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A Natural Approach To Chemistry, 2nd Edition

A Natural Approach To Chemistry, 2nd Edition


The central premise of A Natural Approach To Chemistry is that chemistry is all around each of us, every day. Chemistry is us. We eat chemistry. We drink chemistry. Chemistry is the complex choreography of atoms and molecules that sustains life. Chemistry is both how we create the materials of human technology, and also how the natural world builds and renews itself.

A Natural Approach to Chemistry was written by Dr. Tom Hsu & Dr. Manos Chaniotakis who have a deep understanding of both learning and science.

A Natural Approach to Chemistry is an integrated, coordinated learning system that includes the following components:
• Student Textbook
• Laboratory Investigations Manual with 58 investigations
• Comprehensive Teacher's Guide for Student Book and Laboratory Investigations Manual
• Core Laboratory Materials Package that includes the Lab-Master system and other unique essential items

Each component is available as a separate item to create the greatest flexibility in providing what materials are needed for different teaching situations.

View a Sample A Natural Approach to Chemistry Student Book Selection or Sample Teacher Edition Selection.

Watch this overview view of the NAC program

For custom orders and state standards correlations, contact your state's Science Curriculum Sales Consultant.

Scope & Sequence

The approach is consistent with learning research that shows students need multiple exposures and varied contexts before they can effectively retain new knowledge and skills.

The text has three major parts:

Part 1 Chapters 1- 4: Fundamentals

The introductory chapters present a comprehensive overview of the main ideas in chemistry such as the atomic nature of matter, systems, temperature and energy. The design of Part 1 is to see the “big picture” before digging down to understand the details.

Chapter 1 The Science of Chemistry
Chapter 2 Matter and Atoms
Chapter 3 Temperature, Energy and Heat
Chapter 4 Physical and Chemical Change

Part 2 Chapters 5 - 14: Core Concepts

These chapters present in-depth coverage of all major topic areas. They develop a usable understanding of the big ideas laid out in the first four chapters. The treatment includes strong conceptual development as well as algebra-based quantitative problem solving.

Chapter 5 The Structure of the Atom
Chapter 6 Elements and the Periodic Table
Chapter 7 Bonding
Chapter 8 Compounds and Molecules
Chapter 9 Water and Solutions
Chapter 10 Chemical Reactions
Chapter 11 Stoichiometry
Chapter 12 Reaction Rates and Equilibrium
Chapter 13 Acids and Bases
Chapter 14 Gases

Part 3 Chapters 15 - 21: Applications

The final seven chapters provide extension and deeper exploration of significant areas of interest in chemistry.

Chapter 15 Electrochemistry
Chapter 16 Solids and Liquids
Chapter 17 Organic Chemistry
Chapter 18 The Chemistry of Living Systems
Chapter 19 The Chemistry of the Earth
Chapter 20 Nuclear Chemistry and Radioactivity
Chapter 21 The Chemistry of the Solar System


Extensive learning research since the 1960’s supports the conclusion that learning does not take place all at once, but occurs in stages that are part of a learning cycle. The cycle that begins with some kind of engagement experience in which the learner cognitively connects with the content being taught.

The learning experience is shaped through reflective and cognitive processes until it leads to real and retained learning. In 1989, Roger Bybee and colleagues suggested five steps that could serve as a model for developing instructional materials that explicitly made use of learning cycles. The five steps were called engage, explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate.

The 5E model is a proven, well-used, and successful curriculum design philosophy that has been used in more than 230,000 lesson plans in the past three decades. While there have been many refinements, the core idea is as powerful today as when it was first published.


Learning only occurs when the mind engages with ideas, observations, and questions. Engagement with a curriculum means providing interesting, paradoxical, or challenging content which ignites a student's interest, while simultaneously giving them a path to learn. For this reason, most chapters of A Natural Approach To Chemistry begin with an "A" investigation in which students get hands-on experience with one or two aspects of the chapter content without knowing what they will discover. This keeps curiosity as a motivating factor because the students do not know what is going to happen. The Teacher's Edition suggests that these investigations be taught before the student has formal exposure to the content through lessons or readings.

