Chemistry: The Awesomest Science

So often, introductory chemistry textbooks aren’t helpful.  They’re boring, they’re confusing, and they contain a lot of extra bonus “features” that distract and annoy the reader.  This textbook, Chemistry: The Awesomest Science, is designed as a replacement for these textbooks.  Whether or not you end up using it with your class, hopefully it will give them an alternative to the usual corporate textbook nonsense.

If you’ve got middle school students, you may prefer the in-progress textbook Physical Science:  A Smorgasbord of Knowledge, which can be accessed HERE.

Chemistry:  The Awesomest Science:   (updated 4/28/17)

I don’t claim that this book is perfect.  It is very much a work in progress, so if you find errors or mistakes, email me at and I’ll make any necessary changes. With your help, I can expand and improve this book for a long time to come.

Happy reading!

Ian Guch


34 thoughts on “Chemistry: The Awesomest Science

  1. Read your intro. I actually laughed aloud, which is different from “lol” which is sometimes meaningless. With your permission I would like to refer my students to your online text. My school provides three different textbooks for me to teach one class with. Its what I sometimes refer to as Charlie Foxtrot. If you’re uncertain about what that means you might ask someone who has been in the military or sometimes Scouters will know.
    When this message appears I certainly hope that annoying little cat will not be my avatar.

  2. No, really – please remove that cat. I have my reputation to think of. I love cats, but only if they are properly seasoned.

  3. It is good to know that someone else as a quirky sense of humor when teaching chemistry. I teach a remedial science class and would like permission to include your online text in my presentations and as a resource on the university moodle server.

    Kim Roberts
    Adj. Professor of Natural Science
    University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

    • That sounds fine to me. If anybody inquires about the author of the work, though, please make sure to tell them that it’s me only if they want to give me money. If they want to complain, blame it on an unlikeable colleague.

  4. Thank you very much for taking the time to write and share this. I came across this while looking for a supplemental chemistry book for my genius high school daughter who has dreaded her chemistry class due to the inadequate text books. You did a great job Thanks!

  5. Great One! Thanks and this information is very useful and i saw the Chapters list and it is very perfect and informative for the Students, I also hope for the students that they can easily get benefit from this Offer…..

      • This is the kind of comment that keeps us teaching, keeps us going through the tough times and administrators whose brains test positive for coliform bacteria.

  6. I have used your material for 5 years and they have absolutely been a life saver! May I use your text and resources as our school text? We are going to on-line textbooks and yours is the most comprehensive I have found.

  7. Pingback: High School Chemistry coming soon – homeschoolsciencegeek

  8. I almost (almost) spilled my coffee laughing so hard while reading your textbook. I would like to post the content on my classroom webpage as a reference for my high school chemistry class. Other then giving you the well deserved credit for for work, what else do I need to do?

  9. This website is amazing. I did find one glitch I wanted you to be aware of. In the tutorials page about ionic compounds, one of the links goes to ch.7 of the textbook when I’m pretty sure it should go to chapter 8. Thanks again, I’ll be making a donation when I get my next paycheck 😉

  10. This Page is a very useful and importants for me Iearn at chemicall Equations

  11. I’ve been looking for a chemistry text to use in our home school. It has been a challenge finding a text that was enjoyable without being too simple. Thank you for the work you’ve put in to this book.

    • Thank you for your kind comments! You’ll be happy to know that I’m currently heading up a project to write a chemistry curriculum for homeschoolers. Unlike everything I’ve done before, it will be broken down into shorter lessons that can be done in a day by homeschoolers, and will be a community effort that uses material that the kids themselves make. Right now it’s called SEAChem2020, and I hope that stuff will start coming out by the next school year.

  12. Finally, after years of teaching from an outdated version of Modern Chemistry (circa 2000), I’ve been allowed to start considering new textbooks. We are NOT a technologically advanced district and still need to supply print books to students. As I read through this book I really want to use it. Any special considerations or copyright issues with printing it? Also any suggestions on how to convince my principal that I’m not crazy for not needing/wanting all the teachers edition and ancillary stuff that comes with those pretty textbooks from the “Big guys”?

    • Hello! Please feel free to use the book in whatever way you’d like. Printing it is no problem, nor is putting it on USB drives, linking to the site, or whatever. Whatever is most convenient for you.

