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AP Chemistry Big Idea Review Mark as Favorite (117 Favorites)

LESSON PLAN in Review, Culminating Project. Last updated March 25, 2020.


In this lesson, students will complete a review of all of the AP Chemistry Big Ideas and Learning Objectives using questions targeting each learning objective. This lesson is based on the AACT AP Chemistry Webinar series: What’s the Big Idea? Last Minute AP Chem Review and What’s the Big Idea? AP Chemistry Review Redux.

Grade Level

High School

NGSS Standards

  • HS-PS1-1: Use the periodic table as a model to predict the relative properties of elements based on the patterns of electrons in the outermost energy level of atoms.
  • HS-PS1-2: Construct and revise an explanation for the outcome of a simple chemical reaction based on the outermost electron states of atoms, trends in the periodic table, and knowledge of the patterns of chemical properties.
  • HS-PS1-3: Plan and conduct an investigation to gather evidence to compare the structure of substances at the bulk scale to infer the strength of electrical forces between particles.
  • HS-PS1-4: Develop a model to illustrate that the release or absorption of energy from a chemical reaction system depends upon the changes in total bond energy.
  • HS-PS1-5: Apply scientific principles and evidence to provide an explanation about the effects of changing the temperature or concentration of the reacting particles on the rate at which a reaction occurs.
  • HS-PS1-6: Refine the design of a chemical system by specifying a change in conditions that would produce increased amounts of products at equilibrium.
  • HS-PS1-7: Use mathematical representation to support the claim that atoms, and therefore mass, are conserved during a chemical reaction.


By the end of this lesson, students should be able to

  • Explain and relate the Big Ideas to the Learning Objectives.
  • Be familiar with all of the learning objectives for the AP Chemistry course.
  • Be successful on the AP Chemistry Exam.

Chemistry Topics

This lesson supports students’ understanding of

  • AP Chemistry Curriculum


Teacher Preparation: 10 minutes

Lesson: 10+ hours


  • Copies of the Review Packet for each student
  • Calculators (Students may use a scientific or graphing calculator for the exam)
  • All of the materials that the students have acquired during the course, e.g., textbooks, notes, problem sets, etc.
  • Equation Sheets & Periodic Table that the students receive for the AP Exam


  • No specific safety precautions need to be observed for this activity.

Teacher Notes

  • Each Big Idea could be tackled in 1-2 hour blocks, if you work on them exclusively, or the packets can be given as homework and discussed in class. The time you spend with this can vary widely.
  • Additional information can be found on the AP Chemistry webpage:
  • Packet and Answer Keys are included, and separate by Big Idea, but please note that the answer keys are based off the first, rough draft of the document and may be slightly different than what the students see in the packet. The answers are the same, however.
  • Below are hyperlinks to the individual documents for each specific Big Idea to use with your student.
    • Big Idea 1 – Atoms and Elements: The chemical elements are fundamental building materials of matter, and all matter can be understood in terms of arrangements of atoms. These atoms retain their identity in chemical reactions.
    • Big Idea 2 – Structure and Properties of Matter: Chemical and physical properties of materials can be explained by the structure and the arrangements of atoms, ions, or molecules and the forces between them.
    • Big Idea 3 – Chemical Reactions: Changes in matter involve the rearrangement and/or reorganization of atoms and/or the transfer of electrons.
    • Big Idea 4 – Kinetics: Rates of chemical reactions are determined by the details of the molecular collisions.
    • Big Idea 5 – Thermodynamics: The laws of thermodynamics describe the essential role of energy and explain and predict the direction of changes in matter.
    • Big Idea 6 – Equilibrium: Any bond or intermolecular attraction that can be formed can be broken. These two processes are in dynamic competition, sensitive to initial conditions and external perturbation.
  • It may be important to note that the explanation of each of the Big Ideas is in my personal teacher-speak. I use many different metaphors for chemistry to anthropomorphize atoms, molecules, protons, electrons, and almost everything in chemistry. I know that this is a dangerous practice, but I find that it pays off for my students. Please feel free to change anything in this document to meet the needs of your particular group of students.
  • I have used this review packet in chunks, handing out one Big Idea to my students at a time. I assign them as homework the week before the exam. The students complete the questions, and then we discuss the answers as a small group and whole class. If you are using this packet as such, remove the first page that I have inserted, and substitute your own guided instructions for the students.
  • I encourage you to also watch the recording of the AACT AP Chemistry Webinar series that this lesson is based on:
  • The PowerPoint Presentation for the Webinar Review is also available for download on the AACT Webinar Page.