David W. Ball, Cleveland State University
Copyright Year: 2011
ISBN 13: 9781453311073
Publisher: Saylor Foundation
Conditions of Use
I am looking for an introductory chemistry book for foundations material (prep chem) and was only interested in specific Chapters of this book and my review focuses on those chapters. The first few chapters would cover a majority of the topics... read more
I am looking for an introductory chemistry book for foundations material (prep chem) and was only interested in specific Chapters of this book and my review focuses on those chapters. The first few chapters would cover a majority of the topics needed in a prep chem class. It also has images, examples, and explanations as needed for most students. The rest of the text does include most topics covered in General Chemsitry.
There are some answers for in-text exercises, but not all of them. The book does not have table of contents, index, glossary, or appendix. For a prep chem class, not all of these may be needed if the necessary information is included within the chapters, however, a table of contents would be needed for my use as an OER.
The book's chapters I reviewed appeared to have accurate chemistry information.
The topics for a prep chem class are valid. It also included some good examples with answers and examples for students to practice; this is not always the case for OERs.
For the most part, the book was clear for terms of word choice (for my relevant chapters).
The book appeared consistent.
The book was broken up into sub-units for easier processing. The books also had many examples highlighted in color-coded boxes for easier recognition.
The logic of material within the chapter was, in general, clear and logical. The ordering of the chapters was conceptual then math, which I had not seen before, but was appropriate.
Without a table of contents, it took more time to scroll in order to identify relevancy for this OER. It would also be helpful to have Chapters or sections in the headings/footer while scrolling. Some of the images and proof of concepts were blurry and these may not be accessible for all students. Some of the tables extended onto more than 1 page, with the question on 1 and the answer on the other. This can make it difficult for some students to follow.
I didn't notice any grammar errors or inconsistencies.
No cultural insensitivity or offensiveness noted.
All the topics that you would expect to teach in an introductory chemistry course are covered appropriately except kinetics/reaction rates. However, there is no index or glossary. There’s also no good periodic table. read more
All the topics that you would expect to teach in an introductory chemistry course are covered appropriately except kinetics/reaction rates. However, there is no index or glossary. There’s also no good periodic table.
I found no major errors.
Chemistry at this level doesn’t change much over the decades. Some of the language is a little bit dated, for example using limiting reagent instead of limiting reactant. Also, the word “stoichiometry” often doesn’t appear in introductory texts anymore.
In the “Chemistry is Everywhere” boxes, it would be nice to see some examples from this century instead of describing events that took place in the 80’s or 90’s.
In chapter 3, there is a list of 56 “common” elements to be memorized including ones like tantalum and scandium. I think the list needs to be somewhat shorter, or some rationale should be presented as to why each element in the list is important.
I find this book to be very readable and written in simple language appropriate for beginning level students and English-language learners.
In the acids and bases chapter, the author flips between using H+ and H3O+. It's a small inconsistency, but can be annoying to introductory level students.
Each section of each chapter begins with learning objectives, has examples in the text, and ends with exercises.
In chapter 3, there is a list of monoatomic ions which the student is instructed to memorize. In chapter 9, you learn that atoms will form specific ions to satisfy the octet rule. At no point is the reader shown how to use the periodic table to determine the charge on an ion formed from a representative element.
The book could use an appendix with a good up-to-date periodic table, a list of elements and symbols, list of ions, etc.
The PDF version gets a 1 as equations don’t display properly and many figures don’t show up. The online version gets a 3. The equations are fine, but many figures are not visible.
I found no grammatical errors.
The examples seem chosen to be neutral – relating a historical event, like the explosion of the Hindenburg or describing a factual situation, like the varying thickness of old glass panes.
If it weren't for the problems with equations and figures not displaying correctly, I would use this book.
The coverage in most areas is appropriate for the level of student who would be using this text. A couple of things could be added: - The table of polyatomic ions in chapter 3 should add permanganate, hypochlorite, and chlorite. Those are... read more
The coverage in most areas is appropriate for the level of student who would be using this text.
A couple of things could be added:
- The table of polyatomic ions in chapter 3 should add permanganate, hypochlorite, and chlorite. Those are also fairly common ions that most other texts include.
- The halogens are described on the periodic table, but the locations of the alkali metals, alkaline earth metals, transition metals, noble gases, and rare earth metals should also be included. This is the first text I have seen that does not include them.
Some areas potentially cover more info than is needed for the intended audience:
- Quantum numbers are often not covered in books at this level – though I would accept that it is merely a matter of preference.
Page 182 – the example that refers to the Grand Canyon being formed because the rocks were dissolved is inaccurate. Wouldn’t the suspended material (silt, sand, larger rocks) have a much greater contribution to the canyon’s formation than anything related to the solubility of the rocks in water? The canyon formed because the Colorado River downcut through the rocks as the Colorado Plateau was being uplifted, from a geologic perspective.
Other than the aforementioned example above, I did not see any other issues with accuracy.
Fortunately, most of the topics in a book like this are not going to change anytime soon. The one exception would be the information given on the periodic tables in the book. The version being used could be made current, as it is missing the most recently named elements (since roughly 2010).
Topics are described clearly, and there are many references to figures and tables in order to better convey certain information. The text is written at a level appropriate for the intended audience. Photos and figures used in the text are generally well-designed and not blurry.
Chapters are set up in a very consistent framework, starting with an introduction before leading into the topics being covered. Wording and terminology are quite consistent throughout the text.
The structure is a bit choppy in the sense that the information is frequently interrupted by exercises. This is distracting to me as a reader, but it may also be a matter of preference.
Organization of the chapters is similar to other textbooks of this type. The instructor can cover the chapters in whichever order is desired.
I would suggest placing the answers to in-text questions to someplace other than immediately after the questions themselves. This does not seem conducive to student learning to have the answers on the same page as the questions.
There is no index, nor is there a table of contents. There is a lot of information in this book, which is good, but finding it is difficult at best.
The periodic table provided in Ch. 17 is highly distorted and very difficult to read. It also needs to be updated with elements that have been named in the last 10 years. The coloring on this table is good though, and helps to show different parts of the periodic table.
There are quite a few instances of when the text tries to refer to a specific figure or table, it instead shows a placeholder (the exercises on pages 504 and 505 are a good example of this).
Fonts are inconsistent throughout the text, and will change size or type multiple times on the same page.
Superscripts used for showing exponents or ionic charges are not consistently formatted. Sometimes they are correct, and other times they are not.
Many equations used to show how to do calculations look very blurry and could certainly be reformatted to look readable. Some formulas suffer from bad formatting (i.e. temperature conversions in chapter 2), so they end up giving a completely incorrect formula.
Tables (especially the one showing enthalpy values) need significant reformatting in order to be readable.
In short, if someone were to go through and systematically rewrite all formulas, tables, and equations, it would really improve the readability of the textbook.
I did not run across any errors in grammar.
I did not see any issues here.
Please note that this review is of the PDF version of this textbook. This could be a decent textbook for a one-semester course that introduces first-year, non-science majors to chemistry. It would not be appropriate for a higher level general chemistry course or one that is multiple semesters in length. If the issues I mentioned in the other parts of this review were addressed, I think this text would serve the intended audience well.
The text book covers more than necessary topics for an introductory chemistry as a prerequisite for General chemistry. The PDF version doesn’t include the table of contents. read more
The text book covers more than necessary topics for an introductory chemistry as a prerequisite for General chemistry. The PDF version doesn’t include the table of contents.
