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HS Chemistry Overview

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Unit 1: Structure and Properties of Matter

Instructional Days: 30

In this unit of study, students use investigations, simulations, and models to makes sense of the substructure of atoms and to provide more mechanistic explanations of the properties of substances. Chemical reactions, including rates of reactions and energy changes, can be understood by students at this level in terms of the collisions of molecules and the rearrangements of atoms. Students are able to use the periodic table as a tool to explain and predict the properties of elements. Students are expected to communicate scientific and technical information about why the molecular-level structure is important in the functioning of designed materials. The crosscutting concepts of structure and function, patterns, energy and matter, and stability and change are called out as the framework for understanding the disciplinary core ideas. Students use developing and using models, planning and conducting investigations, using mathematical thinking, and constructing explanations and designing solutions. Students are also expected to use the science and engineering practices to demonstrate proficiency with the core ideas.
This unit is based on HS-PS1-1, HS-PS1-2, HS-PS1-3, HS-PS2-6, HS-ETS1-3, and HS-ETS1-4.

Unit 2: The Chemistry of Abiotic Systems

Instructional Days: 20

In this unit of study, students develop and use models, plan and carry out investigations, analyze and interpret data, and engage in argument from evidence to make sense of energy as a quantitative property of a system—a property that depends on the motion and interactions of matter and radiation within that system. They will also use the findings of investigations to provide a mechanistic explanation for the core idea that total change of energy in any system is always equal to the total energy transferred into or out of the system. Additionally, students develop an understanding that energy, at both the macroscopic and the atomic scales, can be accounted for as motions of particles or as energy associated with the configurations (relative positions) of particles.
Students apply their understanding of energy to explain the role that water plays in affecting weather. Students examine the ways that human activities cause feedback that create changes to other systems. Students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in developing and using models, planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, engaging in argument from evidence, and using these practices to demonstrate understanding of core ideas.
Students also develop possible solutions for major global problems. They begin by breaking these problems into smaller problems that can be tackled with engineering methods. To evaluate potential solutions, students are expected not only to consider a wide range of criteria, but also to recognize that criteria need to be prioritized.
This unit is based on HS-PS3-4, HS-ESS2-5, HS-ESS3-2, and HS-ETS1-3.

Unit 2B: Energy of Chemical Systems

                                                        Instructional Days: 20

Unit 2B is use in a chemistry course when Unit 2: The Chemistry of Abiotic Systems is taught in the Capstone Science Course. In Energy of Chemical Systems, students will understand energy as a quantitative property of a system—a property that depends on the motion and interactions of matter and radiation within that system. They will also understand that the total change of energy in any system is always equal to the total energy transferred into or out of the system. Students develop an understanding that energy, at both the macroscopic and the atomic scales, can be accounted for as motions of particles or as energy associated with the configurations (relative positions) of particles.
Students understand the role that water plays in affecting weather. Students can examine the ways that human activities cause feedback that create changes to other systems. Students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in developing and using models, planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, engaging in argument from evidence, and using these practices to demonstrate understanding of core ideas.
This unit is based on HS-PS3-4.

Unit 3: Bonding and Chemical Reactions

Instructional Days: 30

In this unit of study, students develop and using models, plan and conduct investigations, use mathematical thinking, and construct explanations and design solutions as they develop an understanding of the substructure of atoms and to provide more mechanistic explanations of the properties of substances. Chemical reactions, including rates of reactions and energy changes, can be understood by students at this level in terms of the collisions of molecules and the rearrangements of atoms. Students also apply an understanding of the process of optimization and engineering design to chemical reaction systems. The crosscutting concepts of patterns, energy and matter, and stability and change are the organizing concepts for these disciplinary core ideas. Students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in developing and using models, planning and conducting investigations, using mathematical thinking, and constructing explanations and designing solutions.
This unit is based on HS-PS1-7, HS-PS1-4, HS-PS1-5, HS-PS1-6, and HS-ETS1-2.

Unit 4: Matter and Energy in Living Systems

Instructional Days: 20

In this unit of study, students construct explanations for the role of energy in the cycling of matter in organisms. They apply mathematical concepts to develop evidence to support explanations of the interactions of photosynthesis and cellular respiration and develop models to communicate these explanations. The crosscutting concept of matter and energy provides students with insights into the structures and processes of organisms. Students are expected to develop and use models, plan and conduct investigations, use mathematical thinking, and construct explanations and design solutions as they demonstrate proficiency with the disciplinary core ideas.
This unit is based on HS-LS1-7 and HS-LS1-6.

Unit 5: Nuclear Chemistry

Instructional Days: 30

In this unit of study, energy and matter are studied further by investigating the processes of nuclear fusion and fission that govern the formation, evolution, and workings of the solar system in the universe. Some concepts studied are fundamental to science and demonstrate scale, proportion, and quantity, such as understanding how the matter of the world formed during the Big Bang and within the cores of stars over the cycle of their lives.
In addition, an important aspect of Earth and space sciences involves understanding the concept of stability and change while making inferences about events in Earth's history based on a data record that is increasingly incomplete the farther one goes back in time. A mathematical analysis of radiometric dating is used to comprehend how absolute ages are obtained for the geologic record.
The crosscutting concepts of energy and matter; scale, proportion, and quantity; and stability and change are called out as organizing concepts for this unit. Students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in developing and using models; constructing explanations and designing solutions; using mathematical and computational thinking; and obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information; and they are expected to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas.
This unit is based on HS-PS1-8, HS-ESS1-3, HS-ESS1-1, HS-ESS1-2, and HS-ESS1-6

Unit 6: Human Impact: The Chemistry of Sustainability

Instructional Days: 30

In this unit of study, students use cause and effect to develop models and explanations for the ways that feedbacks among different Earth systems control the appearance of Earth's surface. Central to this is the tension between internal systems, which are largely responsible for creating land at Earth's surface (e.g., volcanism and mountain building), and the sun-driven surface systems that tear down the land through weathering and erosion. Students begin to examine the ways that human activities cause feedbacks that create changes to other systems. Students understand the system interactions that control weather and climate, with a major emphasis on the mechanisms and implications of climate change. Students model the flow of energy and matter between different components of the weather system and how this affects chemical cycles such as the carbon cycle. Engineering and technology figure prominently here, as students use mathematical thinking and the analysis of geoscience data to examine and construct solutions to the many challenges facing long-term human sustainability on Earth. Here students will use these geoscience data to explain climate change over a wide range of timescales, including over one to ten years: large volcanic eruption, ocean circulation; ten to hundreds of years: changes in human activity, ocean circulation, solar output; tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years: changes to Earth's orbit and the orientation of its axis; and tens of millions to hundreds of millions of years: long-term changes in atmospheric composition).
This unit is based on HS-ESS2-4, HS-ESS2-6, HS-ETS1-1, HS-ETS1-2, HS-ETS1-3, and HS-ETS1-4.
Note: The number of instructional days is an estimate based on the information available at this time. 1 day equals approximately 42 minutes of seat time. Teachers are strongly encouraged to review the entire unit of study carefully and collaboratively to determine whether adjustments to this estimate need to be made.


This unit can be taught in either Chemistry or as part of the Capstone Science Course. If this unit is transferred to the Capstone Course, an abbreviated unit on Energy, based on HS—PS3-4, must be provided in its place.

and 3 This unit can be taught in either Chemistry or as part of the Capstone Science Course.