Welcome to IB Chemistry, Physics, and Honors Integrated Science! 
    Name: Dr. Robert J. Rafka

    Grade/Subjects: IB Chemistry 11 and 12, Physics, and Honors Integrated Science



    Topics We'll Cover in IB Chemistry

    Stoichiometric relationships

    1.1 Introduction to the particulate nature of matter and chemical changes

    1.2 The mole concept

    1.3 Reacting masses and volumes


    Atomic structure

    2.1 The nuclear atom

    2.2 Electron configuration



    3.1 Periodic table

    3.2 Periodic trends


    Chemical bonding and structure 

    4.1 Ionic bonding and structure

    4.2 Covalent bonding

    4.3 Covalent structures

    4.4 Intermolecular forces

    4.5 Metallic bonding



    5.1 Measuring energy changes

    5.2 Hess’s Law

    5.3 Bond enthalpies


    Chemical kinetics 

    6.1 Collision theory and rates of reaction



    7.1 Equilibrium


    Acids and bases

    8.1 Theories of acids and bases

    8.2 Properties of acids and bases

    8.3 The pH scale

    8.4 Strong and weak acids and bases

    8.5 Acid deposition


    Redox processes

    9.1 Oxidation and reduction

    9.2 Electrochemical cells


    Organic chemistry

    10.1 Fundamentals of organic chemistry

    10.2 Functional group chemistry


    Measurement and data processing

    11.1 Uncertainties and errors in measurement and results

    11.2 Graphical techniques

    11.3 Spectroscopic identification of organic compounds


    IB Chemistry Textbook

    We'll be using the Oxford IB Diploma Program Chemistry: Course Companion (2014) by Bylikin and Horner.


    Topics We'll Cover in Physics

    Students will learn the fundamentals of physics using numerous hands-on activities. 

    Semester one topics will focus on motion, forces, and energy.  In semester two, we'll explore sound, light, electricity, and magnetism. We'll conclude with a brief introduction to modern physics and the theories of Einstein and his contemporaries.

    Students will develop skills that are essential for scientific work including observation, problem solving, data manipulation, and reporting. 

    Class discussion of topics will be used to clarify concepts and facilitate additional experimentation.  Basic algebra will be used for both problem solving and data analysis. 

    This is a laboratory science course and problem solving skills we develop will be useful in future science courses at the college or university level.

    The textbook we'll be using is Conceptual Physics The High School Physics Program (2002) by Paul Hewitt. 


    Topics We'll Cover in Honors Integrated Science

    Integrated Science will follow the Earth and Space Science framework of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). To this end, students will continue to develop an understanding of the three disciplinary core ideas and performance expectations that NGSS has outlined. We will look to explain more in-depth phenomena central to the earth and space sciences, and how they relate to life and physical sciences. These performance expectations blend the core ideas of Earth and Space Science with scientific and engineering practices. Crosscutting concepts will support students in developing useable knowledge to explain these ideas across the science disciplines.

    Instructional strategies will be various types of inquiry based lab activities, traditional lecture/guided class discussions, cooperative and independent learning activities (projects), oral/power point presentations, and written reports.

    More information at: https://www.nextgenscience.org/


    Tentative Units:

    1. Introduction to science and basic chemistry review

                Includes fields of science, scientific method, graphing, experimentation, atoms, matter, atomic and mass numbers

         2.  Space systems

                Universe, solar system, stars, big bang theory

         3.  Earth’s history

                Rock cycle, plate tectonics, geologic time, biogeography and earth’s history

         4.  Earth systems

                Earth layers, hydrologic cycle, bio-geo-chemical cycles, positive and negative feedback loops, radioactive decay.

         5.  Weather and climate

                Global and local weather and climate, effects to humans, atmospheric pollution, atmosphere, and global climate change.

         6.  Human sustainability

                Energy, climate change, global and personal footprint, how humans use resources, and sustainability.


    *This is a new take on this course. The NGSS represents a major shift in science education and this class will be a work in progress as we begin to realign to this new framework.


    For all My Classes

    All course materials will be supplemented as often as possible with new material selected from the most-recent scientific literature including Chemical and Engineering News, Chemistry World, and Science


    Personal Responsibilities in All My Science Classes

    1. The school-wide phone policy will be STRICTLY enforced.
    2. Our class will be conducted on the basis of mutual respect; only one person speaks at a time.
    3. Homework and other assignments are to be turned in as soon as you arrive in class; homework is to be completed at home, not during class. 
    4. Arrive at integrated science class along with your homework, notebook, a folder with all appropriate class handouts (including past quizzes and tests), and a scientific calculator. 
    5. Plan to be seated when the bell rings.  Arriving in class after the bell will result in being marked tardy.
    6. Arriving at class 10 or more minutes late will be considered a cut.
    7. A pass is required to leave my class.  Don't leave without one. 
    8. Plan to stop at your locker, the drinking fountain, or the bathroom prior to class.  Once you've arrived, plan to stay until the period ends.
    9. There is a very direct correlation between time spent out of my classroom and a poor or even failing grade.  You miss out on valuable content when you're away from a presentation, a demonstration, or a lab. 
    10. Any project or lab report that requires printing must be printed prior to arrival in class.  Print at home or in the library before class.  Printers are not available in our classroom.
    11. Remain in your seat until you're dismissed.  Congregating at the door just before the bell rings is a sign of disrespect and won't be tolerated.
    12. Safety regulations will be strictly followed for all laboratory experiments.  Any student who violates the safety procedures will immediately stop working and will receive a failing grade for that assignment.  CT state law and OSHA regulations forbid food or drink in the laboratory classroom.  Water bottles with a secure cap are acceptable.



    Course material will often be presented via PowerPoint presentations.  Students are expected to take appropriate notes.  Frantically copying everything from each slide is impractical; students should strive to record and ultimately assimilate the key concepts.

    Many units will include in-class demonstrations and/or video presentations.  These activities are not provided for entertainment.  Students should expect one or more questions on each unit test that relate to what they've seen.



    Grades will be based on tests, quizzes, lab reports/projects, and homework/class work and computed on a total points basis.

    Each test and quiz will generally contain one extra credit problem.  Students should always make an attempt to solve these questions.  They're meant to be difficult, but far from impossible and they can really boost one's grade.

    One or two extra credit assignments may be announced each semester.  If your grade is on the fence, these can be very helpful in pushing you to the higher level.


    Late Assignments

    All assignments are expected to be completed on the due date assigned in class.  Late homework and labs will receive 10% off of the earned grade per day partial credit for a maximum of three days.  After three days, late homework will be 50% off the earned grade.   No credit will be given for homework assignments after graded work is handed back or after the unit test on the subject.


    Extra Help

    All laboratory-based science courses, regardless of the level, are inherently fast-paced.  Falling behind is frequently the result of a buildup of unanswered questions.  Students should schedule time with me, preferably by email (rrafka@groton.k12.ct.us), during period 3 (A-days), period 1 (B-days), during CTL, before, or immediately after school (excluding Tuesdays).


    I'm looking forward to a fun and exciting 2017-2018 school year! 


    Robert J. Rafka, Ph.D., FRSC

    Science Teacher

    Fitch High School 




     "Love of learning is the guide of life"- Phi Beta Kappa Motto