Content is accurate although there are some errors. For example, in 9.7 End-of-Chapter Material, the questions and answers are not matching.
Introductory chemistry hasn’t changed for years, although the real-life examples are up-to-date and can easily be changed.
Most of the topics have been clearly explained, there are some that might need to be explained better. For example in bond polarity table, 0.4 difference between electronegativities might be considered for either “slightly polar covalent” or “definitely polar covalent” bond. There are also questions about expanded octet Lewis structures, (question 9 in 9.7 End-of-Chapter Material), that can’t be answered by the information provided in the text book
The text book is following the same pattern in all chapters. Each chapter include learning objective, key takeaway, examples and exercises with answers.
The titles and subtitles in each chapter divided the text book in to small reading sections. Bookmarks in PDF version is not showing the titles. PDF abilities hasn’t been used to facilitate access to the chapters.
In most of the text book topics are presenting in reasonable order. Although not always. For example it makes more sense if polarity of the bonds and polarity of the molecules come after molecular shape. Also appendixes are missing and the last page periodic table, is cut to two pages.
The simple page design makes the text book easy to read. Although more illustrations can make the topic more attractive. In general, the text book doesn’t have enough pictures.
Not noticeable grammatical error.
Not culturally in sensitive or offensive in any way.
This text book covered most of the areas and subject for an introductory chemistry course and provide a great life-related examples on each topic. Topics on “Hund’s rule and electron diagram ” can be added to Chapter 8. Topics on “dipole moment... read more
This text book covered most of the areas and subject for an introductory chemistry course and provide a great life-related examples on each topic. Topics on “Hund’s rule and electron diagram ” can be added to Chapter 8. Topics on “dipole moment and triple bond ” in Chapter 9. Topics on “cycloalkanes” might be considered to be included in Chapter 16.
Majority of the content are correct. Here are some errors. 1) Some of those figures/Tables are refereed as "ball-chXX" or "ball-chXX_sXX" in the text. They should be corrected as Table XXX or Figure XX to prevent any confusion. 2) Chapter 12 Acid and Base, the text uses two single headed arrow in the hydrolysis of acetic acid. It should be one double head arrow. 3) Chapter 13. some of those charges for ions needed to be superscripted and the ionization of acetic acid and water need to subscript in their chemical formula. 4) Chapter 7 Example 10. The question listed the three reactions one after another. Those could be separated to avoid any confusion. No Figure 7.1 is given. 5) Chapter 2 page 50 337/217=1.552995391705069. 6) Chapter 8. page 401. There are some random stuff like " thes block" seems nothing to do with the content itself. 7) Chapter 15 page 725, Table 15.1 wrong alpha particle representation. 8) Starting from page 783 Chapter 16, the author omit the hydrogen to name the branched hydrocarbons. It will be better to include those hydrogens, since alkane is saturated hydrocarbons, not just carbon chains. 9) page 63. The process to convert 2.77 kg to mg did not include the correct conversion factor. Also one multi-step conversion is not given here. 10) Page 782. In the column of substituent formula, there should be a hypen after the alkyl group.
All the content is up-to-date. I like the way the author lay out each chapter, starting with interesting facts about chemistry, then subjects with examples and exercise, key takeaways, Chemistry is everywhere. End of chapter review, and comprehensive exercises. The text is written in the way easy to understand, which can be easily implemented.
The text is written in the language at the students' level with learning objectives. Here are some suggestions the author might consider. 1) Some of those learning of objectives could be more measurable (refer to Bloom's Taxonomy). 2) The key strategies (e.g. a table of all SI units in Chapter 2) The key strategies (e.g. List of rule of significant figures for calculation in Chapter 2, general formula to name compound for Chapter 3, and table of functional group and structures for Chapter 16 ) could be summarized separately. 3) In the solution of some example question (especially calculations), it will be helpful if the strategy could be provided. For example, list what information the students could get from question itself, and how they supposed to get to the answer. In calculation problem, students can get easily lost in where they put the values in an equation. It will benefit to sharpen students' thinking process.
Overall, the text is written in a consist manner and easy to follow. One minor thing is that the author bonded those key terms. However, not every key terms is bonded.
The content for each chapter is appropriately divided into sections. The only thing I notice is that one or two figures are two page after the original place where it is mentioned.
The topics are well-organized and clear to follow. Again, a strategy provided before the solution of some example question definitely help students think.
1) some of those element representation in Chapter 15 are blurry and need to be replaced with a clear image. 2) some captions for figures are running into the text, which could easily confuse student. Format with better contrast (may be more space between the two) should be considered.
only one typo on Page 811. “ Leaving a carboxylate anion.”
The text and examples or stories are inclusive.
I really enjoy reading those facts about chemistry is everywhere in our life. Each chapter starts with chemistry facts and end with interesting stories (range from manufacture, forensic chemistry, food science, engineer, physics, and water chemistry) to show why it is important to learn chemistry. It is exciting. The author also provide some tips for problem solving.
This text touches on most of the areas of chemistry that would be covered in a typical preparatory/introductory chemistry course. In most cases, these topics are covered in appropriate depth. A glaring exception is the periodic table – much of the... read more
This text touches on most of the areas of chemistry that would be covered in a typical preparatory/introductory chemistry course. In most cases, these topics are covered in appropriate depth. A glaring exception is the periodic table – much of the vocabulary chemists use to talk about the periodic table (such as periods, groups/families, main group, transition metals, alkali metals, etc.) is completely missing from this text.
The text does not include an index or a glossary – an index in particular would be very helpful.
In most cases the chemistry, which is by the nature of the text at a basic level, is accurate. There were a few places, however, where the author appears to be trying to simplify things for his introductory audience and this leads to imprecise language that I believe could be confusing to students. A few examples follow:
- In section 3.1, when first introducing atomic theory, the word “orbit” is used to describe the motion of electrons around the nucleus. Based on the Bohr model, this is a popular image of the atom - one which many students have been exposed to before taking chemistry. However, the quantum-mechanical atomic model (covered in section 8.2) tells us this is incorrect. As students often have difficult time letting go of the image of electrons in orbit around the nucleus, it would be better to use a different descriptor here rather than reinforcing an incorrect image.
- When introducing the octet rule in section 9.2, it is stated that “(f)or whatever reason, having eight electrons in a valence shell is a particularly energetically stable arrangement of electrons.” This hand-waving isn’t necessary to keep the discussion at an introductory level. Instead, it could be pointed out to students that eight electrons correspond to full orbitals in both the s and p sublevels, which corresponds with an electron configuration matching that of a noble gas.
- The opening essay for chapter 12 (Acids and Bases) includes a specious argument that bases are more “potentially dangerous” than acids, based on the difference in mass of the hydroxide and hydrogen ions. This argument is illustrated by comparing the hazards of household cleaners with the fact that many food contain acids. Comparing the concentrated bases found in some cleaners with the low concentrations of weak acids in foods sets the students up for lots of conceptual misunderstandings.
The science content of the text is up-to-date, and given that it is at an introductory level, won’t be changing anytime soon. The examples are written in such a way that though they are current, they are not trendy and should not seem quickly dated.
Ball writes in a clear, straightforward style, and he does a good job of defining vocabulary as it comes up. I believe students would find the text accessible, if dry.
A place where clarity could be improved is the figures. Many times, information is present in as text or as a table, when something more visual would have significantly more impact. For example, the charges of common ions are presented as a list. If this information were presented overlaid on the periodic table, it would be easy for students to notice that certain groups of elements share the same ionic charge.
Chapters are organized in a consistent manner, and I did not notice any inconsistencies in terminology.
The chapters of the text are divided into sections that would easily allow organization into short readings assignments. It would also be possible to only cover portions of a chapter, or to cover chapters out of order.
The material is organized in a “chemistry first” order, rather than an “atoms first” approach. There are certainly pros and cons to both approaches, and an instructor who wanted to cover material in an “atoms first” order could present the topics in that order.
Online text: somewhat functional, and basic. Many links did not work, including links into/out of the “Appendix: Periodic Table of the Elements” (this is particularly unfortunate since it is common to want to quickly open a periodic table).
PDF: A linked table of contents, and hyperlinks within the PDF, would both go a long way to the usability of the PDF.
Both editions contained references to figures that were not included. Additionally, the text would be greatly improved by the inclusion of an index.
There were a handful of grammar minor errors, such as an its/it’s substitution.
Though this is not generally applicable to this type of textbook, I can say there was nothing “insensitive or offensive” in the text.
There are enough small issues with this text that I do not think I would adopt it for a preparatory/introductory chemistry course. However, I could see myself using sections or chapters as reading assignments for a liberal-arts chemistry course – perhaps with minor modification, which is allowed by the CC license.
I think this book does a great job of covering almost every topic that you would expect to be taught in an introductory/preparatory chemistry class. It's missing any discussion of reaction rates though. There is no glossary or index and that is... read more
I think this book does a great job of covering almost every topic that you would expect to be taught in an introductory/preparatory chemistry class. It's missing any discussion of reaction rates though.
There is no glossary or index and that is a big drawback. Presumably, you would need to use the find feature of whatever viewing software you are using. This might be tough to do if you are a student reading the book on your phone.
Also, there is no good illustration of the periodic table. In the appendix, there is a nice one, but it is split in half over two pages. I've looked at all versions (HTML, PDF and docx) of the text, but there seems to be no way to view the two halves together as a whole. There is a link provided to a nice periodic table, however.
Another big drawback is that this book is missing the equivalent of the inside of the front and back covers typically found in a print version of a chemistry text. Besides the periodic table, you are likely to find a list of elements with their symbols, atomic numbers and atomic masses; a list of common monoatomic and polyatomic ions; a list of common acids and bases; a list of metric prefixes; a list of useful constants and conversion factors. It would be nice to collect these lists in an appendix so that you don't have to keep flipping through the book to find the information.
I also found the math background that was provided a bit inconsistent. Showing how to do conversions was well presented. However, in the section on the pH scale, it is assumed that the student is familiar with and understands what a logarithm is.
I found the book to be almost error free. There were a few typos, but they didn't seem to be serious.
Some of the terminology seems a little bit dated like "limiting reagent" instead of "limiting reactant," but otherwise the content is up-to-date.
This book is quite clearly written.
My only objection to the writing style is that the author assumes the student is comfortable with math which is often not true. He makes statements like "It should be a trivial task now to extend the calculations to.." when discussing stoichiometry calculations or "The calculations are not difficult to do.." when covering chemical equilibrium and then launching into the quadratic equation.
I did not notice any inconsistencies.
Every chapter is broken down into subsections. Each subsection ends with "Key Takeaways" which summarizes the main points of the subsection and Exercises with the answers to the odd numbered ones provided.
I agree that the topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion. The only change I would make is to present Chemical Equilibrium before Acids and Bases instead of after.
Reading the HTML version of the text, it was easy to go from subsection to subsection or from chapter to chapter. You can easily get back to the table of contents at any time and either choose a specific subsection to go to, or if you don't know exactly which subsection you want, you could choose the whole chapter.
You could also click on the mention of a figure in the text and you would be taken to that figure. This was usually not necessary as the the figure would be already on the page.
The PDF and docx versions are a mess, at least on my computer, a five-year-old Mac. In the early chapters, none of the equations display properly.
I found no grammatical errors.
One of the overarching themes of the book is that "chemistry is everywhere," so many examples are used that apply to real life. There are medical references, but I would have liked to have seen more, as many students taking this class are pursuing an allied medical profession. I also would have liked more environmental chemistry examples.
The topics listed in the Table of Contents are fairly typical of a textbook aimed at an Introductory Chemistry audience. Upon closer examination, these topics receive a surface-level treatment; this is not inappropriate for a one-semester "bridge"... read more
The topics listed in the Table of Contents are fairly typical of a textbook aimed at an Introductory Chemistry audience. Upon closer examination, these topics receive a surface-level treatment; this is not inappropriate for a one-semester "bridge" type course between high school and college-level chemistry. There is no index or glossary, so students would be forced to rely on the sequential organization of the book to find specific information.
This textbook is representative of a typical introductory chemistry textbook. There are only minor errors and oversimplifications in the text.
The content relies on longstanding, tried-and-true examples from the field. It will not lose its longevity, but students (and instructors) may find it difficult to connect to the relevance of chemistry to modern issues.
The text has clear explanations written in simple terms. It should be accessible to high school and early college-level students. The explanations are not always the most efficient possible, but neither are those of most chemistry textbooks!
The book entirely self-consistent.
The text is very sequential in nature, as chemistry is in general. It would be difficult for an instructor to use the chapters out of the order in which they are presented.
The logical progression through the book is typical of introductory chemistry textbooks.
The textbook is very sequential, and the formatting is very straightforward and easy to navigate. However, it does very little to grab the reader's attention.
The book has been edited for grammar and spelling. There were only a limited number of grammatical errors.
The textbook was designed around the premise that "Chemistry is Everywhere", but I don't feel that the case was made very well throughout. There is no culturally offensive content, but there were fewer connections to everyday life than I would have expected.
This book is a good start for an instructor who desires to adapt and develop her or his own supplementary material and examples to flesh out an introductory college-level course. It would readily replace the vast majority of textbooks sold by for-profit publishers in this market, and the effort required by the instructor to adapt the materials would well be worth the effort in terms of cost savings for her or his students.
Given the book's title (Introductory Chemistry), I would say that it successfully attempts to cover most topics which I would associate with an introductory chemistry course (but not a General Chemistry course). That is, it would be appropriate... read more
Given the book's title (Introductory Chemistry), I would say that it successfully attempts to cover most topics which I would associate with an introductory chemistry course (but not a General Chemistry course). That is, it would be appropriate for an introductory course geared toward non-science majors or for a chemistry course geared toward prospective science majors (i.e. college students who are majoring in science but have never taken a science course before). I reviewed the book with this in mind and primarily focused on Chapters 1 - 5 and 9, which cover topics often found in introductory courses.
I would add though that some topics are left out, notably kinetics. While this is appropriate for a very introductory course, it's not appropriate for a General Chemistry course. Further, topics like an Introduction to Organic Chemistry, (which was an included topic) ARE appropriate for a General Chemistry course but not for an introductory chemistry course. Overall, the book does an adequate job of covering topics needed for an introductory course but does a less than adequate job of covering topics needed for a General Chemistry course.
The sample problems and examples that I reviewed seemed generally accurate. However, examples used to explain concepts were not always well chosen and I would disagree with certain word choices the author used to explain concepts. For example, when explaining sig figs, the author seems to treat them as more of a convention that is arbitrary rather than as a practice grounded in scientific and mathematical principles. In other areas of the text, the author oversimplifies, such as when he explains the octet rule in chapter 9 and says "...for whatever reason, having eight electrons in a valence shell is a particularly energetically stable arrangement...." This is misleading - the reasons behind the octet rule can be explained using MO theory. It's perfectly acceptable (and more accurate) when introducing the octet rule to say instead that the reasons behind it aren't going to be explained at that time.
