CEM 161                                                                          



OWL instructions

 Help room hours

General Chemistry Safety Reminders


You must read and sign the lab safety agreement on line before your first lab class. 

Go to http://www.chemistry.msu.edu and click on the link at the bottom right-hand side.


Required for the course (bring to your first laboratory class)                               

The Chemistry 161 Laboratory Manual                                               You may also find useful

Approved safety goggles (available in Room 185)                              an electronic calculator, a ruler, lab coat

OWL Access Code for CEM 161/162


Note that in order to work in the lab, no skin can be visible from your armpits down and approved goggles must cover your eyes.  Failure to wear safety goggles or appropriate clothing will result in immediate dismissal from lab and a grade of zero on that week’s experiment.


CEM 161 Instructor                                Joseph Ward; Room 239 Chemistry
         email: jward@chemistry.msu.edu (please put CEM 161 in the subject line)

CEM 161 web site                                   http://www.chemistry.msu.edu then go to Courses (upper right corner),
                                                               then General Chemistry, then CEM 161.

Cemscores web site                                 http://cemscores.chemistry.msu.edu  Use this site to see experiment scores and
                                                               graded reports. You can also access the site through the CEM 161 website.

General Chemistry Program Manager   Wendy Whitford; Room 185 Chemistry; tel 5-9715 ext 335
         email: tsuji@chemistry.msu.edu

Manager of the CEM 161 Laboratories  Todd Burkhart; room 185 Chemistry; tel 5-9715 ext 266
email: burkha59@chemistry.msu.edu

OWL© problem sets web site                   Use the access code (purchased separately) and the instructions posted
                                                               separately to complete your problem sets.

CEM 161 Social Media sites                   Twitter       @MSUCEM161
                                                               Facebook   search for “Michigan State University Cem161”


The first laboratory class

Look in the MSU Schedule of Courses for the day, room, and time that your laboratory section first meets. For your first class, you will need to purchase the laboratory manual from one of the bookstores, Room 185 Chemistry. For all experiments in CEM 161 you must be dressed appropriately and wear approved safety goggles (available from Room 185 Chemistry).  In preparation for your first class read over the introduction and the first experiment in your lab manual.


There are many different sections meeting in Room 103 in the Chemistry building during the week. Lab classes meet at 8:00 am, 11:00 am, 2:00 pm Monday through Thursday.  Be sure that you know the section number, time, and room of your own section.  See the course calendar for more information.




Checking into your lab


After an introduction to the course, your instructor will ask you to check your lab equipment. Make sure that you have all the equipment listed on the inventory sheet.  Get broken or unacceptable equipment replaced. At the end of the semester you will have to pay for any missing or broken equipment.


If you miss your first lab class

If you will miss your first class, you must check in at the General Chemistry Office (Room 185 Chemistry; tel 5-9715 ext 266; email: burkha59@chemistry.msu.edu) before the first lab meets. Otherwise your place in the laboratory might be given to another student. If you miss the first experiment, you may do experiment 1 concurrently with the second experiment. Inform your instructor at your second class if you wish to do this.



This laboratory manual serves as both your text and your lab notebook.  Data gathered during each experiment must be entered directly into this manual in ink on the appropriate data sheet.  All experiments must be completed and turned in to your instructor before leaving the laboratory class on the day the experiment is performed.  Late lab reports will not be accepted.  Graded lab reports can be viewed on the cemscores website.


Prelab homework (OWL© Problem Sets)

Access Code is available for purchase from a bookstore, the General Chemistry Office (Room 185 Chemistry) or CengageBrain website ( http://www.cengagebrain.com/micro/1-1PML0AR ). The access code for CEM 161 is DIFFERENT than the CEM 141/142 OWL code.  The CEM 161/162 access code should cost approximately $5. It is important that you read over each experiment before coming to class.  Before each class, from the second week through the end of the course, you must complete a personalized problem set concerning the upcoming experiment.   These problems will be administered under the OWL© system.  Each OWL© set is worth 4 points.  You will drop your lowest OWL© score at the end of the semester.  Note that these problem sets are different from the CEM 141 OWL Problem Sets and require the purchase of a separate access code.

Your answers to the questions are due before 7:30 am on the Monday of each week. It is your responsibility to make sure that you answer the questions before the deadline.  Due dates are noted on the calendar.

If you have problems with the OWL© system, get help before the deadline! Go to Room 185 (General Chemistry Office) or send an email. For assistance with the chemistry, go to the Help Room (Rooms 81/83).

You must score at least 15/36 on these problem sets in order to pass the course.


Help Room

In addition to assistance provided by your laboratory instructor, you may get help from other instructors in the Help Room (Rooms 81/83 Chemistry).  The Help Room hours will be posted outside the room.  Use the Help Room as often as you like!


Absence from class

There are no make-up labs for CEM 161.  You are allowed to miss two laboratory classes for any reason; for example, you may be sick, it may be a religious holiday, or you may have to return home for some reason. Your grade in the class is based therefore on your best 11 scores for the 13 experiments (110 points). If you miss a third class, you will receive a score of 0 (zero) for that experiment. If you miss a fourth class, your grade in the course will be 0.0. Note that you must check in your equipment at the end of the last lab so it is not a good idea to miss that lab. Failure to check in your equipment before the end of your last scheduled lab period will result in a fee of $25 plus the cost of any broken or missing equipment.  You are allowed to miss only one OWL© problem set. Additional prelab problem sets cannot be excused or made-up. Your total score for the prelab problem sets is based on your 9 best scores (36 points).


Changing sections or dropping the class

If you change sections, either during drops and adds or later, you must check out of your original lab and check in to your new section.  Also ensure that your instructor passes your record onto your new instructor.  If you drop the class you must check in your equipment or you will be charged for the check in ($25 plus any breakages).



The grade you receive in this class will be based upon the accuracy and precision of your experiments and your OWL© problem sets. Each of nine best OWL© problem sets during the term counts for four points for a total of 36.  Each of your eleven best experiments counts for ten points for a total of 110. The total number of points possible is therefore 146. 

In order to ensure equality of grading between the different instructors in the course, the score out of 110 for which your instructor is responsible will be normalized so that the mean for each instructor is the same.  The OWL© scores will not be normalized.  The grade you receive in the course will be based upon the sum of your normalized total experiment score and your OWL© score.

Normalized Points




















You will receive a grade of zero in this course if

·         you earn fewer than 86 total points, or

·         you earn fewer than 15 OWL problem set points, or

·         you miss four or more experiments