Part 1: Material Description
Title: Chemistry
Publisher: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill
Date of Publication: 1995
Authors: Robert E. Smoot, Richard G. Smith, Jack Price
Specific Subject: Chemistry
Grade: 10th-12th
Age: 15-18
Ability Level: College Prep

Part 2: Select and unpack a learning goal
Atomic Structure – C4.8C Recognize that protons repel each other and that a strong force needs to be present to keep the nucleus intact.

Which, as described further in the unpacking, means, “protons are positively charged, [and] repel each other. Even though they repel each other, they, along with neutrons are held together due to a strong force that is only apparent at the nuclear level.”

Part 3: Analyze selected features of the materials
Criterion III.A: Providing a Variety of Phenomena

In the text, there is specifically one phenomena demonstrated that forms the idea of a nucleus in which protons and neutrons are attracted. This is Rutherford’s gold foil experiment on page 87. This meets the criterion as it is useful and meaningful for students to begin to make the connection of a small nucleus which is tightly bound. However, I would rate the text as poor in relation to this substandard. There are no other pictorial diagrams showing what the nuclear force appears on the atomic level.

Criterion III.B: Providing Vivid Experiences

The text truly does not have any vivid experiences that relate to the nuclear force that binds the nucleus. This is most likely due to the complexity of the topic, and how intangible it may be for a high school chemistry course to truly observe and experience.

Criterion IV.B: Representing Ideas Effectively

The book uses some forms of diagrams and drawings in order to address the benchmark. On pg. 91, there is a specific drawing that attempts to relate the subatomic particles that further explain the nuclear force that’s present in the nucleus. Also, there is an example of the setup Rutherford used in his experiment on pg. 87. Alongside this, there is a picture that depicts what is occurring at the atomic level in order to help students visualize what the experiment discovered. This meets the indicators for the criterion as it is accurate as well as comprehensible, but due to the lack of representations, I would deem it to be merely satisfactory.

Part 4: Modifications

The text simply does not have enough information regarding this topic, although it may be considered satisfactory as the topic itself is quite complex, and may not have a large bearing on students’ future chemistry courses. It’s interesting how much the text spends on discussing the subatomic particles when it hardly has much discussion for the nuclear force. It would seem that a high school chemistry course should focus on the former rather than the latter. In my opinion, adding more visual representations and perhaps supplementing the pictures with actual video would be an excellent way to address this topic. Also, perhaps by beginning with a discussion of why the protons would be packed so tightly within the nucleus would begin to have students realize that there is more at play than the simple proton-proton repulsion.