Well, it's a chemistry book...and the basic concepts taught in general or introductory chemistry haven't changed a ton in many decades now. That being said, I would give it good marks for longevity as the author attempts to introduce everyday examples of chemistry in the world around us - in ingredient labels, cooking, etc. This (hopefully) will make students more interested in the material in the long run. It suffers though, from not being a bit more interactive. Perhaps pairing it with YouTube videos, other CC materials or free resources would make it have more staying power.
In my view, the book has too many errors of grammar to be rated as having good clarity. It also has poor labeling of diagrams (i.e. Figure 4.3) and no consistent use of state symbols in chemical equations (i.e. first equation in section 4.6 among many others). It's very important to always use state symbols once they have been introduced.
I would even say that the sections are often out of order. For example, section 1.1 introduces the concept of chemistry as the study of matter and energy and their interaction. But then in section 1.2, the concept of science is introduced. The concept of science is more fundamental and should be introduced prior to or concurrent with the definition of chemistry. And how the author defines science is nebulous at best (c.f. his reasoning behind why political science isn't a science - it would be better to not use the example at all or to say that certain branches of political science involve the application of the scientific method to issues in politics).
Another confusing statement which demonstrates poor word choice is the statement in Chapter 3 that "Some elements exist as molecules." It would be much clearer, and much less confusing to new students to say something like "Some molecules are composed of only one element" or "Most elements aren't found in nature in atomic form."
I would give the book mediocre marks on consistency. I say this mainly because the book has very inconsistent use of state symbols in chemical equations. It does have good parallel structure in that it has similar structures for each chapter. And it has a similar tone throughout the book. But, it also suffers from a lack of sufficient examples and all the examples are of very similar format (i.e. one or maybe two examples and then practice problems). I think many of the concepts could be explained in more ways so that they would be accessible to a more diverse body of students.
i would give the book decent marks on modularity. The chapters are reasonably stand alone and tend to reference concepts which can be learned about from other sources (i.e. a normal textbook, ChemWiki, Khan Academy, etc.). The book does reference itself sometimes, but it doesn't seem to do this too much. I think there are particular concepts the author explains quite well and which could be pulled from the text for a lecture or course packet. His explanation of unit conversions is good as is his example of why coefficients in chemical equations can refer to atoms/molecules or to moles.
I commented some on this in my comments on clarity, but I would say the book would get mediocre marks for organization and flow. Even in chapter 1, the concept of chemistry is introduced explicitly before the concept of science, which strikes me as odd. Chapter 6 (Gases) seems out of place also - why discuss the theory of gases right after stoichiometry but before bonding (Chapter 9). It does make sense to put Nuclear Chemistry and Organic Chemistry at the end, but the order of Chapters 6 - 14 is odd to me.
I would give the book a mediocre score for interface. The graphics are not particularly engaging and, in certain cases they are poorly chosen (i.e. in Figure 4.2 it's difficult to tell a precipitate has formed). Also, when you click on the links in the text (in the online version) sometimes it snaps to slightly the wrong place. It should snap to a place where you can still see the title and caption of the Figure, and this isn't generally the case (i.e. Figure 4.1 link or many links in Chapter 3). Some links don't work i.e. Figure 1.2 Also, some figures don't have complete labeling or have confusing labeling (the label for the nucleus in Figure 3.1 could be confusing to new students).
I would say the grammar/word choice is mediocre to poor, as I have noted in some of the previous review sections. To give a further example, in chapter 1, when the author is defining matter, he says that air is "...thin..." This isn't a great word to use to describe air for a chemistry text. Also in chapter 1, the author, when attempting to describe chemical properties, uses the sentence "Burning is a chemical property." That's terrible sentence that doesn't make sense.
Well, it's a chemistry text, so this isn't as big of an issue and is more difficult to comment on. That being said, I suppose the book could try to incorporate more examples of women or minority chemists and their contributions. Or, in example problems make sure to use a wide array of names which (traditionally) represent men and women.
Overall, I would not use this book (as written) for a chemistry course I am teaching. But, I would make use of certain example problems and definitions that I think the author has done well. I think the author made a good effort to make a text which is accessible to introductory students but needed more consistency, editing and thought put into the final product.
Text covers all the main areas of general chemistry. However, there is lack of picutres in some topics so that students understand the concepts. read more
Text covers all the main areas of general chemistry. However, there is lack of picutres in some topics so that students understand the concepts.
Some expressions should be revised (i.e. superscripts and subscripts). Periodic table on page 101 and Table 3.3 on page 108 need to be updated and revised. Some illustrations and images are disproportionated. Some tables are blurry, specially when the equation editor is used.
Contents are up to date. However, reference to the most recent discoveries should be added in future revisions. For example, changes in the Periodic Table. Also, reference to the ACS should be included as an asset for good chemistry and jobs connections.
Readability is an issue in this text. Pictures and figures are in one page and the explanation stands in the next page. All chapters should begin in new pages. Key takeaways should include key concepts from the chapter, along with definitions. Learning objectives should be quantifiable. Avoid using "learn" or "know". At least, three objectives should be included per chapter or section.
Font size is not consistent. Other than that, the text is well written and uses the correct chemical vocabulary and terminology. Sections are brief which is good, they focus on little material allowing for studying to be easier for students.
The text book is perfect for non-majors and focus on the basic foundations of chemistry. Some challenging examples or exercises should be added to encourage classroom discussion.
Good organization and sequence of chapters. Topics are presented in a way any non-major student could understand.
Images should be proportionate to the size of the page. Some equations get blurry when size increases. The way images are presented should have more connection with the material explained.
The text is well written using standard English grammar.
Text is not culturally biased and of course, it has many examples that are relevant to any group and culture.
This book is intended for students who have never studied chemistry previously; it is not aimed at science majors in higher education. The topics are appropriate for the beginner in chemistry. Certain topics, such as kinetics, are not addressed... read more
This book is intended for students who have never studied chemistry previously; it is not aimed at science majors in higher education. The topics are appropriate for the beginner in chemistry. Certain topics, such as kinetics, are not addressed in any detail, but given the mathematical nature of that topic, the omission of kinetics is not surprising. By comparison, the well-known competing text written by John Hill, Chemistry for Changing Times, does not address either kinetics or equilibrium. The topics are reasonably comprehensive for the intended audience, but since the book lacks a table of contents and an index (and even lacks a title page!), elements of a book which are specifically mentioned for the criterion of comprehensiveness, three stars in this category seems appropriate.
There are a few minor problems. For example, the author chose a poor example for significant digits involving population (a counted number rather than a measured number), and the awkward statement “most naturally occurring elements exist as isotopes” is corrected later in the same chapter with “as a mixture of isotopes.” Furthermore, binary compounds in which the electronegativity difference of the two elements is 0.4 – 1.9 are described as “definitely polar covalent,” and by this measure sodium iodide would be “definitely polar covalent” rather than ionic. Figure 9.2, a periodic table, contains several errors (O is given as D, and the electronegativity of sulfur is incorrect). Some of these errors undoubtedly would not make it past the reviewers and editors of commercial texts. On the whole, however, the content is reasonably accurate.
The content is up-to-date and should not become obsolete soon. Updating the text, if deemed necessary in the future, should not prove difficult.
The writing is friendly and informal, perfectly appropriate for its audience and is certainly accessible to anyone of fifteen years of age or older. Orbital filling is explained well with figures (and words) in terms of the periodic table. The use of humor is appreciated: “most wine drinkers don’t like to chew their wine” (referring to the solubility of potassium hydrogen tartrate crystals in chapter 13).
No problems in this respect.
Each chapter is divided into multiple sections, and each section is structured with learning objective(s) and example(s). A “test yourself” problem(s) for the student follows each example. At the end of each section is a review called “key takeaways” related to the objective(s) and then a number of other practice exercises. This layout differs from many textbooks, in which several pages of practice exercises are typically given at the very end of the chapter rather than at the end of each section. Some will prefer a more conventional layout, but overall the structure of the chapters is consistent and very good.
The organization of the topics is similar to many other textbooks. No new ground is broken in this respect. In the preface the author states his reasoning for introducing the concept of chemical change earlier rather than later in the sequence of topics, and even though I prefer an "atoms first" approach, his opinion is at least as good as mine.
This is easily the worst aspect of the book. The formatting of special symbols, superscripts, and subscripts is extremely uneven and problematic. In addition, the representations of isotopes, with superscripted mass numbers and subscripted atomic numbers, often appear extremely fuzzy. Everything is readable but sometimes doesn’t look good at all. All of these problems can be fixed, at least in principle, if you have the time and patience, since the text is available in both Word and pdf versions and is easily modified. Another example of a formatting or an editing problem is obvious at the top of page 50, where the following example is given for significant figures: “take 337/217, you will get the following: 337” According to the text, twelve digits are supposed to be shown (1.552995392etc., not 337), but none of those digits were visible in the versions that I reviewed. Many, many problems with the formatting of equations and unit conversions can be found in Chapter 2 alone. One table in Chapter 7 is ridiculously poorly formatted. A depiction of the Bohr model of hydrogen (Figure 8.5) shows unequal spacing between successive orbits, but the spacing is backwards: the higher-numbered orbits are closer together than the lower-numbered orbits. Sometimes the symbol for “stoichiometrically equal to” appears as the symbol for trademark instead!
The grammar is fine.
The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive to me, but that is the perspective of an American who has spent less than 1% of his entire life outside the borders of the United States. Perhaps this criterion is more important for a chemistry textbook than I think it is. In any case, Ball’s text is no different in this respect than the dozens of other texts I have used in my career as a chemistry instructor.
Ball tries to stoke the reader’s interest in chemistry with the three essays found in nearly every chapter: the “opening essay,” “chemistry is everywhere,” and “food and drink app.” These essays are well done and should achieve his purpose with many readers.
The text contains fewer figures, diagrams, photos, etc., compared to most other current texts.
This is a text for introductory chemistry, but even so, no explanation is even attempted, however rudimentary, for some concepts. Two examples are (1) “ The rule for heterogeneous equilibria is as follows: Do not include the concentrations of pure solids and pure liquids in Keq expressions. Only partial pressures for gas-phase substances or concentrations in solutions are included in the expressions of equilibrium constants” and (2) “To determine the overall voltage of a particular voltaic cell, simply combine the voltages of the oxidation and reduction half reactions. Even if you need to take a multiple of a half reaction for the electrons to cancel, do not take the multiple of the E1/2.” In addition, the reader is led to believe that balancing an equation is done completely randomly rather than beginning with the element(s) which appear in only one substance on each side of the equation: “We do this [balancing an equation] one element at a time, going from one side of the reaction to the other, changing the number of molecules of a substance until all elements have the same number of atoms on each side . . . [a]lso, the convention is to use all whole numbers when balancing chemical equations. This sometimes makes us do a bit more “back and forth” work when balancing a chemical equation.”
I should start by making clear that I reviewed the text in hardcopy form. A quick check suggests that the hardcopy version, the pdf version and the docx are similar, or perhaps identical, but there may be differences between the versions that I... read more
I should start by making clear that I reviewed the text in hardcopy form. A quick check suggests that the hardcopy version, the pdf version and the docx are similar, or perhaps identical, but there may be differences between the versions that I have not noted. All comments from this point on in the review relate only to the hardcopy version I was sent. 1. All but one of the areas that I would expect to see are covered in the text. The one exception is kinetics, which appears in the majority of introductory chemistry courses in Canada, and all the introductory chemistry textbooks that I am familiar with. There's a good reason for this - it's an important topic! The omission of kinetics cannot be justified on grounds of difficulty: in my experience students find kinetics more straightforward and interesting than some other areas, such as thermochemistry. Nor is kinetics peripheral; it is central to both chemistry and related subjects such as biochemistry. I think it is a mistake to leave out kinetics, and though some instructors may adopt the text despite the lack of kinetics, and construct a course around the material that is there, others will feel the topic coverage is incomplete and look elsewhere for a text. 2. The coverage of remaining topics is satisfactory. The text as a whole is at a low level, and would not be well suited to anything other than a basic chemistry course at school, College or University. This would mean that it would not be chosen for many 1st year University courses that cater for students aiming to be science majors. Nevertheless, many institutions provide courses for students with almost no prior knowledge of chemistry, and this might prove to be a suitable text for such courses. 3. I was disappointed not to find a Chapter list. It would be a simple matter to prepare a 2-3 page list of chapters and section headings; this would provide an immediate indication of topic coverage. 4. Similarly, a glossary would be useful. A first iteration at a glossary could be prepared by selecting each term that has been introduced in bold face in the text and then either redefining it in the glossary, or even cutting and pasting the definition given in the text. Whether definitions are created afresh or merely copied from the text, a glossary should be added. 5. The lack of an index was disappointing, since, with neither an index nor a chapter list, it is difficult to quickly locate an earlier point in the text to check on previous topics. If the text is to be updated frequently, maintaining an index may be non-trivial. Were I using this text in my teaching, a properly maintained chapter list would be an adequate substitute for an index, but to have neither is a disadvantage.
There are numerous errors in the text, most of them minor typos, mistakes in the numbering of questions, or formatting problems; these should all be fairly trivial to correct. A list of those I've spotted with be sent separately. There are occasional factual errors, but these too should be quite straightforward to remedy. I was not aware of any bias in the text.
Almost all the material in the text is "old", well-established chemistry. There is little likelihood that this material will become dated in the near future. The main area in which obsolescence is a possibility is the use of examples from current life to illustrate chemical principles. It will be necessary occasionally to check that the material about additives in foods, as a typical example, is still up-to-date, but these nuggets of "real-life chemistry" form a small (and useful) portion of the whole, so checking and, if necessary, updating should not be too onerous.
The style adopted is appropriate throughout, providing a good balance between the need to define chemical principles accurately and the desirability of engaging students with a relaxed, slightly chatty approach. New terms are defined when introduced and most explanations are clear and lucid.
