The function of iself-assessed homework is not to inform me whether or not you have mastered the material in the chapter. It is to allow you to explore the basic concepts in preparation for the exams. What I expect to get out of the homework is an indication of whether you are working to master the concepts. For each problem set, you will choose seven problems whose answers appear in the back of Principles of Modern Chemistry.
Prior to working a problem you may study material from any textbook, class notes and may seek help from any student or chemistry professor provided that you inform them that this problem is to be worked for credit. You may not consult the answer in the textbook or any solution manual.
All your homework problems will be recorded in your notebook. Each problem should begin with a complete statement of the problem. Many times a student will be frustrated by a problem only to discover that he has miscopied or left out a crucial piece of information. You will work problems using only the right hand pages of the notebook.
When you are ready to work the problem, you will work it in the spirit of a take-home exam. You may consult the textbook but you may not confer with other students while working a homework problem for credit. You may use a slide-rule, a calculator with no numbers stored in memory, or a table of logarithms. You may also use the Data Section and inside covers of your textbook.
When you have finished working the problem, you should consult back of the book. Even if you got the right answer you will want to be sure that your solution is correct. You will write your corrections on the left hand pages facing each problem. Corrections are not simply the answers—they are complete reworkings of the problems arriving at the correct answers. If you worked the problem correctly, you should write “correct” on the left hand page.
When I grade your problem book, you will receive 1 point for each set of seven homework problems with their corrections. Either your original solution or your correction must arrive at the correct answer via a correct solution. You may continue to turn in a given homework set until it is complete and correct.
Homework problems provide you with the opportunity to test your knowledge while you are learning the material. The stakes are low at this stage—each set is worth only 1 point. It is possible, even easy, to short-circuit this process by half-heartedly working a problem, sitting quietly in the back during group discussions, and making superficial corrections. In this case, you cheat yourself out of the most important part of the problem—the part where you turn the problem over in your mind and try to put the pieces together. It is also possible to select easy problems or problems that are all alike. In this case you will be unprepared to work problems beyond your narrow focus. If you take it seriously, you will be able to judge what areas you understand and what areas need more work.
Problems should be chosen from the following chapters:
The function of graded homework is to inform me whether or not you have mastered the material in the chapter. You will get 1 point credit for each problem you work correctly, up to a maximum of 2 points per chapter. The format is the same as for self-assessed homework, except that you will work each problem on a right-hand page and I will correct it (if neccessary) on the facing left-hand page.
Problems should be chosen from the following: