Chemistry from the Ground Up is the first textbook that we have published for the iPad through the iBookstore using Apple’s iBooks Author software. It is basically a tech demo to help us explore the viability of this new publishing platform.

The content of this textbook is loosely based on a unit developed by a group of middle school science teachers for the Holliston Public Schools. Working with David Ng, they created a 5-week chemistry unit that introduces students to the concepts of phase transitions, mixtures and pure substances, and solubility through a series of hands-on scientific investigations designed to ground student understanding in the fundamental behavior and interactions of atoms and molecules.

  1. Chapter 1: Particle Theory of Matter
    1. Conservation of Matter
    2. States of Matter
    3. Misconceptions About Temperature and State
    4. Molecular Attraction
    5. Molecular Speed Distribution
    6. The Liquid State
    7. Evaporation
    8. Condensation
    9. Dynamic Systems and Equilibrium
  2. Chapter 2: Properties of Matter
    1. Mass and Measurement
    2. Measuring Volume
    3. The Volume of Water and Alcohol
    4. Density and Pure Substances
    5. Temperature, Heat Transfer, and Thermal Equilibrium
    6. Intermolecular Forces and Potential Energy
    7. Boiling and the Heat of Vaporization
    8. Thermodynamics of Phase Transitions
    9. Characteristic Properties of Pure Substances
  3. Chapter 3: Atoms and Molecules
    1. Subatomic Particles and Atomic Structure
    2. Using the Periodic Table to Diagram Atoms
    3. Energy, Stability, and Probability
    4. Valence Electrons and Chemical Properties
    5. Forming Chemical Bonds
    6. Molecules and Compounds
    7. Chemical Reactions
    8. Physical and Chemical Change
    9. Catalysts and Basics of Biochemistry
  4. Chapter 4: Solubility
    1. Mixtures and Compounds
    2. Solutions and Measures of Solubility
    3. Factors Affecting Solubility
    4. Solubility of Polar and Nonpolar Molecules
    5. Colloids, Soaps, and Surfactants
    6. Acid-Base Equilibrium
    7. Cell Membranes and More Basics of Biochemistry

The textbook makes extensive use of simulations written in javascript and implemented through the <canvas> HTML element. All simulations and artwork are original. If you do not have access to an iPad, there is an online version of the textbook. The online version contains additional content not included in the iPad version.

As this is only a tech demo, we are releasing it for only $1.99 in Apple’s iBookStore. We do not see this as a standalone product, but as a supplementary resource for the chemistry unit developed in Holliston. Student learning in that unit relies on the innovative pedagogy behind its series of hands-on scientific investigations; that pedagogy is not captured in this textbook. However, if there is sufficient interest in this textbook, we would consider releasing a second edition with more learning activities.

textbook cover
  • evaporation
  • condensation
  • melting and boiling points
  • ionization energy
  • isopropyl alcohol
  • reaction energy
  • concentration
  • solubility
  • phospholipids
  • cell membranes