There are a few examples, noted in the list that I will supply separately, in which the structure of the discussion, or the use of a term, varies. However, the overall structure of the book itself is consistent and the number of occasions in which a term
In my view, the text is too "bitty", being broken into large numbers of small sections in which new topics are introduced and then immediately tested. On the face of it this use of very brief sections seems reasonable. However, I fear that students will learn one small piece of chemistry in just a few minutes, test themselves on it, conclude that they understand it and move on to the next topic at once. A degree of reflection is essential if one is to fully understand new material, and the format of this text does not encourage that reflection sufficiently. The approach chosen has a very short "horizon"; I believe there is a danger that the frequent exercises and problems may give students an unrealistic view of how well they have understood the material. This is a tricky issue. Students may find the approach attractive, since new topics are presented in such easily digested bites. I found the short sections very digestible, and I think students will too. I worry about how long the new knowledge will persist though. The author may argue that the end of chapter questions address this, bringing together questions that cover the whole chapter. However, including end of chapter problems does not improve learning, only shows the extent of it. Perhaps my unease is because I have never taught a course that depends upon a text in which new material is so rapidly followed by test-yourself questions. Most texts include plenty of examples of course, but a much smaller number of in-text problems. I'm afraid that I do not know of studies that have looked at this question of how the sections might best be divided, so my concerns may be unfounded. Some of the other reviewers may be more expert in this area and therefore better able to address this. The text is no more self-referential than any first year chemistry text. It would be hard to reorganise the sequence of individual sections of many chapters, since much of the material within a chapter flows logically from simple to more advanced. However, each chapter is largely self-contained, and it would be simple to adjust the order in which some of the chapters are used.
Apart from a small number of issues noted in my comments supplied separately, I thought the text was very clear.
In numerous places in the text a figure is referred to, but not present. Hyperlinks exist for some of these, but not all. There are also a few minor matters relating to images in the list of corrections to be submitted. Since I was using a hardcopy I had no navigation issues...
The number of grammatical errors is small, though the number of necessary corrections to the text arising from, for example, one word being run into another, is large. These corrections are noted on the list to be supplied separately.
No issues of note here.
I enjoyed reading this text; there is much to recommend it. The style is relaxed and chatty without being trite or unscientific, the examples and the questions are generally well-chosen, and the number of questions is more than enough for students to fully test their understanding. My reservations can be summed up as follows: 1. There are many corrections, nearly all of them minor, that should be made before the text is released to the academic community at large. 2. I am uneasy about the speed with which questions follow the introduction of a new topic. This may diminish the time students spend reflecting on a topic before they move onto new material. However, I presume that this style of text, with a high density of questions, has been tried in chemistry before and been found to work satisfactorily, despite my concerns. 3. The text starts at a very low level. Although it introduces a good range of fundamental topics - apart from kinetics, which should be added - it does not provide sufficient depth for many 1st year University courses. However, it be suitable for typical basic chemistry introductory courses, for which there is a considerable demand, both in Canada and in the USA.
This review originated in the BC Open Textbook Collection and is licensed under CC BY-ND.
In general this textbook has neither the breadth nor depth of content to satisfy the first year chemistry curriculum for B.Sc. student. The current version would be suitable for a massive online open courses (MOOC), high school, introductory... read more
In general this textbook has neither the breadth nor depth of content to satisfy the first year chemistry curriculum for B.Sc. student. The current version would be suitable for a massive online open courses (MOOC), high school, introductory college course for students who do not have Chem 11 or a non-science major. I would also like to point out that more content is better than less for a first-year chemistry textbook because it becomes a reference resource for students throughout their academic career. The current edition of the book contains several major flaws: a) the lack of conceptual problems and higher-level thinking problems b) lack of numeracy building and data interpretation/analysis practice and examples c) integrative problems, although this will always be one of the shortcomings to a modular approach --- which I urge the open textbook community to reconsider d) insufficient number and quality of diagrams/graphics f) contains numerous typos and mistakes. To make the content suitable for a first year chemistry course for B.Sc. students, it must include a chapter on kinetics and thermodynamics (not just thermochemistry) and must elaborate on chemical bonding and chemical equilibrium. For brevity, I list only the most desirable additions to make this book suitable for a, however, there are many more minor changes that would improve the quality of the book. Please contact me if you would like more details.
This book, at least the print version, suffers from numerous typos that cause both major and minor confusion. These must be fixed in order to be usable for any student. Particular attention needs to be paid towards superscripts and subscripts, and spacing because syntax is critical in chemistry. There are some errors in the accuracy of the content as well. Pg 62, the answer to 337/217 is not 337. Chapter 11, p 633 "Salting Pasta Cooking Water": I disagree with the omission of the van't Hoff factor in the solution because NaCl is an ionic solid which forms a strong electolyte in aqueous soluiton so must dissociate in order to dissolve in water. I think it is more appropriate to include the van't Hoff factor as an ideal value or estimate the value as somewhere between 1 and 2 (probably closer to the ideal value of 2) rather than ignoring the value. From a student point of view this is especially confusing because the "Salting Pasta Cooking Water" example directly preceeds a sample calculation in which the van't hoff factor is included for a NaCl solution of similar molality. Chapter 12: Sulfuric acid (H2SO4) is listed as a strong acid, but this is only true for the first deprotonantion and should be noted, especially because the hydrogen sulfate ion (HSO4-) and sulfate (SO42-) is discussed later in the book. Chapter 12: Definition of neutral as pH = 7 is not correct, it is only true when the temp is 25 degrees Celsius. Either includes a more correct definition (hydronium conc > hydroxide conc) or limit the definition to 25 degrees Celsius.
The quantum chemical view is Chemistry's most up-to-date understanding of atoms and molecules but this has been largely ignored in this book. I worry that this omission will leave students with an outdated, nineteenth century understanding of atoms and molecules.
The text is clearly written and accessible to students. In some places, it would be desirable to use more technical language because students are learning to become fluent and proficient with the terms and should see technical terminology used in the correct context as much as possible. For the students' benefit, some of the example solutions need to include more steps.
The most notable inconsistency is the use of a wedged shaped bond to represent a polarized bond. This is confusing because wedge bonds are usually reserved for representing bonds coming out of the plane in VSEPR model. Conventionally, delta symbols or arr
This text can be used modularly; however, I see this as a weakness. Modular treatment in textbooks lead to a compartmentalized understanding of the subject, which is undesirable.
The book needs a table of contents, index and glossary in the printed version.
The text version contains regular readability issues in the form of fuzzy text. There are also font size control issues in many instances. In a couple of instances, the html tags are present instead of formatted text. Paragraph and section spacing in the printed version could be improved to enhance organization and readability; for example, a section title that appears at the end of a page can be anchored to the section text so that it starts at the beginning of a new page.
It is sometimes not clear when a new paragraph begins. New paragraphs should be indented.
The examples that connect chemistry to the everyday experience are good. I would like to see a more global perspective by extending the context of these examples to concerns that are beyond North American boarders. There is also very little discussion of the environment. Regardless of the cultural context, this is a leading concern for our students and society, it is important that students make the connection between chemistry and the environment.
The book is text heavy and more diagrams would help to convey the ideas using a different mode, which would be useful for students who prefer pictures to words. The visuals in the book could be vastly improved in terms of appeal and quantity. Discussion of imperial units (ounces, feet, Fahrenheit etc.), which most Canadian students are unfamiliar with, should be omitted. This is especially true for the section on unit analysis in Chapter 2. The current version is a single, gigantic file which takes forever to download and open, even on a fast computer. To be useful the book needs to be divided into separate files – one for each chapter. The single file version allows the entire text to be searchable, but this takes a long time and often generates too many hits to be useful. In the Preface, the author tries to put chemistry in context for students by supporting the view that chemistry is the "central science", sandwiched between physics and biology. I feel this hierarchical view of the sciences is antiquated. A more modern understanding is that all the sciences and mathematics, indeed all academic disciplines, are interrelated, each discipline depending on knowledge from all other fields for inspiration and insight.
This review originated in the BC Open Textbook Collection and is licensed under CC BY-ND.