Within the reading, the second page of each chapter shows an unusual or paradoxical experiment - with photographs. To help you prepare engaging lessons, 120 fully-illustrated Microsoft PowerPoint lessons contain more than 3,000 slides covering all 21 chapters of the text and all 58 investigations from the Lab Investigations Manual. Each Microsoft PowerPoint begins with engagement questions that motivate the content. As experienced teachers, we know that effective lessons often begin with engaging elements that get students to focus on the task at hand.

Key Points

First Investigation ("A") in most chapters is specifically designed to be an engagement.

Each Microsoft PowerPoint begins with engagement questions.

Each chapter begins with both a short engaging reading and an interesting laboratory phenomenon.


The exploration phase of a lesson provides common, concrete experiences that students can discuss and share as they dig-in to a new concept. In a good exploration activity, students observe interesting aspects of a new idea, talk about them, and they may start suggesting ideas of their own.

✓58 investigations provide shared, concrete experiences involving every major area of chemistry knowledge and skills.

✓Stimulate student exploration of important aspects of a topic.

Students explore what they are interested in. By concentrating on the chemistry of the human body and the chemistry of the environment, examples throughout the text encourage exploration by making each new concept immediately relevant. This exploration is further developed through the investigations.


You have watched students try to explain something in their own words to you or another student. The very act of explaining to someone else is a crucial, and often necessary part of learning. Research confirms that until students can put a new idea correctly in their own words, they do not yet understand it.

Almost all of the Investigations in A Natural Approach To Chemistry provide opportunities for students to form and express explanations for real observations they make. In the text, more than 400 conceptual questions challenge students to apply the content of each chapter to explain something real that they might encounter in their lives, in the news, or even in movies.


New ideas begin in working memory, which is relatively short-term. To make the transition to long-term retention, the brain needs to connect new knowledge and skills to additional experiences and contextual knowledge. A Natural Approach To Chemistry provides many levels of elaboration both in hands-on investigations, in teacher support materials, and in the text.

End of chapter connections extend ideas to more contexts, skills and applications. Interdisciplinary investigations connect chemistry to other areas of science and also to every day life. Microsoft PowerPoint slides provide graphically compelling examples of how each concept plays out in realistic situations outside the classroom.


The traditional 5E model uses evaluate to mean assessment - has the idea really been learned and can it be applied? Self evaluation is particularly powerful since it often leads to more engagement.

✓ External evaluation in the form of homework, quizzes, and tests are also part of the equation.

✓ More than 1,500 conceptual questions and quantitative problems are provided in the text for each chapter.

✓ The ExamVIEW® test bank has more than 1200 questions and problems with BOTH multiple-choice and open response test banks for each chapter.

✓ Each investigation includes many formative assessments that provide multiple points of learning within each lesson.

There is another aspect to evaluation that is also important in A Natural Approach To Chemistry. At the top of Bloom's Taxonomy is the cognitive task of evaluation. Evaluation means using the new knowledge or skills to make a decision or compare one or more options.

We believe the practical value in knowing chemistry is that the knowledge can be used to evaluate situations and make rational decisions based on knowledge and data rather than on marketing propaganda or less reliable information. For example, chapter 10 introduces the principle of "atom economy" showing how a cleverly designed sequence of reactions reduces pollution in the chemical manufacturing of soda ash, a basic ingredient in making glass.

Instructional Strategies

Inquiry. Both the text and laboratory investigations of A Natural Approach to Chemistry follow a guided inquiry-based instructional strategy that gives students a direct experience with scientific processes and how they are related to natural phenomena. Every component of the program; experimental design, laboratory investigations, data collection and analysis, computer modeling and simulations and communication are instructional activities that are inquiry-based.

Use of Evidence. Observation and use of evidence is at the core of developing the scientific process. Materials give teachers and students the opportunity to develop and use scientific evidence as the major tool for developing the scientific process. The student text elaborates with specific examples of the use of evidence and how the evidence results from scientific experiments and observations.

Critical Thinking. In every laboratory investigation, the students are asked formative questions that focus on developing critical thinking skills. Students are asked to think critically about observations that they make and are required to design derivative experimental procedures that explore a different range of parameters. Critical thinking is further developed by asking students to put concepts together in order to explain a more challenging phenomenon, often with quantitative analysis using their own data.

Making Connections. Making science relevant to personal experiences is fundamental for the active engagement of students. A Natural Approach to Chemistry achieves this goal by first placing emphasis on the experiential component of the curriculum, then making direct connections between the various scientific concepts and real world applications.

