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:
- Each grade level begins with a brief course description.
- The INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES (ILOs) describe the goals for science skills
and attitudes. They are found at the beginning of each grade, and are an integral
part of the Core that should be included as part of instruction.
- The SCIENCE BENCHMARKS describe the science content students should know.
Each grade level has three to five Science Benchmarks. The ILOs and Benchmarks
intersect in the Standards, Objectives and Indicators.
- A STANDARD is a broad statement of what students are expected to understand.
Several Objectives are listed under each Standard.
- An OBJECTIVE is a more focused description of what students need to know
and be able to do at the completion of instruction. If students have mastered
the Objectives associated with a given Standard, they are judged to have mastered
that Standard at that grade level. Several Indicators are described for each
- An INDICATOR is a measurable or observable student action that enables one
to judge whether a student has mastered a particular Objective. Indicators
are not meant to be classroom activities, but they can help guide classroom
- SCIENCE LANGUAGE STUDENTS SHOULD USE is a list of terms that students and
teachers should integrate into their normal daily conversations around science
topics. These are not vocabulary lists for students to memorize.
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:
- Use science process and thinking skills.
- Manifest science interests and attitudes.
- Understand important science concepts and principles.
- Communicate effectively using science language and reasoning.
- Demonstrate awareness of the social and historical aspects of science.
- Understand the nature of science.
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
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
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 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:
- Use Science Process and Thinking Skills
- Observe objects, events and patterns and record both qualitative and quantitative information.
- Use comparisons to help understand observations and phenomena.
- Evaluate, sort, and sequence data according to given criteria.
- Select and use appropriate technological instruments to collect and analyze data.
- Plan and conduct experiments in which students may:
- Identify a problem.
- Formulate research questions and hypotheses.
- Predict results of investigations based upon prior data.
- Identify variables and describe the relationships between them.
- Plan procedures to control independent variables.
- Collect data on the dependent variable(s).
- Select the appropriate format (e.g., graph, chart, diagram) and use it to summarize the data obtained.
- Analyze data, check it for accuracy and construct reasonable conclusions.
- Prepare written and oral reports of investigations.
- Distinguish between factual statements and inferences.
- Develop and use classification systems.
- Construct models, simulations and metaphors to describe and explain natural phenomena.
- Use mathematics as a precise method for showing relationships.
- Form alternative hypotheses to explain a problem.
- Manifest Scientific Attitudes and Interests
- Voluntarily read and study books and other materials about science.
- Raise questions about objects, events and processes that can be answered through scientific investigation.
- Maintain an open and questioning mind toward ideas and alternative points of view.
- Accept responsibility for actively helping to resolve social, ethical and ecological problems related to science and technology.
- Evaluate scientifically related claims against available evidence.
- Reject pseudoscience as a source of scientific knowledge.
- Demonstrate Understanding of Science Concepts, Principles and Systems
- Know and explain science information specified for the subject being studied.
- Distinguish between examples and non-examples of concepts that have been taught.
- Apply principles and concepts of science to explain various phenomena.
- Solve problems by applying science principles and procedures.
- Communicate Effectively Using Science Language and Reasoning
- Provide relevant data to support their inferences and conclusions.
- Use precise scientific language in oral and written communication.
- Use proper English in oral and written reports.
- Use reference sources to obtain information and cite the sources.
- Use mathematical language and reasoning to communicate information.
- Demonstrate Awareness of Social and Historical Aspects of Science
- Cite examples of how science affects human life.
- Give instances of how technological advances have influenced the progress of science and how science has influenced advances in technology.
- Understand the cumulative nature of scientific knowledge.
- Recognize contributions to science knowledge that have been made by both women and men.
- Demonstrate Understanding of the Nature of Science
- Science is a way of knowing that is used by many people, not just scientists.
- Understand that science investigations use a variety of methods and do not always use the same set of procedures; understand that there is not just one "scientific method."
- Science findings are based upon evidence.
- Understand that science conclusions are tentative and therefore never final. Understandings based upon these conclusions are subject to revision in light of new evidence.
- Understand that scientific conclusions are based on the assumption that natural laws operate today as they did in the past and that they will continue to do so in the future.
- Understand the use of the term "theory" in science, and that the scientific community validates each theory before it is accepted. If new evidence is discovered that the theory does not accommodate, the theory is generally modified in light of this new evidence.