The textbook does not have a glossary, index or table of contents. This textbook is not in depth enough for science majors. However, it might suffice as a prep course for students that have never taken any highschool chemistry. In chapter 4,... read more
The textbook does not have a glossary, index or table of contents. This textbook is not in depth enough for science majors. However, it might suffice as a prep course for students that have never taken any highschool chemistry. In chapter 4, double replacement reactions are introduced. Yet only precipitation reactions are given as examples even though some of the exercises involve strong acids reacting with weakly basic salts. Arrhenius acid-base reactions are treated separately as neutralization reactions. Also, when single replacement and synthesis (combination) reactions are introduced no attempt was made to present them as examples of redox reactions. Redox reactions are treated separately at the end of chapter 4. Chapter 6 (Gases), is not in depth enough. Kinetic-molecular theory is completely left out. As a result, students will not learn anything about effusion/diffusion or non-ideal gases. Chapter 7 appears to cover basic thermochemistry fairly adequately. However, thermodynamics is not covered deeper anywhere in this textbook. In other words, students are not exposed to the Third Law of Thermodynamics and Gibbs' Free Energy. Chapter 8 (Electronic Structure) also is not in depth enough. The textbook treads very lightly on quantum mechanics. Thus, the student will never learn the contributions made by Einstein, De Broglie, Heisenberg or Schrodinger. There is a short paragraph on photon energies but no credit is given to Max Planck. In the section on periodic trends, the shielding effect and effective nuclear charge are not mentioned at all. Thus, students will get the false impression that actual nuclear charge and average distance of valence electrons from the nucleus (principal quantum number) are sufficient for explaining periodic trends. In Chapter 9 (Chemical Bonding), the concepts of formal charge and resonance stabilization are not discussed anywhere. In the section on molecular geometry, trigonal bipyramidal and octahedral geometries are left out altogether. Also, students are not even introduced to molecular polarity and dipole moments. The next chapter (Intermolecular Forces) briefly jumps into dipole-dipole forces but with few examples and little explanation. Likewise, very few examples are given to understand the relative strengths and nature of dispersion forces and hydrogen bonding. Chapter 13 (equilibrium) seems nearly in depth enough despite the fact that the textbook leaves out kinetics altogether. This chapter includes acid-base and solubility equilibria. However, buffers are only treated qualitatively. Also, the effect of strong acids on solubility of weakly basic salts is not discussed. Electro-chemistry was covered fairly adequately in this textbook although cell potential under non-standard conditions (Nernst Equation) was not covered at all. Standard cell potential also was not related to the thermodynamic equilibrium constant. In the section on electrolysis, there are no stoichiometric calculations involving charge. The final chapter (Organic Chemistry) covers organic nomenclature reasonably well. However, the IUPAC convention for naming of amines and ethers is not used. No mention is made of resonance stabilization of aromatic compounds. Elimination reactions are discussed very briefly. No other reactions appear to be discussed in this chapter.
In chapter 3, it is implied that all acids must be in aqueous state (so that H+ ions can be dissolved in water). This works for binary acids (such as hydrochloric acid) but not for oxy-acids such as sulfuric acid. The author does clarify that he will expand on the definition of acids and bases in chapter 12. Electron affinity (in chapter 8) has the opposite sign compared to the IUPAC definition, Lattice energy is not clearly defined in chapter 9 (chemical bonding). In some of the exercises in chapter 9, Lewis dot symbols are somewhat arbitrarily assigned to transition metals (e.g. pair of dots for iron). This is very confusing for students. For clarity, Lewis dot symbols should only be assigned to main group elements. The opening essay of chapter 12 (acids and bases) improperly explains the physiological danger of bases as only needing an H+ ion compared to acids needing an OH- ion. At the end of the chapter, the irritating effect of aspirin to the stomach lining due to its mild acidity is overstated.
The content appears to be up to date. The textbook is unified around the theme of food chemistry. From time to time, any new discoveries in relation to food chemistry could easily be updated.
The textbook is quite jargon free. At times, the author may have tried to simplify chemical terminology a little too much. For example, lattice energy is not clearly defined and is not placed in adequate context. Intermolecular forces are discussed only briefly not placed into adequate context either (especially in relation to dipole moment).
In chapter 4 (sec. 4.7, exercise 4), students are led to believe that fractions shouldn't be used to balance equations. However, in sec. 7.6, formation equations are balanced with fractional coefficients. Limiting reagent problems are not solved consist
The textbook appears to be well suited for being broken up into small reading sections and for the order of sections or chapters to be re-arranged. However, the sections sometimes appear to be broken up too much. For example, chapter 6 (gases) starts off by solving a lot of problems involving the simple gas laws. However, when ideal gas law is introduced in a later section, it is not related to the simple gas laws. Acids and bases are introduced before equilibrium. It is quite possible to move the material in the acid-base chapter to the middle of the chapter on equilibrium before the section on acid-base equilibria.
In chapter 3, the naming of ionic compounds (sec. 3.4) and non-ionic compounds (sec. 3.2) could have been covered in the same section. Common ionic charges could have been related to the group number in the periodic table rather than referring students to a later chapter and telling them to memorize these charges.
Tables are often spread over two or more pages. Formatting errors occur frequently throughout the textbook whichd will be thoroughly confusing for students. Here are some examples: Sec. 2.3 (Significant Figures) – Example 3 (pg.64) - Test Yourself: The diagram implies that the width is 0.61 cm rather than 0.63 cm. Exercise 1b, 2b (pg.71/72)– scales don't look very uniform. Sec.2.4 (pg.77) – shows "12 yd = 32 ft" when author meant "½ yd = 3/2 yd" Sec.2.4 also doesn't display the numerator in any the conversion factors. In example 12 (pg. 94), it gets even worse: not only are the fractions not displayed but the second part of the conversion formulas are left out off the solution. Section 3.1 has missing mass numbers in some problems. Many calculations throughout the textbook have inadequate spacing. At times, html tags show up. Some balanced equations are improperly formatted.
There are some occasional minor spelling errors.
There are no concerns here.
Non-SI units are not appropriate in a Canadian context. The bar, the IUPAC unit of pressure under standard conditions, is not mentioned anywhere in the textbook.
This review originated in the BC Open Textbook Collection and is licensed under CC BY-ND.
On the whole, this textbook reads at the high school level at best. Though most of the topics necessary in a first year chemistry course at the university level are covered, there is a lack of depth in explanations and concepts. With this being... read more
On the whole, this textbook reads at the high school level at best. Though most of the topics necessary in a first year chemistry course at the university level are covered, there is a lack of depth in explanations and concepts. With this being said, this text is far more suitable for students that are inexperienced in general chemistry and require the most basic of background information before entering the more detailed first year chemistry curriculum. The text does include a substantial number of figures that support the written text; however, the figures that are included are, for the most part, not visually striking and therefore may not support learning while assisting in maintaining student interest. The addition of a table of contents, index, and glossary is required in order to allow students to find specific information easily in the hard copy. Many first year students rely heavily on chemistry text glossaries to supplement their learning and studying as first year chemistry courses typically introduce students to a large number of terms and definitions they are not familiar with.
Other than the several typos throughout the text, the chemistry described throughout is tried, true, and accurate. Though diagrams support the text, they tend to lack visual appeal and sometimes appear unnecessary. There does not appear to be any bias in the text, though more discussion of SI units and less discussion on conversion of imperial units to metric units in Chapter 3 would be beneficial.
