EdusalsaDiscover Your Stanford


Chemical Principles I

  • Not Offered

5 units

Letter or Credit/No Credit

31A is the first course in a two-quarter sequence designed to provide a robust foundation in key chemical principles for students with limited background in chemistry. The course engages students in group problem-solving activities throughout the class periods to deepen their ability to analyze and solve chemical problems. Students will also participate in weekly labs that will apply and expand upon class content. Due to social distancing guidelines, labs will be held over live Zoom. Students can opt-in to receive an at home lab kit that will allow them to conduct low-risk portions of the labs from their location. TAs will demonstrate and guide students through hands-on portions, as well as supplement with further in-depth video labs, virtual simulations, and problem solving practice. n31A will provide practice developing conceptual models that can explain qualitatively and quantitatively a wide range of chemical phenomena and will be immediately applied to real world challenges. Students practice dimensional analysis, stoichiometry, and molecular naming that enables them to write chemical reactions, quantify reaction yield, and calculate empirical and molecular formulas. Using these skills, students estimate carbon efficiency of fossil fuels and identify unknowns in forensic analysis. Stoichiometry is reinforced through study of gases and their properties, through which students calculate the pressure exerted on a deep-sea diver. Students examine atomic and molecular structure by quantifying interactions among nuclei, electrons, atoms and molecules and explain trends in reactivity, such as why potassium metal catches fire in water. They explore how these interactions determine the structures and properties of pure substances, mixtures, proteins, and even DNA using three conceptual models for bonding: Lewis Dot, VSEPR, and Molecular Orbital Theory. They investigate the types and amounts of energy changes that accompany these interactions, phase changes, and chemical reactions, such as measuring the caloric content of food and dissecting an instant hand warmer. By the end of the course, students will be prepared to explore chemical reactivity in greater depth in 31B. nAll students who are interested in taking general chemistry at Stanford must take the Autumn 2020 General Chemistry Placement Test before Autumn quarter begins, regardless of chemistry background. Students with no AP/IB background are given enrollment priority in the 31A/B sequence.



  • GER: DB-NatSci

Grade Distribution

Sign Up

To save CHEM 31A to your course bucketlist

Already Have An Account? Log In