• Mr. David Smith


    Welcome to my page! I've been a fixture around SVHS, beginning my thirty-ninth year, and am a lifelong Berks County resident. I'm a graduate of Twin Valley High School and Alvernia College, now Alvernia University, (Dual BS in Chemistry and Secondary Education), being enrolled at Berks Campus, PSU for my freshman and sophomore terms. Midway in my education career I earned my Masters (MAT) degree from Marygrove College and have additionally completed a wide variety of coursework during my time at Schuylkill Valley. SV is a great school district, having a supportive community, great students, and a staff second to none. Chemistry and other areas of science are "my thing": I enjoy challenging my students to learn the intricacies of science while helping them better understand how the world and the universe works, exposing them to both theoretical ideas and hands-on experiences as well as how their world experiences relate to science and technology. Critical thinking is an important skill we hone in my classes. Additionally, I serve as SVHS's science department chair, the club advisor for SEGA (Student and Engineering Group of America) at Schuylkill Valley, and co-advisor for Science Olympiad.

    Personally, I enjoy spending quiet evenings at home with my wife and daughter, repairing things (and "picking" at local Goodwills/flea markets for items to refurbish or upcycle) and/or solving practical problems (both at school and at home-- I'm a "go to fixit guy"), and playing bass guitar professionally on occasional weekends with GNTB, my part-time avocation/occupation since 1970. Also, I am one of the members of my family's unofficial "animal rescue team"... we have a number of rescued/adopted pets (currently consisting of a "pride" of indoor cats) who worked their various ways into our home over the past fifteen years or so.

    Thanks for visiting my web page.

    Email: dsmith@schuylkillvalley.org

    Phone: 610-916-5503 / 610-926-1706 Extension 503

     

    Class Policies 2018-19

    Grading Policy:

                Quarter grades are based upon six basic categories:

    1.   Tests
    2.   Quizzes
    3.   Experiments/"Labs"/Reports
    4.   Homework
    5.   Reports 
    6.   Miscellaneous assignments

     

    A number of points are assigned for each activity completed; tests usually have thirty to sixty points associated with them; quizzes--ten to twenty-five points; experiments--fifteen to twenty points; homework--five to seven points. Research grades and miscellaneous assignments have varying values.

    Grades are determined by dividing the total number of grade points earned during a marking period by the total number of grade points possible for that quarter. There is no other weighting of grades in this system (test grades are not doubled, homework is not necessarily given a value of 50% of a quarter grade, etc.).

     A simple example follows: a student has earned 35 out of 45 points for a test, 20 out of 25 points for a quiz, 15 out of 15 points for homework, and a 9.0 out of 10.0 for an experiment. The grade would be determined by finding the total number of student points (35 + 20 + 15 + 9 = 79 student points) and dividing it by the total number of points possible (45 + 25 + 15 + 10 = 95 total possible points). The grade would be (79)/(95) = 83%

    Grades are calculated by use of SV’s Sapphire Computer Gradebook program and is recorded in its database. It is expected, a class requirement, that students monitor their grades regularly via this online gradebook. Students need to have access to the online gradebook, using the password supplied by S.V.

    Late assignments and makeup tests may be delayed in being posted online—please check with Mr. Smith about any “blank spaces” in the online gradebook.

    Chemistry is an elective, not required, course at SV. The “academic bar” is set higher than in required classes!

     

    Concerning Late Work: this is a copy of the information each student has been provided on the first day of school:

    "Tests and Quizzes: Make them up as soon as possible!!! Be responsible.

            Absences: Late tests and quizzes missed due to more than a half day's absence from school will be made up the day you return to school if you are absent the day of the test but were present for the review material (see below for clarification). Absences of less than half a day that cause you to miss a test or quiz must also be made up the next day you are present in school…be prepared! When you enter class request to make up the test/quiz. Such absences are not those caused by school activities.

        Tests are generally announced a minimum of two days before the test date; quizzes generally are announced one day before they are administered. You are responsible to have your notebook and any other review materials with you after a test date is announced. If you are absent the day before the test but returned to school the day of the exam you will take the exam along with your classmates. Feel free to contact Mr. Smith via dsmith@schuylkillvalley.org before 8 PM the day prior to the test date if you have any particular questions that you need to have answered. If you were absent for two or more days prior to the test date you have up to two days after the test date to make up the missed exam. No exceptions to this policy will be made: a zero grade will be automatically assigned for tests or quizzes not made up in the allotted time.