The content in this text consists of principles of chemistry that have been well accepted for a number of years and will likely remain so. With this being said there are some notable additions that are necessary for modern first year chemistry courses at the university level. The text explains VSEPR theory quite well while focusing on the Bohr model of the atom; however, Molecular orbital theory, the Quantum Mechanical model, and reaction rate kinetics are not discussed at all. Though these are more difficult topics for students at the first year level, they complement, and can even assist in student's abilities to understand many of the other topics discussed in this text, and thus should be included. Though the text spends a brief time discussing the calculation of pH, it does not discuss buffers in significant detail. It also does not introduce the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation so students will not learn how to easily calculate the pH of weak-acid buffers. As this is a topic that is utilized in many sub-disciplines of chemistry, it should also be included in more detail.
The text is written in a very clear manner. However, I feel it is overly concise and at times over simplified. Students in a first year chemistry course should be learning the technical information behind concepts as this information is going to be referred to for the rest of their careers. This text uses relatively lay terminology to describe concepts.
The text seems to be consistent throughout with no major issues to note.
On the surface this text appears to be ideal for modularity. The many small sections could be easily rearranged as needed to fit into a course as desired (and may actually be required in order to help material flow better) and these sections do not heavily reference other sections in the text. That being said, the end of section questions will not engage students in enough depth to truly test their understanding of the concepts at hand and instructors will likely wish to complement these sections with additional assignments or testing.
In addition to a lack of a table of contents, glossary, and index, the text has been arranged in a manner that may be undesirable for many instructors and could place student learning at a detriment if taught using the current order of chapters. Though the questions asked in the "Test Yourself" and "Exercises" sections are highly applicable, the answers are placed immediately after the question. This can be less conducive to student learning as many of these answers are on the same page as the question making completion of the question without looking at the answer very difficult. It may also be more conducive to student learning to introduce chemical bonding and states of matter early in the text. It is beneficial for students to understand these concepts before discussing other topics in greater detail. It may also be beneficial to move VSEPR theory and molecular geometry to later in the text as is can be more easily understood for many students after chemical bonding has been discussed in more detail. Additionally, it may be more desirable for some instructors to move the discussion on solutions and concentrations closer to the chapter covering the mole and stoichiometry while moving the section on Redox reactions to be included with the chapter on oxidation and reduction. Simply rearranging the order in which these chapters are discussed can easily accommodate these issues when using this text but will likely require additional planning and preparation on the part of the course instructor.
As a hard copy of this text was reviewed, the largest issue navigating the text stems from a lack of table of contents, which would be useful in quickly finding chapters of interest. Additionally, the hyper-links are obviously not of use in the hard copy, which becomes problematic when trying to view some of the figures that are hyperlinked to the text in the PDF version. In order to use these hyper-links, students/instructors appear to be required to sign into an online service in order to view the material, which is less than desirable for some individuals. This is in addition to multiple typos, including areas where html tags are still visible instead of the properly formatted text.
The text contains several grammatical errors including small sections with numerous html tags remaining in text or occasional sentences that end mid-sentence or with half of a word before moving to the next paragraph.
As this is a chemistry text and questions do not utilizes any cultural perspectives, there is nothing to note.
This text is easy to read but lacks a more technical perspective that first year chemistry students are expected to learn at the university level. Though the overall organization of the text may be less than desirable for some instructors, the fragmented organization can be easily pieced together through a more modular teaching approach. The text on the whole does not provide substantial depth or technical background in many of the topics discussed. Although it may not be appropriate for the first year university level, it does provide enough depth to supplement a general interest chemistry course or an adult upgrading course for individuals seeking high school equivalency before entering university level coursework. Additionally, the discussion on conversion of imperial units to metric units in Chapter 3 is not relevant in Canada and is not often seen in other chemistry texts used in Canadian universities.
This review originated in the BC Open Textbook Collection and is licensed under CC BY-ND.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: What Is Chemistry?
- Chapter 2: Measurements
- Chapter 3: Atoms, Molecules, and Ions
- Chapter 4: Chemical Reactions and Equations
- Chapter 5: Stoichiometry and the Mole
- Chapter 6: Gases
- Chapter 7: Energy and Chemistry
- Chapter 8: Electronic Structure
- Chapter 9: Chemical Bonds
- Chapter 10: Solids and Liquids
- Chapter 11: Solutions
- Chapter 12: Acids and Bases
- Chapter 13: Chemical Equilibrium
- Chapter 14: Oxidation and Reduction
- Chapter 15: Nuclear Chemistry
- Chapter 16: Organic Chemistry
- Chapter 17: Appendix: Periodic Table of the Elements
About the Book
David W. Ball of Cleveland State University brings his new survey of general chemistry text, Introductory Chemistry, to the market with a fresh theme that will be sure to hold student interest: "Chemistry is Everywhere." Introductory Chemistry is intended for a one-semester introductory or preparatory chemistry course. Throughout the chapters, David presents two features that reinforce the theme of the textbook, that chemistry is everywhere.
The first is the boxed feature titled, appropriately, ”Chemistry is Everywhere“. This feature takes a topic of the chapter and demonstrates how this topic shows up in everyday life. In the introductory chapter, ”Chemistry is Everywhere“ focuses on the personal hygiene products that students may use every morning: toothpaste, soap, shampoo among others. These products are chemicals, aren't they? This book explores some of the chemical reactions like the ones that give students clean and healthy teeth, and shiny hair. This feature makes it clear to students that chemistry is, indeed, everywhere, and it will promote student retention in what is sometimes considered an intimidating course.
The second boxed feature focuses on chemistry that students likely indulge in every day: eating and drinking. In the ”Food and Drink App“, David discusses how the chemistry of the chapter applies to things that students eat and drink every day. Carbonated beverages depend on the behavior of gases, foods contain acids and bases, and everyone actually eats certain rocks. (Yikes!) Cooking, eating, drinking, metabolism — all chemical processes students are involved with all the time.
These features allow students to see the things we interact with every day in a new light — as chemistry.
Just like many of the one-semester chemistry books you may be used to, each section in David Ball's starts with one or more Learning Objectives, which list the main points of the section. Each section ends with Key Takeaways, which are reviews of the main points of the section. Each chapter is full of examples to illustrate the key points of the materials, and each example is followed with a similar ”Test Yourself“ exercise to see if the student understands the concept. Each section ends with its own set of paired exercises to practice the material from that section, and each chapter ends with a section of ”Additional Exercises“ that are more challenging or require multiple steps or skills to answer.
David took the time to treat mathematical problems in Introductory Chemistry one of two ways, either as a conversion-factor problem or as a formula problem. David believes having two basic mathematical approaches (converting and formulas) allows the text to focus on the logic of the approach and not tricks or shortcuts; which speaks to the final point about Introductory Chemistry. You'll notice that David took no shortcuts with the material in this text, his inviting writing style, concise approach, consistent presentation, and interesting pedagogy have given it some of the best peer reviews we've seen at Flat World. So, order a desk copy or dive in now to see for yourself.
About the Contributors
Dr. David W. Ball is a professor of chemistry at Cleveland State University in Ohio. He earned his PhD from Rice University in Houston, Texas. His specialty is physical chemistry, which he teaches at the undergraduate and graduate levels. About 50 percent of his teaching is in general chemistry: chemistry for nonscience majors, GOB, and general chemistry for science and engineering majors. In addition to this text, he is the author of a math review book for general chemistry students, a physical chemistry textbook with accompanying student and instructor solutions manuals, and two books on spectroscopy (published by SPIE Press). He is coauthor of a general chemistry textbook (with Dan Reger and Scott Goode), whose third edition was published in January 2009. His publication list has over 180 items, roughly evenly distributed between research papers and articles of educational interest.