- Understand that various disciplines of science are interrelated and share common rules of evidence to explain phenomena in the natural world.
- Understand that scientific inquiry is characterized by a common set of values that include logical thinking, precision, open-mindedness, objectivity, skepticism, replicability of results and honest and ethical reporting of findings. These values function as criteria in distinguishing between science and non-science.
- Understand that science and technology may raise ethical issues for which science, by itself, does not provide solutions.
Core Standards of the Course
Matter on Earth and in the universe is made of atoms that have structure, mass, and a common origin. The periodic table is used to organize elements by structure. A relationship exists between the chemical behavior and the structure of atoms. The periodic table reflects this relationship.
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 that all matter in the universe has a common origin and is made of atoms, which have structure and can be systematically arranged on the periodic table.
Recognize the origin and distribution of elements in the universe.
Identify evidence supporting the assumption that matter in the universe has a common origin.
Recognize that all matter in the universe and on earth is composed of the same elements.
Identify the distribution of elements in the universe.
Compare the occurrence of heavier elements on earth and the universe.
Relate the structure, behavior, and scale of an atom to the particles that compose it.
Summarize the major experimental evidence that led to the development of various atomic models, both historical and current.
Evaluate the limitations of using models to describe atoms.
Discriminate between the relative size, charge, and position of protons, neutrons, and electrons in the atom.
Generalize the relationship of proton number to the element’s identity.
Relate the mass and number of atoms to the gram-sized quantities of matter in a mole.
Correlate atomic structure and the physical and chemical properties of an element to the position of the element on the periodic table.
Use the periodic table to correlate the number of protons, neutrons, and electrons in an atom.
Compare the number of protons and neutrons in isotopes of the same element.
Identify similarities in chemical behavior of elements within a group.
Generalize trends in reactivity of elements within a group to trends in other groups.
Compare the properties of elements (e.g., metal, nonmetallic, metalloid) based on their position in the periodic table.
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.
Evaluate quantum energy changes in the atom in terms of the energy contained in light emissions.
Identify the relationship between wavelength and light energy.
Examine evidence from the lab indicating that energy is absorbed or released in discrete units when electrons move from one energy level to another.
Correlate the energy in a photon to the color of light emitted.
After observing spectral emissions in the lab (e.g., flame test, spectrum tubes), identify unknown elements by comparison to known emission spectra.
Evaluate how changes in the nucleus of an atom result in emission of radioactivity.
Recognize that radioactive particles and wavelike radiations are products of the decay of an unstable nucleus.
Interpret graphical data relating half-life and age of a radioactive substance.
Compare the mass, energy, and penetrating power of alpha, beta, and gamma radiation.
Compare the strong nuclear force to the amount of energy released in a nuclear reaction and contrast it to the amount of energy released in a chemical reaction.
After researching, evaluate and report the effects of nuclear radiation on humans or other organisms.
Atoms form bonds with other atoms by transferring or sharing electrons. The arrangement of electrons in an atom, particularly the valence electrons, determines how an atom can interact with other atoms.
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.
Students will understand chemical bonding and the relationship of the type of bonding to the chemical and physical properties of substances.
Analyze the relationship between the valence (outermost) electrons of an atom and the type of bond formed between atoms.
Determine the number of valence electrons in atoms using the periodic table.
Predict the charge an atom will acquire when it forms an ion by gaining or losing electrons.
Predict bond types based on the behavior of valence (outermost) electrons.
Compare covalent, ionic, and metallic bonds with respect to electron behavior and relative bond strengths.
Explain that the properties of a compound may be different from those of the elements or compounds from which it is formed.
Use a chemical formula to represent the names of elements and numbers of atoms in a compound and recognize that the formula is unique to the specific compound.
Compare the physical properties of a compound to the elements that form it.
Compare the chemical properties of a compound to the elements that form it.
Explain that combining elements in different proportions results in the formation of different compounds with different properties.
Relate the properties of simple compounds to the type of bonding, shape of molecules, and intermolecular forces.
Generalize, from investigations, the physical properties (e.g., malleability, conductivity, solubility) of substances with different bond types.
Given a model, describe the shape and resulting polarity of water, ammonia, and methane molecules.