         Absences Due to School Activities: Late tests and quizzes missed due to absence from class because of school activities (clubs, field trips, prom decorating, early dismissals, athletic contests, sports, enrichment activities, etc.) must be made up the next day you are in class.

        Makeup tests/quizzes will be taken during activity periods (having priority over any activity / sports meetings) if an activity period fits within the time limits discussed above, study halls, before school, or class time. Your teacher may provide specialized makeup exams/quizzes and will do so for those students who are chronically absent on exam/quiz days.

       You are responsible for scheduling any makeup tests or quizzes with Mr. Smith: it is your responsibility, not that of your teacher. Make an appointment and please show up for it on time--if you are going to be late please notify Mr. Smith of this information and reschedule time for these responsibilities.

     

        Zero grades will be automatically be assigned if these tests or quizzes are not made up on time.

                Lab Reports:

         Lab reports submitted electronically via Google Classroom (the only place they may be submitted) are due one hour before the beginning of class and are considered late after this deadline. Lab reports submitted on paper are due at the beginning of the class period of the “due date” and are considered one day late after this time. Lab reports are due on their due dates—please be responsible! This is a group grade: all members of your laboratory group are penalized for late laboratory reports. It is well worth it to submit them on time, and absence does not excuse you from submitting reports on time (utilize the Google Suite of apps, share your work with your lab partners, and have them submit the report in Google Classroom if you are absent). You have the option of handing in individual lab reports based on your experiments, too, though the procedural work will be completed by lab groups. Be responsible to your lab group members and to yourself!

        Lab reports are due one week after you’ve completed an experiment, usually the day before you begin your next experiment.

    Homework:

     Homework is assigned on a regular basis and is an important part of this class. Homework is assigned on average of about three days a week, and students should review and edit their class notes when homework is not assigned. Homework is usually due the day after it is assigned; the homework is quickly checked at the beginning of class and then discussed in class. As it is with most activities you need to practice to gain and improve your skills; the same thing goes for your chemistry studies. If you are present the day the assignment is made and the day it is due a zero grade will be assigned if you did not complete the required work.

    If you have an assignment due the day of a field trip, athletic contest, enrichment activity or early dismissal that will cause you to be absent from class--it MUST be handed in by the day it’s due…you can place it in Mr. Smith’s office mailbox, slide it under his classroom door, fax it in to the school office (610-926-8341), scan it in and share it via Google Classroom or e-mail, send it to his e-mail address (as a pdf, jpeg, png, or pict file), or personally show it to him the day before you depart. If it’s not submitted on time as described above it’s zeroed.  

     Review the online Sapphire gradebook and/or Google Classroom for assignments that are due in the near future. Google Classroom's Announcements option is used periodically to post assignments not mentioned in class—you need to pay attention to its announcements/assignments and complete what you are asked to do on a daily basis. Additionally, check with Mr. Smith about any assignments that may be given the day of an absence. Be responsible.

    Absences: you have one day beyond the date you return to school to make up missing assignments if you miss class the day the homework was assigned.

          If you miss school the day the assignment was due but received the assignment before your absence it is due the day you return to school. Again, no exceptions will be given.

          Extended absences due to illness require specialized "make up work" plans...these are dealt with on an individual basis. Homework missed due to personal emergencies are also handled on an individual basis...please bring a note from a parent, guardian, and/or medical personnel documenting these to Mr. Smith's class when you arrive at school.

          Many of your assignments cannot be e-mailed home. Many are not text files, so they are very time consuming to e-mail. It’s a good idea to designate a classmate, sibling, etc. to obtain assignments and deliver them to you if you will be absent from class for more than a day. Usually you will have the majority of a chapter’s assignments posted in Google Classroom, so it’s likely you will have most homework assignments available. You may e-mail Mr. Smith for assignment information, utilizing his e-mail address, dsmith@schuylkillvalley.org.

