How Many Science Credits Do You Need to Graduate High School in Alabama?
In Alabama, high school students are required to obtain 4 credits in Science. These credits are split between 3 different categories. Additionally, Alabama requires students to pass a high school exit exam. Students must achieve a passing grade in each of the following:
- Biology* — 1 credit
- A physical science (Chemistry, Physics, Physical Science)* — 1 credit
- Two credits from Alabama Course of Study for Science or equivalent/substitute courses from Career and Technical Education/Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate/postsecondary courses/SDE approved courses.
*Equivalent/substitute options may include: Career and Technical Education/Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate/postsecondary courses/SDE approved courses.
Is Chemistry Required in High School in Alabama?
According to the Alabama State Department of Education, the current high school graduation requirements for science state that chemistry is an elective course that satisfies one of the four required credits. The core standards of chemistry courses include three main ideas:
- Matter and its interactions
- Motion and stability
In order to successfully complete the course, students will need to have a broad understanding of these core ideas. To prepare students for these, they will need to examine the following principles.
Matter and its Interactions
- Obtain and communicate information from historical experiments (e.g., work by Mendeleev and Moseley, Rutherford’s gold foil experiment, Thomson’s cathode ray experiment, Millikan’s oil drop experiment, Bohr’s interpretation of bright line spectra) to determine the structure and function of an atom and to analyze the patterns represented in the periodic table.
- Develop and use models of atomic nuclei to explain why the abundance-weighted average of isotopes of an element yields the published atomic mass.
- Use the periodic table as a systematic representation to predict properties of elements based on their valence electron arrangement.
- Analyze data such as physical properties to explain periodic trends of the elements, including metal/nonmetal/metalloid behavior, electrical/heat conductivity, electronegativity and electron affinity, ionization energy, and atomic-covalent/ionic radii, and how they relate to position in the periodic table.
- Develop and use models (e.g., Lewis dot, 3-D ball-and-stick, space-filling, valence-shell electron-pair repulsion [VSEPR]) to predict the type of bonding and shape of simple compounds.
- Use the periodic table as a model to derive formulas and names of ionic and covalent compounds.
- Plan and conduct an investigation to classify properties of matter as intensive (e.g., density, viscosity, specific heat, melting point, boiling point) or extensive (e.g., mass, volume, heat) and demonstrate how intensive properties can be used to identify a compound.
- Plan and conduct investigations to demonstrate different types of simple chemical reactions based on valence electron arrangements of the reactants and determine the quantity of products and reactants.
- Use mathematics and computational thinking to represent the ratio of reactants and products in terms of masses, molecules, and moles.
- Use mathematics and computational thinking to support the claim that atoms, and therefore mass, are conserved during a chemical reaction.
- Use mathematics and computational thinking to express the concentrations of solutions quantitatively using molarity.
- Develop and use models to explain how solutes are dissolved in solvents.
- Analyze and interpret data to explain effects of temperature on the solubility of solid, liquid, and gaseous solutes in a solvent and the effects of pressure on the solubility of gaseous solutes.
- Design and conduct experiments to test the conductivity of common ionic and covalent substances in a solution.
- Use the concept of pH as a model to predict the relative properties of strong, weak, concentrated, and dilute acids and bases (e.g., Arrhenius and Brønsted-Lowry acids and bases).
- Plan and carry out investigations to explain the behavior of ideal gases in terms of pressure, volume, temperature, and number of particles.
- Use mathematics to describe the relationships among pressure, temperature, and volume of an enclosed gas when only the amount of gas is constant.
- Use mathematical and computational thinking based on the ideal gas law to determine molar quantities.
- Refine the design of a given chemical system to illustrate how LeChâtelier’s principle affects a dynamic chemical equilibrium when subjected to an outside stress (e.g., heating and cooling a saturated sugar-water solution).
Motion and Stability
- Analyze and interpret data (e.g., melting point, boiling point, solubility, phase-change diagrams) to compare the strength of intermolecular forces and how these forces affect physical properties and changes.
- Plan and conduct experiments that demonstrate how changes in a system (e.g., phase changes, pressure of a gas) validate the kinetic molecular theory.
- Develop a model to explain the relationship between the average kinetic energy of the particles in a substance and the temperature of the substance (e.g., no kinetic energy equaling absolute zero [0K or -273.15o C]).
- Construct an explanation that describes how the release or absorption of energy from a system depends upon changes in the components of the system.
- Develop a model to illustrate how the changes in total bond energy determine whether a chemical reaction is endothermic or exothermic.
- Plan and conduct an investigation that demonstrates the transfer of thermal energy in a closed system (e.g., using heat capacities of two components of differing temperatures)