Chemistry Learning Goals (2016-2017)

Updated for 2016-2017 school year

This post is going to be quite practical. The backbone of any standards-based grading system is a solid list of learning goals (targets, objectives, standards, whatever your school calls them). These are the standards I used last school year. I will probably tweak them before next year and I hope to get through more content this year and add another unit of learning goals. Feel free to borrow these or use them as inspiration for your own!

Unit 1: Physical Properties of Matter

1.1 – I can represent elements, compounds and molecules as “hard spheres” in particle models

1.2 – I can apply the Law of Conservation of Mass to situations involving chemical and physical change

1.3 – I can define mass, volume, and density in terms of a substance’s particles using appropriate units

1.4 – I can apply the relationship between mass, volume and density to solve quantitative problems
Unit 2: Energy and States of Matter Part 1

2.1 – I can represent the characteristics (motion, arrangement, and attraction) of particles in different states of matter

2.2 – I can relate the temperature of a substance to the average kinetic energy of its particles

2.3 – I can relate the pressure a gas exerts to the number of collisions its particles make with a surface

2.4 – I can determine the partial pressure of a particular gas in a mixture

2.5 – I can predict the effect of changing the pressure, volume, or temperature of a gas on other variables when two variables are held constant

2.6 – I can predict the effect of changing the pressure, volume, or temperature of a gas on other variables when one variable is held constant

Unit 3: Energy and States of Matter Part 2

3.1 – I can describe the energy transfer between a system and its surrounding during a phase or temperature change as endothermic or exothermic

3.2 – I can recognize that energy can be stored in an object or system as thermal energy or phase energy

3.3 – I can draw an energy bar graph to account for energy transfer and storage in all sorts of changes

3.4 – I can identify phases present and the various phase change temperatures for substances from a heating/cooling curve

3.5 – I can state the physical meaning of heat of fusion, heat of vaporization, and heat capacity

3.6 – I can calculate the quantity of energy transferred, mass of substance involved, or temperature change for a system that has undergone a temperature change

3.7 – I can calculate the quantity of energy transferred, mass of substance involved, or temperature change for a system that has undergone a phase change
Unit 4: Describing Substances

4.1 – I can distinguish among elements, compounds, pure substances, and mixtures

4.2 – I can distinguish between solutions, suspensions and colloids and describe the unique properties of each

4.3 – I can determine how the boiling point and freezing points of a solution differ from those of a pure substance

4.4 – I can state features of Dalton’s model of the atom
Unit 5: Particles with Internal Structure

5.1 – I can explain how ions are formed and how they combine to form neutral substances

5.2 – I can determine the oxidation numbers for various elements in a compound

5.3 – I can distinguish between metals and nonmetals and describe the unique properties of each

5.4 – I can distinguish between ionic, molecular, and atomic solids and describe the unique properties of each

5.5 – I can name and write formulas for ionic compounds

5.6 – I can name and write formulas for molecular compounds

5.7 – I can determine whether a substance is ionic or molecular from the name or formula of a substance

Unit 6: Chemical Reactions: Particles and Energy

6.1 – I can identify evidence of chemical reactions in terms of macroscopic observations

6.2 – I can write balanced chemical equations

6.3 – I can explain that coefficients in a chemical equation describe the quantities of substances involved and subscripts describe the number of atoms involved

6.4 – I can identify basic patterns in the way substances react (reaction types) and use them to predict products

6.5 – I can describe endothermic and exothermic reactions in terms of storage or release of chemical potential energy
Unit 7: Counting Particles Too Small to See

7.1 – I can convert between mass and moles of an element or compound

7.2 – I can convert between the number of particles and moles of an element or compound

7.3 – I can relate the molar concentration (molarity) of a solution to the number of moles and volume of the solution

7.4 – I can determine the empirical formula of a compound given the mass or percent composition

7.5 – I can determine the molecular formula of a compound given the mass or percent composition and molar mass
Unit 8: Stoichiometry