    If you are going to miss school due to a personal vacation that has been authorized by SV administration you are responsible to obtain assignments before the vacation and submit the completed assignments within a few days (a maximum of three days) of your return to school. Other work may be assigned upon your return to school; this work is also due within the three-day limit. Any missed tests and quizzes must be made up within a week of your return to school.

     Utilize the online Sapphire Gradebook program to keep track of any missing assignments, tests, etc. It is assumed that you do so on a regular basis. This is a class requirement. It’s important that you utilize the online gradebook.

     

    Classroom Rules:

    1. Be on time for class. If you will be late, obtain a pass from your previous teacher, have your Panther Pass signed, have an e-mail sent to me by your previous teacher, etc. Names of tardy students are submitted to the Main Office. Also, be present for class: repeated and/or extended absences often negatively affect your grades...a good deal is learned simply by being in class.
    2. Be prepared for class. Have your notebook/Chromebook open and "ready to go" before class begins. If homework was assigned during the previous class, please have it on your desktop ready to be viewed for grading. The lack of proper materials will cost you grade points…bring with you what you need for class, such as writing instruments, a Chromebook or other electronic device, etc.
    3. Be respectful. Respect your peers as well as your teacher; you should not interfere with the learning processes of your classmates.
    4. Be safe. A science classroom is a safe place provided you work carefully and sensibly. We will talk about the specifics.
    5. Be prepared to learn. Listen and take notes during lecture periods. Ask questions when you do not understand something. Do not "hold back" on contributing to this class; we (including your teacher) all learn from each other in the chemistry classroom. Be willing to take "learning risks"; we all learn from our mistakes. Participate in classroom discussions, demonstrations, and collaborative learning experiences. Cooperate with others in the laboratory. Complete your assignments. All in all, be involved in this class as well as in your other classes: you only get out of a class what you put in to it. Make this class a worthwhile experience!
    6. Classroom Technology: Chromebooks have been issued to all students---these tools may be used when permitted by Mr. Smith during class time. Cell phones and other devices are not to be utilized in the chemistry classroom unless Mr. Smith has provided specific instructions for a particular class period. Put your cellphones away unless you are given verbal permission to use them in class, and there are times we will use them!
    7. Mr. Smith is not your printing service. Utilize the school library to print classroom documents, chapter organizers, lab reports and the like. Printing is your responsibility, not that of your teachers."  Please check with the high school principal, Mr. Mitchell, about SV's printing policy.

     

    Course Descriptions:

    I.  Chemistry Honors

    Prerequisites: Successful completion of Algebra I and meeting Honors requirements.

     Course Description: Chemistry Honors is focused on the study of matter: its structures, compositions, and changes. This course is strongly recommended for students who intend to continue their education beyond the high school level; it is organized for students who are considering careers requiring chemistry, such as engineering, medicine, medical technology, chemical technology, nursing, and/or the sciences and also for those who have an interest in science. Research reports and/or projects may be required. Problem solving skills are stressed in Chemistry Honors. The Chemistry Honors student is exposed to both the theory and the practical laboratory application involved in this discipline. This course is meant to provide a sound foundation for future scientific study as well as some of the uses of chemistry in every day life.

    Main topics covered or skills taught:

    Introduction to Chemistry: history, scientific method, chemistry as a science.

    Measurement: SI system, exponential notation, uncertainty in measurement, significant figures, precision and accuracy.

    Matter: definitions, classes of matter, chemical and physical changes/properties.

    Energy: definitions, classes of energy, introductory chemical thermodynamics, temperature, heat, calorimetry, kinetic theory, electrical charge, electricity.

    Atomic structure: history, atomic theory, major experimentation in developing atomic models (Bohr, Thomson, Rutherford, Bohr, Quantum-Mechanical), properties of subatomic particles, isotopes, atomic mass scale, mole concept, duality of electromagnetic energy, spectral, electron configuration, orbital notation, Lewis structures, valence electrons, radioactivity, half-lives.

    Periodic Table: history, vocabulary, group numbering systems, properties of metals vs. nonmetals, activity patterns, atomic radius, ionization energy, electron affinity, electronegativity, property prediction.

    Chemical Bonding: valence electrons, ionic bonds, formula units, properties of ionic compounds, Lewis representations of ionic compounds, covalent bonds, properties of covalent compounds, formulas of covalent compounds, diatomic elements, Lewis structures of covalent compounds, molecular geometry, polarities of bonds and molecules, polyatomic ions, metallic bonding, network covalent bonds.