      When your principal asks about the other fancy information, point him over to the Cavalcade o’ Teaching site (, where I’ve got all of my lesson plans plus supplemental material. It may not be as fancy or beautiful as what the big guys put out, but it’s got everything you need and is totally free. I imagine when your principal finds out that he’s saving $100 a kid on books, he’ll be OK with it.

      And if not, have him email me. I’ll set him straight with my spooky chemistry powers!

      • Sadly, parts of the rural south are not quite ready for your textbook. Maybe next time. I can’t convince them they won’t get parent phone calls when the textbook contains profanity. Oh well
        😦 What I get for trying to save the district money.

  13. I am teaching a non-majors chemistry class in college – I was wondering how long it would take me to teach all 18 chapters? Could I cram it into a 16 week class where I only have 3 hours per week?

    • With sufficiently motivated students, it’s certainly possible to teach a year of chemistry in 16 weeks. However, this is something you absolutely won’t be able to do without cutting some corners. I’ve been in your situation before and did the following things:
      1) Keep to one chapter a week, with the possible exception of the first couple of chapters. Some weeks will be much harder than others, but if you keep to this pace, you’ll make it.
      2) Cut the cruft. Chemistry books and curricula have a lot of fluffy stuff that most students will never need. If that’s the case, cut it. Just because somebody has told you that finding average atomic masses from isotopic abundances is a useful thing to do doesn’t make it true. If something’s dumb, just cut it.
      3) Listen to the students. Very carefully listen to the most thoughtful students to let you know what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. If you have three thoughtful kids (one smart, one medium, and one low-performing), you can learn what you need to know to do a better job.
      4) Remember the mission. Your mission, as an instructor, is not to teach all of the material. Your mission is to teach your students what they need to know about the subject. If you teach a lot of art students, then focus on how chemistry relates to the arts. The goal of education isn’t to make people learn a bunch of stuff – it’s to get people to learn a bunch of stuff they can actually use and to teach them how to think like somebody who practices chemistry. The rest of just fluff.

      I hope that helps!

  14. My Chem teacher recommended this site to study for finals and it helps. Especially for someone who falls asleep reading the school issued textbooks. I’m able to cram your version in a day. Which I’ve done four days straight. I think i nailed the first day of finals thanks to you.

  15. Is there a list indicating which lessons and labs go with each chapter of the Chemistry text? I saw the homeschool page, which has lessons and labs for SEA Chemistry, but that doesn’t seem to line up with your Chemistry:the Awesomest Science text.

  16. Just curious, how does this book compare to “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Chemistry” ?

    • Hi Francine,
      Whereas the Complete Idiot’s Guide is a bit more in-depth for both high school and first year university students, Awesomest Science is specifically aimed at high schoolers and follows high school curricula very closely. I’d also say that, generally speaking, the CIG book is better for helping a student to understand something they studied and have problems with, while Awesomest Science is better for doing the initial teaching in the first place.
      That said, they do have a lot in common. My personal suggestion to anybody taking high school chemistry would be to try Awesomest Science first, and if that doesn’t work head off to the library and check out CIG Chemistry. And, of course, the tutorials on my site are always free to use.

  17. Hi Mr. Guch
    After reading your material, I feel like I know you; one science lover to another with a different mother. My science degree is in biology but I also enjoyed chemistry so I took enough classes to certify in chemistry as well therefore with changes in personnel and the like I am teaching chemistry, I am a little apprehensive with chem labs though but I want it to be fun and somewhat mature for the high school students. Your book is simply awesome. I wish I had discovered it when I first started teaching chemistry but it is never to late to add more resources for student learning. I get your science sense of humor and i think it is great! I would like to use your information because it is put together the same way I like to teach the material. I would ask if I can change some of the language because it may not go over well with the administration and parents but I so want to use the content. I am crazy excited about this resource. Trying this online teaching thing due to COVID 19 will be a challenge. I am more a face to face interaction kind of person. New Normal!!

    • Hi,

      I’m glad the material is handy for you and you think you can use it with your kids. I definitely understand that you might want to change the language, and that’s A-OK with me. Good luck with teaching online, and if you need any help or suggestions, please let me know!


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