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Tigers at the Louvre

Grace Rousseau  

South High Chemistry


Contact Information

Office Hours

  • Monday and Thursday – 3:15 to 4:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday and Friday – 7:30 to 8:15 a.m.

Welcome to a new school year! Expect that students will be challenged to think in my classroom.  I will joke with the students that the answer is never 42, because the simple answer is never nearly enough.  In a world of change, especially in Science and Technology, what we ask of our students is:

  •  To think critically about what they have observed and the data they collect.  This means that they can identify patterns, evaluate the reasonableness and to chose among alternative means to collect data. 
  •  To express their ideas in both verbal and written communication.  The student can scientifically argue using both the data that they collected and the big ideas of science.  They can accurately display data, analyze and summarize text and evaluate the strength of an argument. 
  •  To connect what they have learned into a usable body of knowledge. The student can synthesize new information and use it effectively and appropriately. 

I really like teaching Chemistry because it is the foundation for many of my own interests.  These interests, whether it is cooking, art or the environment often provide the examples used in class.


Helpful advice

Ultimately, you are responsible for you own learning.  Help yourself by paying attention to the following details:

  1. Give a consistent and persistent effort – This includes, both what you are asked to do in class and what you choose to study outside of it.  Be aware of the sneaky assignments, for example the work that we started in class and that will need to be completed at home.
  2. Regular Attendance Is Vital To Your Success  - Arrive to class on time.  Class starts before the final bell rings.   If you are absent, it is your responsibility to find out what you missed and to make up assignments.  No work will be accepted for grading after one week.
  3. Be Prepared! -  Come to class prepared with the required materials.  Come with thoughtful questions about the homework. Reading ahead is required…
  4. Safety first - In a large class, it is easy to step on each other’s toes, both literally and physically.  Your actions can really have a life changing result in this class.  The general rule of thumb is to ask rather than assume.  
  5. You can do it, but two makes it better – If you try to do this on your own, wow!   For the rest of us, getting help from others is a fundamental ingredient in our learning.  Before school, after school… we will do it.  


Top 5 Reasons Why Students Fear Chemistry      

From Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

Chemistry is a subject many students prefer to avoid, even if they have an interest in science, because of its reputation for lowering grade point averages. However, it isn't as bad as it seems, especially if you avoid these common mistakes.

  • Procrastinating - Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow, right? Wrong! The first few days in a chemistry class may be very easy and could lull you into a false sense of security. Don't put off doing homework or studying until halfway through the class. Mastering chemistry requires you to build concept upon concept. If you miss the basics, you'll get yourself into trouble. Pace yourself. Set aside a small segment of time each day for chemistry. It will help you to gain long-term mastery. Don't cram.
  • Insufficient Math Preparation - Don't go into chemistry until you understand the basics of algebra. Geometry helps, too. You will need to be able to perform unit conversions. Expect to work chemistry problems on a daily basis. Don't rely too much on a calculator. Chemistry and physics use math as an essential tool.
  • Not Completely Understanding or Reading the Text - Yes, there are classes in which the text is optional or completely useless. This isn't one of those classes. Get the text. Read it! Ditto for any required lab manuals. Even if the lectures are fantastic, you'll need the book for the homework assignments. A study guide may be of limited use, but the basic text is a must-have.
  • Psyching Yourself Out - I think I can, I think I can... you have to have a positive attitude toward chemistry. If you truly believe you will fail you may be setting yourself up for a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you have prepared yourself for the class, you have to believe that you can be successful. Also, it's easier to study a topic you like than one you hate. Don't hate chemistry. Make your peace with it and master it.
  • Not Doing Your Own Work - Study guides and books with worked answers in the back are great, right? Yes, but only if you use them for help and not as an easy way to get your homework done. Don't let a book or classmates do your work for you. They won't be available during the tests, which will count for a big portion of your grade.