By making these connections, NAC gives students the opportunity to craft arguments and define positions based on scientific evidence and principles. For example: when students learn about nuclear chemistry, they become familiar not only with the basic nuclear science but also with the implications that these scientific concepts have on their lives.

Communication. The strong emphasis that A Natural Approach to Chemistry places on laboratory investigations provides students with many opportunities to develop their oral and written communication skills. Each laboratory investigation requires a communication strategy. In doing the laboratories, students work collaboratively, communicate orally, listen to others, organize their information, build their arguments, and develop ways to present information and draw conclusions.

Differentiating Instruction

Differentiated instruction does not mean you have to tailor lessons for each student or even have something designed for each different learning style. Either option is hopelessly impractical. The important idea is that there be some student choice and that there be more than one way to learn each topic. Even a textbook-centered lesson can be differentiated effectively. For example, allow some students to listen to your lecture as usual, however, offer a choice that others can read the text as a group in another part of your classroom and discuss the review questions you choose. A third option might be for the students to make up a quiz or poster on the subject that addresses five or ten specific learning objectives you give them.

Students listened to your lecture about reactions - this is primary audiovisual learning and linguistic learners tend to respond well.

Students read about reactions in their textbook - also audiovisual and linguistic learning but better for the intrapersonal learners who like working alone.

Students investigated the concept of reactions - this involves a group and therefore appeals to intrapersonal learners and kinesthetic learning styles.

Students solved problems on chemical change on their own or in groups - this involves the logical/mathematical learners and intrapersonal learners. Group-work brings in the interpersonal learners.

Leave it up to the students to learn the content in any way they choose to do the project. Most will choose to listen to your excellent lecture, but just the act of choosing will make them more engaged than they would be if listening to your lecture was the only option.

Formative Assessment

Formative assessments have two critical and important functions:

1. They provide real-time feedback on understanding to both teacher and student, during the actual learning process so learning activities can be adjusted immediately.

2. They focus reflection and discussion on specific aspects of an experience to facilitate learning. Reflection is essential to real learning and without directed prompts, most students will “do” but not “think” enough about what they did to learn from it.

Formative assessments in A Natural Approach To Chemistry primarily appear in the Investigations. Notice there are two forms of lists in the investigations; numbered lists (1, 2, 3,...) and lettered lists (a, b, c,...). The numbered lists (1, 2, 3,...) are suggested procedural steps in the investigation. The lettered lists are formative assessments. They pose questions that are meant to stimulate group discussion, discussion with the teacher, and reflection on what has been observed. We know that reflection and group discussion are crucial steps in learning through investigation. The lettered questions (formative assessments) focus student thinking on what the investigation is telling them. Without reflection students might just play with chemistry and not necessarily learn the science.

A Natural Approach to Chemistry is a coordinated learning system that includes a text book, a laboratory manual with 58 investigations, an easy to use data collection and laboratory system which also includes a spectophotometer, temperature and voltage probes and an innocative controlled heater device. The device has data storage and communcates with any computer.

Student Book

Student Book

Very careful attention was paid to the design-for-readability of the text and other printed materials. The student book is over 700 pages and is presented in a hardbound format.

✓ Each chapter has its own icon which is always in the upper right corner of every right hand page.
✓ Every page is laid out the same way, with generous white space. The book is graphically uncluttered.
✓ There are more than 2,000 detailed, content-rich illustrations. These are not just pictures, but carefully drawn illustrations that teach the same ideas in the text but in a graphical way.
✓ Icons. The same vocabulary icon is used on every page, as is the solved problem icon.
✓ Vocabulary. The main words, phrases and concepts on each page are summarized on the page header, the side margin and the vocabulary box at the bottom of the page.
✓ One idea per page. Placed in the page header of every page.
✓ Paragraph headers. Every paragraph has the main idea in the left margin. This helps students skim and scan, and identifies what they are reading for.
✓ Solved problems. Every formula has a solved example problem immediately following, on the same page.

