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Science - Chemistry
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Science is a way of knowing, a process for gaining knowledge and understanding of the natural world. The Science Core Curriculum places emphasis on understanding and using skills. Students should be active learners. It is not enough for students to read about science; they must do science. They should observe, inquire, question, formulate and test hypotheses, analyze data, report, and evaluate findings. The students, as scientists, should have hands-on, active experiences throughout the instruction of the science curriculum.
The Science Core describes what students should know and be able to do at the end of each course. It was developed, critiqued, piloted, and revised by a community of Utah science teachers, university science educators, State Office of Education specialists, scientists, expert national consultants, and an advisory committee representing a wide diversity of people from the community. The Core reflects the current philosophy of science education that is expressed in national documents developed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academies of Science. This Science Core has the endorsement of the Utah Science Teachers Association. The Core reflects high standards of achievement in science for all students.
Organization of the Science Core
The Core is designed to help teachers organize and deliver instruction. Elements of the Core include the following:
Seven Guidelines Were Used in Developing the Science Core
Reflects the Nature of Science: Science is a way of knowing, a process for gaining knowledge and understanding of the natural world. The Core is designed to produce an integrated set of Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) for students.
As described in these ILOs, students will:
Coherent: The Core has been designed so that, wherever possible, the science ideas taught within a particular grade level have a logical and natural connection with each other and with those of earlier grades. Efforts have also been made to select topics and skills that integrate well with one another and with other subject areas appropriate to grade level. In addition, there is an upward articulation of science concepts, skills, and content. This spiraling is intended to prepare students to understand and use more complex science concepts and skills as they advance through their science learning.
Developmentally Appropriate: The Core takes into account the psychological and social readiness of students. It builds from concrete experiences to more abstract understandings. The Core describes science language students should use that is appropriate to their grade level. A more extensive vocabulary should not be emphasized. In the past, many educators may have mistakenly thought that students understood abstract concepts (such as the nature of the atom) because they repeated appropriate names and vocabulary (such as "electron" and "neutron"). The Core resists the temptation to describe abstract concepts at inappropriate grade levels; rather, it focuses on providing experiences with concepts that students can explore and understand in depth to build a foundation for future science learning.
Encourages Good Teaching Practices: It is impossible to accomplish the full intent of the Core by lecturing and having students read from textbooks. The Science Core emphasizes student inquiry. Science process skills are central in each standard. Good science encourages students to gain knowledge by doing science: observing, questioning, exploring, making and testing hypotheses, comparing predictions, evaluating data, and communicating conclusions. The Core is designed to encourage instruction with students working in cooperative groups. Instruction should connect lessons with students' daily lives. The Core directs experiential science instruction for all students, not just those who have traditionally succeeded in science classes.
Comprehensive: The Science Core does not cover all topics that have traditionally been in the science curriculum; however, it does provide a comprehensive background in science. By emphasizing depth rather than breadth, the Core seeks to empower students rather than intimidate them with a collection of isolated and forgettable facts. Teachers are free to add related concepts and skills, but they are expected to teach all the standards and objectives specified in the Core for their grade level.
Useful and Relevant: This curriculum relates directly to student needs and interests. It is grounded in the natural world in which we live. Relevance of science to other endeavors enables students to transfer skills gained from science instruction into their other school subjects and into their lives outside the classroom.
Encourages Good Assessment Practices: Student achievement of the standards and objectives in this Core is best assessed using a variety of assessment instruments. The purpose of an assessment should be clear to the teacher as it is planned, implemented, and evaluated. Performance tests are particularly appropriate to evaluate student mastery of science processes and problem-solving skills. Teachers should use a variety of classroom assessment approaches in conjunction with standard assessment instruments to inform their instruction. Observation of students engaged in science activities is highly recommended as a way to assess students' skills as well as attitudes in science. The nature of the questions posed by students provides important evidence of students' understanding of and interest in science.
Chemistry Core Curriculum
The Chemistry Core Curriculum has two primary goals: (1) students will value and use science as a process of obtaining knowledge based on observable evidence, and (2) students' curiosity will be sustained as they develop the abilities associated with scientific inquiry.
Chemistry is organized around major concepts of matter, structure, energy, and change. The "Benchmarks" in the chemistry Core emphasize the principles and laws that describe the conservation of matter, changes in the structure of matter, and changes in energy. Substances can be described by their chemical structure or properties. Substances can be made of molecules and these molecules are made of atoms. The properties of water are very different from the properties of hydrogen or oxygen of which it is composed. When parts come together, the whole often has properties that are very different from its parts. The formation of compounds results in a great diversity of matter from a limited number of elements. When matter combines, energy is absorbed or released and matter is rearranged to make new substances with new properties.
