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Science process skills should be based on a series of discoveries. Students learn most effectively when they have a central role in the discovery process. To that end, Standards 1, 2, 6, and 7 incorporate in the Chemistry Core Curriculum a student- centered, problem-solving approach to chemistry. This list is not intended to be an all-inclusive list of the content or skills that teachers are expected to incorporate into their curriculum. It should be a goal of the instructor to encourage science process skills that will provide students with background and curiosity to investigate important issues in the world around them.

STANDARD 1—Analysis, Inquiry, and Design

Students will use mathematical analysis, scientific inquiry, and engineering design, as appropriate, to pose questions, seek answers, and develop solutions.

STANDARD 1—Analysis, Inquiry, and Design

Mathematical Analysis

Key Idea 1:

Abstraction and symbolic representation are used to communicate mathematically.

Key Idea 2:

Deductive and inductive reasoning are used to reach mathematical conclusions.

Key Idea 3:

Critical thinking skills are used in the solution of mathematical problems.

STANDARD 1—Analysis, Inquiry, and Design

Scientific Inquiry

Key Idea 1:

The central purpose of scientific inquiry is to develop explanations of natural phenomena in a continuing, creative process.

Key Idea 2:

Beyond the use of reasoning and consensus, scientific inquiry involves the testing of proposed explanations involving the use of conventional techniques and procedures and usually requiring considerable ingenuity.

Key Idea 3:

The observations made while testing proposed explanations, when analyzed using conventional and invented methods, provide new insights into phenomena.

STANDARD 1—Analysis, Inquiry, and Design

Engineering Design

Key Idea 1:

Engineering design is an iterative process involving modeling and optimization (finding the best solution within given constraints); this process is used to develop technological solutions to problems within given constraints.

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STANDARD 2—Information Systems

Students will access, generate, process, and transfer information using appropriate technologies.

Key Idea 1:

Information technology is used to retrieve, process, and communicate information as a tool to enhance learning.

Examples include:

·   use the Internet as a source to retrieve information for classroom use, e.g., Periodic Table, acid rain

Key Idea 2:

Knowledge of the impacts and limitations of information systems is essential to its effectiveness and ethical use.

Examples include:

·    critically assess the value of information with or without benefit of scientific backing and supporting data, and evaluate the effect such information could have on public judgment or opinion, e.g., environmental issues

·   discuss the use of the peer-review process in the scientific community and explain its value in maintaining the integrity of scientific publication, e.g., “cold fusion”

STANDARD 6—Interconnectedness: Common Themes

Students will understand the relationships and common themes that connect mathematics, science, and technology and apply the themes to these and other areas of learning.

STANDARD 6—Interconnectedness: Common Themes

Systems Thinking

Key Idea 1:

Through systems thinking, people can recognize the commonalities that exist among all systems and how parts of a system interrelate and combine to perform specific functions.

Examples include:

·   use the concept of systems and surroundings to describe heat flow in a chemical or physical change, e.g., dissolving process

Key Idea 2:

Models are simplified representations of objects, structures, or systems used in analysis, explanation, interpretation, or design.

STANDARD 6—Interconnectedness: Common Themes

Magnitude and Scale

Key Idea 3:

The grouping of magnitudes of size, time, frequency, and pressures or other units of measurement into a series of relative order provides a useful way to deal with the immense range and the changes in scale that affect the behavior and design of systems.

STANDARD 6—Interconnectedness: Common Themes

Equilibrium and Stability

Key Idea 4:

Equilibrium is a state of stability due either to a lack of change (static equilibrium) or a balance between opposing forces (dynamic equilibrium).

Key Idea 5:

Identifying patterns of change is necessary for making predictions about future behavior and conditions.

Examples include:

·    use graphs to make predictions, e.g., half-life, solubility

·   use graphs to identify patterns and interpret experimental data, e.g., heating and cooling curves

STANDARD 7—Interdisciplinary Problem Solving


Students will apply the knowledge and thinking skills of mathematics, science, and technology to address real-life problems and make informed decisions.

Key Idea 1:

The knowledge and skills of mathematics, science, and technology are used together to make informed decisions and solve problems, especially those relating to issues of science/technology/society, consumer decision making, design, and inquiry into phenomena.

Key Idea 2:

Solving interdisciplinary problems involves a variety of skills and strategies, including effective work habits; gathering and processing information; generating and analyzing ideas; realizing ideas; making connections among the common themes of mathematics, science, and technology; and presenting results.

If students are asked to do a project, then the project would require students to:

·    work effectively

·    gather and process information

·    generate and analyze ideas

·    observe common themes

·   realize ideas

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STANDARD 4—The Physical Setting

Students will understand and apply scientific concepts, principles, and theories pertaining to the physical setting and living environment and recognize the historical development of ideas in science.

Note: The use of e.g. denotes examples which may be used for in-depth study. The terms for example and such as denote material which is testable. Items in parentheses denote further definition of the word(s) preceding the item and are testable.

Key Idea 3:

Matter is made up of particles whose properties determine the observable characteristics of matter and its reactivity.

