Chemistry of how things work

In summary, physical changes involve changes in the physical properties of a substance without altering its chemical composition, while chemical changes result in the formation of new substances with different properties. Elements combine through chemical reactions, which are governed by their valence electrons. Energy is required for chemical reactions to occur, and the periodic table is important in predicting the behavior and properties of elements and their compounds. pH can greatly influence the rate and direction of chemical reactions, as well as affect the solubility and reactivity of substances.
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I was looking for something like Bloomfield's "How things work" but for chemistry rather than physics. Audience is high school kids in a first chemistry course.
 
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Probably the best place to ask this question is CHEMED-L (google group).
 
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I discovered Carl H. Snyder's "The Extraordinary Chemistry of Ordinary Things" and after a few flip throughs it seems to be what I was looking for.
 

1. What is the difference between physical and chemical changes?

A physical change is a change in the physical properties of a substance, such as size, shape, or state, without changing its chemical composition. A chemical change, on the other hand, results in the formation of new substances with different chemical properties.

2. How do elements combine to form compounds?

Elements combine through chemical reactions, in which their atoms bond together to form new molecules with unique properties. This process is governed by the valence electrons of the elements involved.

3. What is the role of energy in chemical reactions?

Energy is required to break the bonds between atoms in a chemical reaction. This energy is then released when new bonds are formed. The overall energy change in a reaction determines if it is exothermic (releases energy) or endothermic (absorbs energy).

4. What is the periodic table and why is it important in chemistry?

The periodic table is a chart that organizes all known elements according to their atomic structure and properties. It is important in chemistry because it allows scientists to predict the chemical behavior of elements and their compounds, and to identify patterns and trends in their properties.

5. How does pH affect chemical reactions?

pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of a solution, which can greatly influence the rate and direction of a chemical reaction. For example, enzymes, which are important catalysts in biological reactions, function best within specific pH ranges. Additionally, the pH of a solution can impact the solubility and reactivity of certain substances.

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