My AP Chemistry Summer Assignment

In the online AP Chemistry teacher community, the assigning of summer work is a bit of a controversial topic. Some adamantly opposed, some saying it’s necessary, some using it as a way to weed out students who won’t do the work.

Since I started teaching AP Chemistry 6 years ago, I’ve given summer work each year, and I think I’ve improved it each time. At this point, I have my own videos, my own problems, my own answer keys. I also think I’ve struck a good balance of making the assignment manageable for students. Do some chem this summer, but still enjoy your summer!

In the revising of these assignments, I’ve always held these things to be true:

  • I will not assign busy work. I don’t want to waste my students’ precious summer time.
  • The summer work should be relevant to their success in the class and on the AP Chemistry exam. The work needs to reinforce some basics of first-year Chemistry as well as push them to learn some new things.
  • They need to receive timely feedback on their work. Without this, the summer work may reinforce misconceptions and work against their understanding of chemistry.

The focus of my summer assignment is really on two things: stoichiometry and ways to represent reactions (specifically net ionic equations and particulate diagrams). Particulate diagrams are pretty heavily emphasized on the AP Chemistry exam, and I think this is overall a good thing. I’ve also found that students who really struggle throughout the year come in with deficits in math and stoichiometry.

My students have four separate due dates, one for each assignment. Upon submission, I give them typed feedback and require them to redo problems they’ve missed. I also (starting this year) will have some summer office hours for them to come get help if needed.

Anyway, here are the assignments!

Assignment 1 – Solutions: Molarity, Solution Stoich, and Dilutions

Guided notes and practice problems

I just added this section this year. My students tend to struggle with solution stoichiometry more than other stoich conversions, and they’ve never done dilutions, so this felt like a needed addition.

Assignment 2 – Representations of Reactions

Guided notes and practice problems

Particulate diagrams and net ionic equations. In this assignment, I’m focusing on what is really happening during a reaction. Get rid of those spectators!

Assignment 3 – Stoichiometry

Guided notes and practice problems

In the first video, I talk through all the possible conversions. In the second, I do three example problems. With the exception of moles of reaction and heat of reaction, everything here is review from first-year Chemistry, but it’s definitely content everyone needs more practice in.

Assignment 4 – Limiting Reactants and Solution Stoichiometry

Guided notes and practice problems

This is usually all new content for my students. We start the year with practice from all of these assignments, but I try to focus on limiting reactant a bit, since it’s new and pretty challenging at first.

If you teach AP Chemistry, feel free to use any and all of this assignment!

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