Chemistry is the study of matter—its properties and its changes. The idea that matter is made up of particles is over 2000 years old, but the idea of using properties of these particles to explain observable characteristics of matter has more recent origins. In ancient Greece, it was proposed that matter is composed of particles of four elements (earth, air, water, and fire) and that these particles are in continual motion. The idea that particles could explain properties

of matter was not used for about 2000 years. In the late 1600s the properties of air were attributed to its particulate nature; however, these particles were not thought to be fundamental. Instead, it was thought that they could change into other particles with different properties.

In the late 1750s solid evidence about the nature of matter, gained through quantitative scientific experiments, accumulated. Such evidence included the finding that during a chemical reaction matter was conserved.

In the early1800s a theory was proposed to explain these experimental facts. In this theory, atoms were hard, indivisible spheres of different sizes and they combined in simple whole-number ratios to form compounds. The further treatment of particles of matter as hard spheres in continual motion resulted in the 1800s in the kinetic molecular theory

of matter, which was used to explain the properties of gases.

In the late 1800s evidence was discovered that particles of matter could not be considered hard spheres; instead, particles were found to have an internal structure. The development of cathode ray tubes, and subsequent experiments with them in the 1860s, led to the proposal that small, negatively charged particles—electrons—are part of the internal structure of atoms. In the early 1900s, to explain the results of the "gold foil experiment," a small, dense nucleus was proposed to be at the center of the atom with electrons moving about in the empty space surrounding the nucleus. Around this time, energy was proposed to exist in small, indivisible packets called quanta. This theory was used to develop a model of the atom which had a central nucleus surrounded by shells of electrons. The model was successful in explaining the spectra of the hydrogen atom and was used to explain aspects of chemical bonding.

Additional experiments with radioactivity provided evidence that atomic nuclei contained protons and neutrons.

Further investigation into the nature of the electron determined that it has wave-like properties. This feature was incorporated into the wave-mechanical model of the atom, our most sophisticated model, and is necessary to explain the spectra of multi-electron atoms..

Key Idea 4:

Energy exists in many forms, and when these forms change energy is conserved.

Throughout history, humankind has tried to effectively use and convert various forms of energy. Energy is used to do work that makes life more productive and enjoyable. The Law of Conservation of Matter and Energy applies to phase changes, chemical changes, and nuclear changes that help run our modern world. With a complete under- standing of these processes and their application to the modern world comes a responsibility to take care of waste, limit pollution, and decrease potential risks..

Key Idea 5:

Energy and matter interact through forces that result in changes in motion.

Atoms and molecules are in constant motion. Chemical bonding between atoms involves energy and the interaction of electrons with atomic nuclei. Intermolecular attractions, which may be temporary, occur when there is an asymmetric distribution of charge.

Within all chemical interactions, matter and energy are conserved according to the Law of Conservation of Matter and Energy. During a chemical change energy is absorbed or released as bonds are broken or formed. In maintaining conservation of matter and energy, nuclear changes convert matter into energy. The energy released during a nuclear change is much greater than the energy released during a chemical change.

The discovery of the energy stored in the nucleus of an atom, its uses, and its inherent benefits and risks is a continuing process that began with the serendipitous detection of the first radioactive isotope. Early researchers added to this knowledge and expanded our ability to utilize this newly discovered phenomenon. Using radioactivity, the inner structure of the atom was defined by other researchers. Scientists involved in the development of nuclear fission and the atomic bomb explored both peaceful and destructive uses of nuclear energy. Modern researchers continue to search for ways in which the power of the nucleus can be used for the betterment of the world.


I. Atomic Concepts

I.1 The modern model of the atom has evolved over a long period of time through the work of many scientists. (3.1a)

I.2 Each atom has a nucleus, with an overall positive charge, surrounded by one or more negatively charged electrons. (3.1b)

I.3 Subatomic particles contained in the nucleus include protons and neutrons. (3.1c)

I.4 The proton is positively charged, and the neutron has no charge. The electron is negatively charged.


I.5 Protons and electrons have equal but opposite charges. The number of protons equals the number of electrons in an atom. (3.1e)

I.6 The mass of each proton and each neutron is approximately equal to one atomic mass unit. An electron is much less massive than a proton or a neutron. (3.1f)

I.7 In the wave-mechanical model (electron cloud model), the electrons are in orbitals, which are defined as the regions of the most probable electron location (ground state). (3.1h)

I.8 Each electron in an atom has its own distinct amount of energy. (3.1i)

I.9 When an electron in an atom gains a specific amount of energy, the electron is at a higher energy state (excited state). (3.1j)

I.10 When an electron returns from a higher energy state to a lower energy state, a specific amount of energy

is emitted. This emitted energy can be used to identify an element. (3.1k)

I.11 The outermost electrons in an atom are called the valence electrons. In general, the number of valence electrons affects the chemical properties of an element. (3.1l)

I.12 Atoms of an element that contain the same number of protons but a different number of neutrons are called isotopes of that element. (3.1m)

I.13 The average atomic mass of an element is the weighted average of the masses of its naturally occurring isotopes. (3.1n)

This section contains ten topic areas in which the major understandings found in the core are sorted by content topic. These ten topic areas may be used for ease in curriculum writing; however, they do not connote a suggested scope and sequence.

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