 4


5) Acid and base theories (Arrhenius, Bronsted, Lewis).

-MFT: Ch. 6, Smith: Ch. 2, Tro: Ch. 17


6) Equilibria (including Le Chatlier’s Principle)

-Smith: Ch. 6, Tro: Ch. 16 and 18


7) Thermodynamics (Enthalpy vs. Entropy, predicting their values for reactions).

-Smith: Ch. 6, Tro: Ch. 15 and 19


8) Reaction Coordinate Diagrams and Kinetics.

-Smith: Ch. 5, Tro: Ch. 15


9) Electron arrow pushing for Nucleophile-Electrophile (Lewis Base-Lewis Acid) interactions

-Smith: Ch. 2


10) The identities and effects of electron-donating and electron-withdrawing groups                    

-Smith: Ch. 19


11) pKa values for protons on various functional groups

-Smith: Ch. 2 and pKa handout from CHE230


12) The behavior and reactivities of various functional groups

-Smith: Ch. 3 and individual functional group chapters         


13) Intermolecular forces and their effects on solubility (especially useful in CHE321)

-MFT: Ch 3, Smith: Ch. 3, Tro: Ch. 12


14) The basics of Valence Bond Theory (VBT) and Molecular Orbtial (MO) theory. We will cover MO theory in extensive depth in CHE320.

-Smith: Ch. 1, Tro: Ch. 7


15) How to read a scientific research article and write a lab report similar to a scientific article.

-This was covered in organic chemistry lab (CHE231/233/235)


16) NMR and IR spectroscopies and mass spectrometry

-This was covered in organic chemistry lab (CHE231/233/235). See also: Smith, Ch. 13 and 14. 

Ivana Bozidarevic, Basis Independent Silicon Valley
Last seen: 4 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 01/30/2015 - 4:55pm

I have given a pre-test for this class in the past, and sadly found out that most of the students couldn't properly draw and label all 5 d-orbitals when given 5 times two (unlabeled) axes to it. It doesn't seem like something you should emphesise as required previous knowledge, but it could be useful to put on the list.

Kyle Grice, DePaul University
Last seen: 14 hours 50 min ago
Joined: 07/22/2010 - 5:29pm

Hi Ivana,

That's actually on my first exam, but would be good to add to the list!