8.1 – I can calculate the number of moles of reactants and products in a chemical reaction from the number of moles of one reactant or product

8.2 – I can determine the theoretical yield for a reaction

8.3 – I can determine the percent yield for a reaction

8.4 – I can determine the limiting reactant in a chemical reaction

8.5 – I can use the ideal gas law equation to determine the number of moles in a sample of gas not at standard conditions
Unit 9: Acids and Bases

9.1 – I can distinguish between acids and bases and describe the ions they form

9.2 – I can write the balanced equation for a proton-transfer reaction

9.3 – I can define pH as the negative log concentration of hydronium ions in a solution

9.4 – I can write the names and formulas of common binary acids and oxyacids

9.5 – I can predict the products of a neutralization reaction between a strong acid and strong base

9.6 – I can distinguish between strong acids and bases and weak acids and bases
Unit 10: The Nucleus

10.1 – I can draw the models of the atom proposed by Thomson and Rutherford.

10.2 – I can state the location in the atom, the charge, and the relative mass of protons and neutrons

10.3 – I can distinguish between the atomic number, mass number and atomic mass for an element

10.4 – I can calculate the average molar mass of an element using mass spectrometry data

10.5 – I can describe the three types of nuclear radiation in terms of mass, charge, penetrating power, ionization potential and biological hazard

10.6 – I can write a balanced equation for a nuclear decay reaction

10.7 – I can use the concept of half-life to solve for the fraction of original material remaining,
elapsed time, or half-life

10.8 – I can analyze the pros and cons of nuclear technology including fission and fusion applications
Unit 11: Beyond the Nucleus

11.1 – I can draw the model of the atom proposed by Bohr

11.2 – I can represent the first 20 elements on the periodic table using men-in-well diagrams

11.3 – I can account for periodic trends in ionization energy, atomic radius and electronegativity

11.4 – I can represent the first 20 elements on the periodic table using electron configurations

11.5 – I can visualize the 3D molecular geometry of simple molecular compounds

11.6 – I can construct Lewis structures for simple molecular compounds

11.7 – I can determine whether a simple molecular compound is polar or non-polar

11.8 – I can identify the intermolecular attractions at work in a substance and their implications on material
Laboratory Skills

Lab.1 – I can conduct and clean up laboratory experiments properly and safely

Lab.2 – I can identify the hypothesis to be tested, phenomenon to be investigated, or the problem to be

Lab.3 – I can document experimental procedures clearly and completely

Lab.4 – I can record observations and experimental data neatly and accurately

Lab.5 – I can justify conclusions using experimental evidence
Communication Skills

Com.1 – I can communicate precision of measurements and calculations using significant figures

Com.2 – I can analyze the slope and y-intercept for a line of best fit to explain a scientific relationship.

Com.3 – I can convert between units of measurement



5 responses to “Chemistry Learning Goals (2016-2017)

  1. I have never heard of a men-in-well diagram. What is it?


    • Men in well diagrams are part of the Modeling Instruction curriculum (unit 11 I think). They are a way of representing energy levels for electrons using ionization energy data. They are great for explaining trends in ionization energies and atomic radii. Basically, it takes energy to remove an electron from an atom because the electrostatic attractions (like pulling a man out of a well). If there are two electrons, it takes less energy to remove the first one because of the repulsion from the other electron (like one man is standing on the other’s shoulders to get out of the well). If there are three electrons, there is a noticeable energy gap between the first and second ionization energies (like there is a ledge in the well). I have students draw the men in well diagrams for the first 20 elements using ionization energy data to introduce the Bohr model.


  2. Pingback: Honors Chemistry Learning Targets | The Model So Far...

  3. Molly Cronlund

    As a new Chemistry teacher, is there any way I could contact you (via email) to ask questions about all of your supporting materials for these regular chemistry learning goals? I’ve very much interested in incorporating these learning targets into my instruction practice! Thank you!


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