    Chemical Composition: ions and their charges, formula determination, inorganic chemical nomenclature, formula (molecular) weights, percentage composition calculation, empirical formula calculation, molecular formula calculation.

    Chemical Equations: word and formula equations, equation balancing, identification of reaction types, predicting products, chemical stoichiometry.

    Gases: Boyles’ law, Charles’ Law, Avogadro’s law, ideal gas law, kinetic theory, gas stoichiometry.

    Solution Chemistry: solution types, solubility, heat of solution, Henry’s law, effect of pressure on solubility, affecting solution processes, concentration calculation, colligative properties, ionic solutions.

    Acids-Bases-Salts: identification of mineral vs. organic acids, acid-base theories (Arrhenius, Brönsted-Lowry, Lewis), properties of acids, bases, and salts, neutralization reactions, titration and other chemical analysis techniques.

    Methods of student evaluation: Students will be evaluated utilizing written examinations and quizzes, laboratory reports, homework assignments, classroom exercises, and research reports.

     

    II. Chemistry

    Prerequisites: Successful completion of Algebra I.

     Course Description: Chemistry is focused on the study of matter: its structures, compositions, and changes. This course is strongly recommended for students who intend to continue their education beyond the high school level; it is organized for students who are considering careers requiring chemistry, such as engineering, medical technology, chemical technology, nursing, and/or the sciences and also for those who have an interest in science. Problem solving skills are stressed in Chemistry. The Chemistry student is exposed to both the theory and the practical laboratory applications involved in this discipline. This course is meant to provide a sound foundation for future scientific study, the uses of chemistry in everyday life, and safe practices when handling chemicals inside and outside of the classroom.

    Main topics covered or skills taught: the course content parallels the Honors curriculum, varying the depth and complexity of discussions, classwork and assessments.

    Introduction to Chemistry: history, scientific method, chemistry as a science.

    Measurement: SI system, exponential notation, uncertainty in measurement, significant figures, precision and accuracy.

    Matter: definitions, classes of matter, chemical and physical changes/properties.

    Energy: definitions, classes of energy, introductory chemical thermodynamics, temperature, heat, calorimetry, kinetic theory, electrical charge, electricity.

    Atomic structure: history, atomic theory, major experimentation in developing atomic models (Bohr, Thomson, Rutherford, Bohr, Quantum-Mechanical), properties of subatomic particles, isotopes, atomic mass scale, mole concept, duality of electromagnetic energy, spectral, electron configuration, orbital notation, Lewis structures, valence electrons, radioactivity, half-lives.

    Periodic Table: history, vocabulary, group numbering systems, properties of metals vs. nonmetals, activity patterns, atomic radius, ionization energy, electron affinity, electronegativity, property prediction.

    Chemical Bonding: valence electrons, ionic bonds, formula units, properties of ionic compounds, Lewis representations of ionic compounds, covalent bonds, properties of covalent compounds, formulas of covalent compounds, diatomic elements, Lewis structures of covalent compounds, molecular geometry, polarities of bonds and molecules, polyatomic ions, metallic bonding, network covalent bonds.

    Chemical Composition: ions and their charges, formula determination, inorganic chemical nomenclature, formula (molecular) weights, percentage composition calculation, empirical formula calculation, molecular formula calculation.

    Chemical Equations: word and formula equations, equation balancing, identification of reaction types, predicting products, chemical stoichiometry.

    Gases: Boyles’ law, Charles’ Law, Avogadro’s law, ideal gas law, kinetic theory, gas stoichiometry.

    Solution Chemistry: solution types, solubility, heat of solution, Henry’s law, effect of pressure on solubility, affecting solution processes, concentration calculation, colligative properties, ionic solutions.

    Acids-Bases-Salts: identification of mineral vs. organic acids, acid-base theories (Arrhenius, Brönsted-Lowry, Lewis), properties of acids, bases, and salts, neutralization reactions, titration and other chemical analysis techniques.

    Methods of student evaluation: Students will be evaluated utilizing written examinations and quizzes, laboratory reports, homework assignments, classroom exercises, and research reports.