The purpose of the Utah Chemistry Core Curriculum is to provide the minimum standards for all students to achieve basic scientific literacy in chemistry. The Core is written with the understanding that individual teachers may choose additional content and activities to meet the needs and interests of their own students.
Good science instruction requires hands-on science investigations in which student inquiry is an important goal. Students in chemistry should design and perform experiments, and value inquiry as the fundamental scientific process. Instruction should encourage students to maintain an open and questioning mind to pose their own questions about objects, events, processes, and results. They should have the opportunity to plan and conduct their own experiments, and come to their own conclusions as they read, observe, compare, describe, infer, and draw conclusions. The results of their experiments need to be compared for reasonableness to multiple sources of information. It is important for students at this age to begin to formalize the processes of science and be able to identify the variables in a formal experiment.
Chemistry Core concepts should be integrated with concepts and skills from other curriculum areas. Reading, writing, and mathematics skills should be emphasized as integral to the instruction of science. Personal relevance of science in students' lives is an important part of helping students to value science and should be emphasized at this grade level. Developing students' writing skills in science should be an important part of science instruction in chemistry. Students should regularly write descriptions of their observations and experiments. Lab journals are an effective way to emphasize the importance of writing in science.
Providing opportunities for students to gain insights into science related careers adds to the relevance of science learning. Chemistry provides students with an opportunity to investigate careers in chemistry, environmental science, food science, atomic energy, engineering, and medicine.
Value for honesty, integrity, self-discipline, respect, responsibility, punctuality, dependability, courtesy, cooperation, consideration, and teamwork should be emphasized as an integral part of science learning. These relate to the care of living things, safety and concern for self and others, and environmental stewardship. Honesty in all aspects of research, experimentation, data collection, and reporting is an essential component of science.
Resources for Instruction
This Core was designed using the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Project 2061: Benchmarks For Science Literacy and the National Academy of Science's National Science Education Standards as guides to determine appropriate content and skills.
Safety Precautions and Appropriate Use and Disposal of Chemical
The hands-on nature of science learning increases the need for teachers to use appropriate precautions in the classroom, laboratory, and field. Proper handling and disposal of chemicals is crucial for safety of students and teacher. Prior to students working in the laboratory they should be required to demonstrate their understanding of safe laboratory practices. It is recommended that teachers use microchemistry techniques where appropriate. It is important that all students understand the rules for a safe classroom and laboratory. Field activities should be well thought out and use appropriate and safe practices. Teachers must adhere to the published guidelines for the proper use and disposal of chemicals in the classroom.
The Most Important Goal
Science instruction should cultivate and build on students' curiosity and sense of wonder. Effective science instruction engages students in enjoyable learning experiences. Science instruction should be as thrilling an experience for a student as watching the colors change in a chemical reaction or observing the formation of silver crystals on a copper wire in a solution of silver nitrate. Science is not just for those who have traditionally succeeded in the subject, and it is not just for those who will choose science-related careers. In a world of rapidly expanding knowledge and technology, all students must gain the skills they will need to understand and function responsibly and successfully in the world. The Core provides skills in a context that enables students to experience the joy of doing science.
Intended Learning Outcomes for Earth Systems Science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics
The Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) describe the skills and attitudes students should learn as a result of science instruction. They are an essential part of the Science Core Curriculum and provide teachers with a standard for evaluation of student learning in science. Instruction should include significant science experiences that lead to student understanding using the ILOs.
The main intent of science instruction in Utah is that students will value and use science as a process of obtaining knowledge based upon observable evidence.
By the end of science instruction in high school, students will be able to:
Core Standards of the Course
The nucleus of an atom is a tiny fraction of the volume of the atom. Each proton or neutron in the nucleus is nearly 2,000 times the mass of an electron. Electrons move around the nucleus.
The modern atomic model has been developed using experimental evidence. Atomic theories describe the behavior of atoms as well as energy changes in the atom. Energy changes in an isolated atom occur only in discrete jumps. Change in structure and composition of the nucleus result in the conversion of matter into energy.
Students will understand the relationship between energy changes in the atom specific to the movement of electrons between energy levels in an atom resulting in the emission or absorption of quantum energy. They will also understand that the emission of high-energy particles results from nuclear changes and that matter can be converted to energy during nuclear reactions.
The types of chemical bonds holding them together determine many of the physical properties of compounds. The formation of compounds results in a great diversity of matter from a limited number of elements.
The rate of chemical reactions of atoms and molecules depends upon how often they encounter one another, which is a function of concentration, temperature, and pressure of the reacting materials. Catalysts can be used to change the rate of chemical reactions. Under proper conditions reactions may attain a state of equilibrium.
The relative amounts of solutes and solvents determine the concentration and the physical properties of a solution. Two important categories of solutions are acids and bases.