Lab Investigations Manual

Lab Investigations Manual

In the Engage component of the 5E Model, the introductory investigation lays the foundation for the content to be presented to the students. The second page of each chapter shows an unusual or paradoxical experiment - with photographs. More importantly, most chapters begin with an “A” investigation. The “A” investigation is designed to be the primary engagement activity for the content of the chapter. It is taught before the student has formal exposure to the content through lessons or readings. This keeps curiosity as a motivating factor because the students do not know what is going to happen.

In the development of each investigation, A Natural Approach To Chemistry starts out with the problem statement and system definition followed by pre-laboratory questions at various degrees of complexity. It then guides the students through the typical experiment and data collection. After that follows the analysis of data and the critical questions about the observation and the relation of data to observations.

Finally, open questions that motivate the development of derivative experiments are introduced and the relation of the particular investigation to familiar life experiences is elucidated.

Teacher's Edition

Teacher's Edition

A Natural Approach to Chemistry is designed so that students do many investigations and explore chemistry through direct experience that connects directly to the descriptions, explanations and questions found in the Student Text. This Teacher's Edition includes essential teaching tips for getting the most out of the Lab Investigations and the Student text. We have included the information that we believe will help you the most, while omitting basic instructions for tasks that every teacher already understands. Detailed example-lesson dialogs provide experienced insight into how the authors taught each chapter.

Lab Investigation sections include detailed materials and set-up information as well as sample answers to all the formative assessments and sample data for all student measurements. Student Text sections provide chapter and section “big-idea” summaries as well as detailed answers to all the assessment questions.

Each chapter contains the following major components:

1. Scope and Sequence

A two page spread that outlines:

✓Connections between student text and investigations
✓Key Vocabulary
✓Differentiated Assessment
✓Learning Goals
✓Differentiated Teaching Strategies

2. Teaching the Investigations

These sections address every part of the laboratory investigations and their connections to the student text and contain:

✓Ideas and tools for teaching the investigation
✓Sample lesson
✓Teaching notes
✓Sample data and analysis for all investigations

3. Using the Student Textbook

These sections include:

✓The curriculum design of A Natural Approach To Chemistry - including which chapters are critical and which, if time constraints exist, may be skipped.
✓An overview of the 5E model of instruction, which is the pedagogical foundation of the course.
✓Concise tables that organize instructional techniques and resources for each chapter, including differentiation strategies, remedial and advanced skill sheets, and assessment.
✓Information on the more than 2,500 fully illustrated and animated multimedia slides that will make your instructional prep both easier and more effective.
✓Advice for recognizing and using the many assessment tools and strategies included with A Natural Approach To Chemistry so your students can successfully demonstrate how much they’ve learned from class.
✓Quick-reading, concise chapter and section summaries for each of the 21 chapters in the text including our short list of the most important “big ideas.”
✓An answer key that includes worked-out solutions to all the problems in the text.



Powerful, easy to use Lab-Master data collection and laboratory system which also includes a spectrophotometer, temperature and voltage probes, and an innovative electronic heater device. The Lab-Master reads sensor data, records it on an SD card, and communicates with any computer. (SD card not included)

Core Materials Package

Core Materials Package

The core laboratory materials package includes Lab-Master system, atomic structure model, molecular modeling kit, condensation apparatus, spectroscopy cards, dimensional analysis cards, and some essential laboratory hardware and glassware.

Each item is also available separately to create the greatest flexibility in providing what materials are needed for different teaching situations..

Ancillaries (available through teacher portal)

Teacher Resource Planner

This planner serves as a powerful, click-through resource to help teachers plan A Natural Approach To Chemistry lessons – one lesson at a time. All of the course tools for each Chapter are available with smart, user-friendly navigation. It’s all there -- Chapter by Chapter from Scope & Sequence to the Student Book, Lab Manual, Teachers Guide pages – along with the Skill Sheets, and PowerPoints.

Pacing Guide

Pacing Guide

The pacing guide provides the teacher with clear guidelines that specify how much time should be spent on each A Natural Approach To Chemistry chapter and/or investigation in order to meet course milestones.

Differentiated Skill Sheets

Differentiated Skill Sheets

Solved and unsolved skill sheets are provided for every chapter. The sheets are created in Microsoft Word so teachers can edit the documents and add their own questions



Each chapter of the text has a PowerPoint presentation that covers the entire content of each section in the chapter. Each investigation also has its own Microsoft PowerPoint presentation that contains sample data, calculations, close-ups, and safety information