Identify how intermolecular forces of hydrogen bonds in water affect a variety of physical, chemical, and biological phenomena (e.g., surface tension, capillary action, boiling point).
In a chemical reaction new substances are formed as atoms and molecules are rearranged. The concept of atoms explains the conservation of matter, since the number of atoms stays the same in a chemical reaction no matter how they are rearranged; the total mass stays the same. Although energy can be absorbed or released in a chemical reaction, the total amount of energy and matter in it remains constant. Many reactions attain a state of equilibrium. Many ordinary activities, such as baking, involve chemical reactions.
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.
Students will understand that in chemical reactions matter and energy change forms, but the amounts of matter and energy do not change.
Identify evidence of chemical reactions and demonstrate how chemical equations are used to describe them.
Generalize evidences of chemical reactions.
Compare the properties of reactants to the properties of products in a chemical reaction.
Use a chemical equation to describe a simple chemical reaction.
Recognize that the number of atoms in a chemical reaction does not change.
Determine the molar proportions of the reactants and products in a balanced chemical reaction.
Investigate everyday chemical reactions that occur in a student's home (e.g., baking, rusting, bleaching, cleaning).
Analyze evidence for the laws of conservation of mass and conservation of energy in chemical reactions.
Using data from quantitative analysis, identify evidence that supports the conservation of mass in a chemical reaction.
Use molar relationships in a balanced chemical reaction to predict the mass of product produced in a simple chemical reaction that goes to completion.
Report evidence of energy transformations in a chemical reaction.
After observing or measuring, classify evidence of temperature change in a chemical reaction as endothermic or exothermic.
Using either a constructed or a diagrammed electrochemical cell, describe how electrical energy can be produced in a chemical reaction (e.g., half reaction, electron transfer).
Using collected data, report the loss or gain of heat energy in a chemical reaction.
Students will understand that many factors influence chemical reactions and some reactions can achieve a state of dynamic equilibrium.
Evaluate factors specific to collisions (e.g., temperature, particle size, concentration, and catalysts) that affect the rate of chemical reaction.
Design and conduct an investigation of the factors affecting reaction rate and use the findings to generalize the results to other reactions.
Use information from graphs to draw warranted conclusions about reaction rates.
Correlate frequency and energy of collisions to reaction rate.
Identify that catalysts are effective in increasing reaction rates.
Recognize that certain reactions do not convert all reactants to products, but achieve a state of dynamic equilibrium that can be changed.
Explain the concept of dynamic equilibrium.
Given an equation, identify the effect of adding either product or reactant to a shift in equilibrium.
Indicate the effect of a temperature change on the equilibrium, using an equation showing a heat term.
Solutions make up many of the ordinary substances encountered in everyday life.
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.
Students will understand the properties that describe solutions in terms of concentration, solutes, solvents, and the behavior of acids and bases.
Describe factors affecting the process of dissolving and evaluate the effects that changes in concentration have on solutions.
Use the terms solute and solvent in describing a solution.
Sketch a solution at the particle level.
Describe the relative amount of solute particles in concentrated and dilute solutions and express concentration in terms of molarity and molality.
Design and conduct an experiment to determine the factors (e.g., agitation, particle size, temperature) affecting the relative rate of dissolution.
Relate the concept of parts per million (PPM) to relevant environmental issues found through research.
Summarize the quantitative and qualitative effects of colligative properties on a solution when a solute is added.
Identify the colligative properties of a solution.
Measure change in boiling and/or freezing point of a solvent when a solute is added.
Describe how colligative properties affect the behavior of solutions in everyday applications (e.g., road salt, cold packs, antifreeze).
Differentiate between acids and bases in terms of hydrogen ion concentration.
Relate hydrogen ion concentration to pH values and to the terms acidic, basic or neutral.
Using an indicator, measure the pH of common household solutions and standard laboratory solutions, and identify them as acids or bases.
Determine the concentration of an acid or a base using a simple acid-base titration.
Research and report on the uses of acids and bases in industry, agriculture, medicine, mining, manufacturing, or construction.
Evaluate mechanisms by which pollutants modify the pH of various environments (e.g., aquatic, atmospheric, soil).
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(USHE). Send questions or comments to USBE Specialist -
and see the Science - Secondary website. For
general questions about Utah's Core Standards contact the Director
- Jennifer Throndsen .
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