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Water for life
Atoms, elements and molecules are the building blocks of everything that makes up our...
Atoms, elements and molecules are the building blocks of everything that makes up our world, including ourselves. In this unit you will learn the basic chemistry of how these components work together, starting with a chemical compound we are all very familiar with – water.
By the end of this unit you should be able to:
- read data presented in tables;
- use scientific notation to express both large and small quantities;
- appreciate why chemists use different models to represent molecules;
- identify the number and type(s) of atom present in a molecule from its chemical formula;
- identify the reactants and products of a reaction in a chemical equation;
- read and write using chemical notation;
- write a balanced chemical equation to represent a chemical reaction;
- access the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) website and retrieve information about ions in drinking water.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 The power of water
- 2 Earth's store of water
- 2.1 Where water occurs and how we measure it
- 2.2 Going up: using scientific notation for large numbers
- 2.3 The study of a raindrop
- 2.4 Going down: using scientific notation for small numbers
- 2.5 What is water made of?
- 2.6 Models of a water molecule
- 2.7 The ‘salt’ in seawater
- 3 What are compounds?
- 4 Inside the atom
- 5 Molecules and covalent bonding
- 6 Chemical language
- 7 Ions and ionic bonding
- 8 Water and its impurities
- 9 Unit summary
- Next steps
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Water for life
This unit is an introduction to chemistry concepts, using water as the main illustration. Much of the unit is devoted to exploring the smallest water particle – a water molecule – what it is and how it gives rise to the particular properties of water. The unit also explains powers of ten and scientific notation, which are a convenient way of expressing both very large and very small numbers. It is a good introduction to science.
This material is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Science starts here (S154), which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in this.
This is an extract from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Environmental Studies courses or view the range of currently available OU Environmental Studies courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Thursday, 17th October 2013
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements section.
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