The Chemistry Standards Road Trip

The Next Generation Science Standards have been an ongoing discussion in my department meetings. For chemistry teachers, these standards seem really incomplete. While biology is seemingly kept whole, much of chemistry and physics has been chopped to make room for earth and space science. Here are some responses for the AAPT and ACS: link.

While we wait for learning objectives to be revealed for the NGSS, I have been looking at my own standards and wondering what I would so to change the NGSS and my own system. So I decided that I’m going to undertake a virtual road trip through every state with explicit chemistry standards. But of course, I will start at home and return to home with hopefully a new appreciation and new set of standards for myself. I hope that you will join me and provide feed back, as I will like every set of standards in each post. This week I will start with my own. Next week will be Pennsylvania’s standards, here’s the link.

My experience with standards has been short. I started teaching in private schools and only decided to restructure my curriculum when I moved to my current school last year. As part of the transition, I took my new schools chemistry curriculum and reorganized it into learning objectives. This then served as a foundation for my hybrid SBG system. Right now thirty percent of my students’ grades are based on a mastery approach to the learning objectives covered. They are tested over 2 new learning objectives a week and can retake a similar number of objectives each week at designated times. If they do better, the new grade replaces the old. This system has been kind of crazy to implement. But with some logistical planning, it now runs pretty smoothly. I would still love to make it paperless, but until we have a one-to-one program or better laptop access in the class, I don’t see how I can do it securely.

Here are the standards I started the year with. What do you think?

Matter and Change
1. Distinguish between chemical and physical properties and changes.
2. Describe the microscopic and macroscopic properties of solids, liquids and gasses.
3. Describe and distinguish between the nature and properties of elements, compounds and mixtures.

Periodic Table
1. Describe the organization of elements on the Periodic Table with regard to chemical properties, atomic number and atomic mass.
2. Make use of periodicity to predict a property of an element
3. Distinguish between families and periods on the Periodic Table
4. Locate metals, metalloids, and non-metals on the Periodic Table
5. Predict trends among elements with respect to atomic radius, ionization energy, electronegativity, and metallic and non-metallic reactivity

Atomic Structure
1. Identify the three types of particles making up atoms and describe their location within the atom
2. Describe the Bohr and Quantum Mechanical models of atomic orbitals.
3. Identify the valence electrons of an atom
4. Employ Lewis electron-dot symbols to represent the valence electrons of atoms, ions and molecules
5. Write the electron configuration for an atom or ion using the Periodic Table.
6. Using Lewis electron-dot symbols, depict the sharing of electrons between atoms in creation of a covalent or metallic bond
7. Understand the octet rule and its implications in the formation of ions and bonds.
8. Relate the gaining, losing or sharing of valence electrons to achieve the same electron configuration as the nearest Noble or rare
gas to the formation of ionic and covalent bonds

Bonding and Nomenclature
1. Classify a molecular bond as non-polar covalent, polar covalent or ionic using the Pauling Table of Electronegativities
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the concept of electronegativity by predicting partial positive and partial negative charges at bonding atoms and relate this molecular polarity to molecular geometry
3. Describe the process by which a neutral atom forms a positive or negative ion and be able to predict charges of monoatomic ions from Group I-VII.
4. Name (correct spelling) and write the formula for common monatomic and polyatomic ions
5. Name and write the formulas for simple ionic compounds
6. Name and write the formulas for binary covalent compounds

Molecular Properties
1. Describe the mole as a unit.
2. Given the formula of a species, determine its molar mass
3. Calculate the molarity of a solution

1. Demonstrate proficiency in making basic measurements with common laboratory instruments
2. Employ the metric system in making measurements and utilize the factor label method for measurement conversions
3. Describe the meaning of precision and accuracy
4. Determine the number of significant digits for any measurement and subsequent calculations using these values

Dimensional Analysis
1. Be able to create and use conversion factors
2. Convert moles to grams and grams to moles.
3. Convert moles to atoms, molecules, or formula units and atoms, molecules or formula units to moles
4. At STP, convert moles to liters of gas and liters of a gas to moles.

Equations and Stoichiometry
1. Balance chemical equations.
2. Identify the five types of reactions and be able to predict products
3. Use balanced equations to determine theoretical yield, in mass and moles, of products for a given reaction.
4. Use stoichiometry to calculate percent yeild.
5. Determine the amount of a reactant needed when given the amount of another reactant or product.
6. Combine stoichiometry with known molar conversions to include the concepts of particles and volume.

Solutions and Solubility
1. Define a solution
2. Use molarity (M) to describe and quantify the concentration of a solution.
3. Use a balanced equation along with the molarity of a solution to perform stoichiometric determination(s).

Phases of Matter
1. Relate Kinetic Molecular Theory to states of matter.
2. Distinguish between conditions necessary to support solid, liquid and gas phases of matter
3. Interpret temperature/pressure phase diagrams to determine the phase of matter that exists within with specific parameters

Gas Laws
1. Use experimental observation and/or data to derive a mathematical relationship between the pressure and temperature, the pressure and volume and the volume and temperature of a gas.
2. Determine the effect of a change in one or more variables (P, V, T and n) on the value of another variable using initial conditions and final conditions.
3. Using the ideal gas law, solve for one variable, knowing the values of three other variables (P,V,T,n).
4. Relate the volume of a gas involved in a reaction outside of STP conditions, to the amount of another reactant or product.
5. List the assumptions made about Ideal gases and the conditions where gases obey the Ideal Gas Law and conditions where variations occur

Equilibrium, Acids and Bases
1. Discover equilibrium as representing equal rates, not equal concentrations
2. Predict the effects of stress on an equilibrium system
3. Understand the differences between strong and weak acids/bases
4. Explain why weak acids/bases are found within living systems, but unless contained, strong acids/bases are not
5. Acquire familiarity with acid base terminology through observation of the behavior of H+ ions with indicators
6. Use H+ ion concentration to calculate pH of acid/base solutions, and pH of the solution to calculate H+ concentration
7. Be able to perform titrations to a stoichiometric endpoint
8. Understand and apply the terms, endpoint, neutralization, indicator and equivalence

Reduction and Oxidation
1. Determine oxidation states for elements in compounds and ions
2. Identify the element being oxidized and reduced in a redox equation
3. Be able to identify combustion reactions as reduction reactions by determining the oxidation states of products and reactants
4. Build and predict the potential of a standard electrochemical cell, using tables of reduction potentials
5. Understand how batteries provide energy (galvanic cells) and some are able to be recharged (electrolytic cells)
6. Balance redox equations

1. Interpret or develop heating and cooling curves.
2. Use phase diagrams to determine the energy needed/released for phase changes
3. Use a coffee cup calorimeter to determine the specific heat and energy of phase changes.
4. Use a soda can calorimeter to calculate enthalpies of combustion for food items


One thought on “The Chemistry Standards Road Trip

  1. I am a pre-service teacher at Illinois State University. I was observing a teacher that was talking about the New Generation Standards and talked about how it is changing the way people get to teach. Do you think these new standards are going to change the way you teach? Or improve it?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s