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New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards

May 1996

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Science Standards And Progress Indicators
Standard 5.8:
All Students Will Gain An Understanding Of The Structure And Behavior Of Matter

Descriptive Statement: Exploring the nature of matter and energy is essential to an understanding of the physical universe. This standard leads students from their experiences with the states and properties of matter, to the development of models of the atom and the underlying principles of chemistry.

Cumulative Progress Indicators

By the end of Grade 4, students:


Describe and sort objects according to the materials from which they are made and their physical properties.


Recognize that matter can exist as a solid, liquid, or gas, and can be transformed from one state to another by heating or cooling.


Investigate matter by observing materials under magnification.

Building upon knowledge and skills gained in the preceding grades, by the end of Grade 8, students:


Identify characteristic properties of matter, and use one or more of those properties to separate a mixture of substances.


Show how substances can react with each other to form new substances having characteristic properties different from those of the original substances.


Know that all matter is made up of atoms that may join together to form molecules, and that the state of matter is determined by the arrangement and motion of the atoms or molecules.


Explain how atoms are rearranged when substances react, but that the total number of atoms and the total mass of the newly formed substances remains the same as that of the original substances.


Explain that over 100 different atoms, corresponding to over 100 different elements, have been identified and can be grouped according to their similar properties.

Building upon knowledge and skills gained in the preceding grades, by the end of Grade 12, students:


Know that atoms consist of a nucleus surrounded by electrons, and that the arrangement of the electrons determines the chemical behavior of each element.


Know that the nucleus consists of protons and neutrons, and that each atom of a given element has the same number of protons, but that the number of neutrons may vary.


Explain how atoms can form bonds to other atoms by transferring or sharing electrons.


Demonstrate different types of chemical reactions and the various factors affecting reaction rates.


Explain how the Periodic Table of Elements evolved and how it relates atomic structure to the physical and chemical properties of the elements.



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