Chemistry: An Atoms First Approach

  • AUTHORS: Steven S. Zumdahl; Susan A. Zumdahl
  • ISBN-13: 9781305079243 
  • Grade(s): 9 | 10 | 11 | 12
  • 1216 Pages  Hardcover 
  • 2nd Edition  |  Previous Editions: 2012
  • ©2016     Published
  • Prices are valid only in the respective region


About The Product

Steve and Susan Zumdahl's texts focus on helping students build critical thinking skills through the process of becoming independent problem-solvers. They help students learn to "think like chemists" so they can apply the problem-solving process to all aspects of their lives. In this Second Edition of CHEMISTRY: AN ATOMS FIRST APPROACH, the Zumdahls use a meaningful approach that begins with the atom and proceeds through the concept of molecules, structure, and bonding to more complex materials and their properties. Because this approach differs from what most students have experienced in high school courses, it encourages them to focus on conceptual learning early in the course, rather than relying on memorization and a "plug and chug" method of problem solving that even the best students can fall back on when confronted with familiar material. The atoms first organization provides an opportunity for students to use the tools of critical thinkers: to ask questions, to apply rules and models, and to evaluate outcomes.


  • AN ATOMS FIRST APPROACH: By taking an atoms first approach, the authors provide students with a unified story built around an organizing principle--start the course with the smallest element, the atom, and build from there. Building their explanations around this structure, the authors consistently show the importance and relevance of studying chemistry.
  • A FOCUS ON CONCEPTUAL UNDERSTANDING: Rather than focusing on memorizing, the book gives students the tools they need to become critical thinkers: to ask questions, to apply rules and develop models, and to evaluate the outcome.
  • A STRONG PROBLEM-SOLVING ORIENTATION: Throughout the text, problem-solving strategies help students learn to solve problems by thinking them through rather than brute-force memorizing. Section 5.3 "Learning to Solve Problems" emphasizes the importance of thoughtful, creative problem solving, demonstrating that thinking through a problem produces more long-term, meaningful learning that can be applied to "real life" than memorizing steps that apply only to a particular type of problem. The problem-solving process is organized in terms of "Where are we going?"; "How do we get there?"; and "Reality Check," which prompts students to check whether their answer makes sense.
  • STUDENT-ORIENTED LEARNING AIDS: Problem-solving strategy boxes help students focus on particular aspects of problem-solving; concept summary boxes help students organize their thinking about crucial concepts; critical-thinking questions help students to contemplate various atoms first concepts; chemical connections boxes present applications of chemistry in various fields and in daily life; and atoms first boxes provide an overall summary at critical junctures that ties together concepts to enhance student understanding.
  • INTERACTIVE EXAMPLES encourage students to think their way through the example instead of passively reading through the solution. Electronic versions of select examples are assignable in OWLv2. To help in mastery of the problem-solving process, students can work these Interactive Examples multiple times, receiving slightly different examples each time they attempt an Interactive Example.
  • END-OF-CHAPTER VISUAL EXERCISES provide students with opportunities to demonstrate a conceptual understanding of fundamental chemical principles. Many take an "atomic view" of matter to help students appreciate the usefulness of the atomic model in understanding macroscopic properties. Other problems ask students to interpret graphs or to explain figures.
  • END-OF-CHAPTER CHEMWORK EXERCISES test students' understanding of core concepts. ChemWork problems in the text can be worked using the online system or as pencil-and-paper problems.
  • CRITICAL THINKING QUESTIONS provide students with opportunities to demonstrate a conceptual understanding of fundamental chemical principles, while emphasizing the importance of conceptual learning.
  • ATOMS FIRST BOXED FEATURES "CONNECTING TO ATOMS" pull together chapter material to help students understand how various content works together under an atoms first approach. The authors wrote these features to provide a unique "rest stop" that summarizes atoms first concepts in a concise overview, while also serving as a useful review tool.
  • A FOCUS ON THE FUNDAMENTAL IDEAS OF CHEMISTRY: Numerous discussions, illustrations, and exercises help students overcome misconceptions by providing a more accurate picture of the fundamental ideas of chemistry. The book emphasizes the importance of developing a qualitative understanding of concepts before approaching quantitative problems.
  • AN OUTSTANDING ART PROGRAM: The book represents the microscopic world of chemistry to give students a picture in their minds of "what the atoms and molecules are doing" through an excellent art program and animations.
  • END-OF-CHAPTER ACTIVE LEARNING QUESTIONS: Because students often learn the most when they teach each other, these questions are intended for group discussion.
  • AN INNOVATIVE METHOD FOR DEALING WITH ACID–BASE EQUILIBRIA: Because this is the material the typical student finds most difficult and frustrating, the authors provide an innovative approach that involves first deciding what species are present in solution, then thinking about the chemical properties of these species. This method provides a general framework for approaching all types of solution equilibria.
  • A WEALTH OF EXAMPLES: More than 300 examples illustrate general problem-solving strategies. When a specific strategy is presented, it is summarized in a Problem-Solving Strategy box and the Example that follows reinforces the use of the strategy to solve the problem. The authors emphasize the use of conceptual understanding to solve problems rather than using an algorithm-based approach.
  • A THOROUGH TREATMENT OF REACTIONS THAT OCCUR IN SOLUTION, including acid–base reactions. This material appears in Chapter 6: "Types of Chemical Reactions and Solution Stoichiometry," directly after the chapter on chemical stoichiometry, to emphasize the connection between solution reactions and chemical reactions in general.
  • INTEGRATION OF DESCRIPTIVE CHEMISTRY AND CHEMICAL PRINCIPLES: Chemical models may appear sterile and confusing without the observations that stimulated their invention. On the other hand, facts without organizing principles may seem overwhelming. In the chapter on the chemistry of the elements, the authors use tables and charts to show how properties and models correlate. Descriptive chemistry is presented in a variety of ways--as applications of principles in separate sections, in Examples and exercises, in photographs, and in Chemical Connections.
  • A STRONG EMPHASIS ON MODELS: Coverage includes how models are constructed, how they are tested, and what we learn when they inevitably fail. Models are developed naturally, with pertinent observation always presented first to show why a particular model was invented.
  • A WIDE RANGE OF END-OF-CHAPTER EXERCISES: Exercises are included for every type of student and for every kind of homework assignment: questions that promote group learning; exercises that reinforce student understanding; and problems that present the ultimate challenge with increased rigor and by integrating multiple concepts. In addition, the book includes biochemistry problems to make the connection for students in the course who are not chemistry majors.
  • OWLv2 INTEGRATION: Featuring chemist-developed content, OWLv2 is the most trusted online learning solution for chemistry and is the only system designed to elevate thinking through Mastery Learning, allowing students to work at their own pace until they understand each concept and skill. Each time a student tries a problem, OWLv2 changes the chemistry, values, and sometimes even the wording of the question to ensure that students are learning the concepts and not cheating the system. With detailed, instant feedback and interactive learning resources, students get the help they need when they need it.

About the Contributor

  • Steven S. Zumdahl

    Steve Zumdahl is the author of market-leading textbooks in introductory chemistry, general chemistry, honors-level chemistry, and high school chemistry. Recently retired from his long-time position as Director of Undergraduate Programs at the University of Illinois, he has received numerous awards for his contributions to chemical education. These include the National Catalyst Award in recognition of his contribution to chemical education, the University of Illinois Teaching Award, the UIUC Liberal Arts and Sciences Advising Award, and the School of Chemical Sciences Teaching Award (five times). He earned his B.S. in Chemistry from Wheaton College (IL), and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.

  • Susan A. Zumdahl

    Susan A. Zumdahl earned a B.S. and M.A. in Chemistry at California State University--Fullerton. She has taught science and mathematics at all levels, including middle school, high school, community college, and university. She is past director of the Merit Program for Emerging Scholars in Chemistry at the University of Illinois. In addition, she spearheaded the development of a sophisticated web-based electronic homework system for chemistry and is co-author on several chemistry textbooks.

Table of Contents

Review: Measurement and Calculations in Chemistry.
1. Chemical Foundations.
2. Atomic Structure and Periodicity.
3. Bonding: General Concepts.
4. Molecular Structure and Orbitals.
5. Stoichiometry.
6. Types of Chemical Reactions and Solution Stoichiometry.
7. Chemical Energy.
8. Gases.
9. Liquids and Solids.
10. Properties of Solutions.
11. Chemical Kinetics.
12. Chemical Equilibrium.
13. Acids and Bases.
14. Acid-Base Equilibria
15. Solubility and Complex Ion Equilibria.
16. Spontaneity, Entropy, and Free Energy.
17. Electrochemistry.
18. The Nucleus: A Chemist's View.
19. The Representative Elements.
20. Transition Metals and Coordination Chemistry.
21. Organic and Biological Molecules.

New to this Edition

  • REORGANIZED FOR ENHANCED UNDERSTANDING: A reorganization of key chapters (3, 4, 5, and 6) allows for stoichiometry to be taught earlier (Chapter 5), which coincides with labs being done at that time. In addition, the organization of various sections has been fine-tuned (for example, the Gas Stoichiometry section moved to the Gases chapter and the Calorimetry section moved to the Chemical Energy chapter). The combined chapter and section reorganization improves the flow of the text to better meet the needs of those teaching and learning from an atoms first approach.
  • NEW "CRITICAL THINKING" QUESTIONS provide a greater emphasis on the importance of conceptual learning.
  • NEW CHEMWORK EXERCISES, which can be worked using the online system or as pencil-and-paper problems, test students' understanding of core chapter concepts.
  • NEW ATOMS FIRST MARGIN NOTES throughout the text enhance teaching and learning using an atoms first approach.
  • NEW ATOMS FIRST BOXED FEATURES "CONNECTING TO ATOMS" help students understand how varying chapter content works together under an atoms first approach through a summary of key concepts at point-of-use, which provides both a review of atoms first concepts and a glimpse of what is ahead.
  • ENHANCED ONLINE LEARNING: The #1 online homework and learning system for chemistry, OWLv2, is available for this text--and now features more flexible student and instructor functionality, new personalized study tools, enhanced integration with learning management systems, and improved analytics. OWLv2 for this text also includes Quick Prep, an online short course that reviews key chemistry concepts and essential skills, new Adaptive Study Plans, hundreds of new interactive versions of the text's end-of-chapter questions, and new tutors, visualizations, and simulations that have been converted from Flash to HTML, allowing for easier navigation and streamlined grading.

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