Idaho Requirements for Passing High School Chemistry | General Chemistry 1

Is Chemistry Required in High School in Idaho?

According to the Idaho Department of Education:

Idaho high school students must complete 6 credits in the subject of science, 4 of which will be laboratory-based. Secondary sciences include instruction in applied sciences, earth and space sciences, physical sciences, and life sciences. Therefore, students may have courses in the following areas: biology, physical science or chemistry, and earth, space, environment, or approved applied science.

While not every high school may offer chemistry, many do. For students who take chemistry, the state of Idaho has not fully implemented the NGSS model. Instead, it uses the following Idaho Content Standards in its Science & Chemistry curriculum:


Structure and Properties of Matter 

Students who demonstrate understanding can: 

Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures.

  • Further Explanation: Emphasis is on reviewing how to develop models of molecules that vary in complexity. This should build on the similar middle school standard (PS1- MS-1). Examples of simple molecules could include ammonia and methanol. Examples of extended structures could include sodium chloride or diamonds. Examples of molecular-level models could include drawings, 3D ball and stick structures, or computer representations showing different molecules with different types of atoms.
  • Content Limit: Students will be provided with the names of the elements, a list of common ions, a list of numerical prefixes and their meanings, and the charges of all cations and anions within the item as necessary. Confine element symbols to the representative and familiar transition metal elements.


Use the periodic table as a model to predict the relative properties of elements based on the patterns of electrons in the outermost energy level of atoms.

  • Further Explanation: Examples of properties that could be predicted from patterns could include reactivity of metals, types of bonds formed, number of bonds formed, and reactions with oxygen.
  • Content Limit: Elements will be limited to main group elements. Properties assessed will be limited to reactivity, valence electrons, atomic radius, electronegativity, ionization energy (first), shielding effect, and the most common oxidation number.


Plan and conduct an investigation to gather evidence to compare the structure of substances at the bulk scale to infer the strength of electrical forces between particles.

  • Further Explanation: Emphasis is on understanding the strengths of forces between particles, not on naming specific intermolecular forces (such as dipole-dipole). Examples of particles could include ions, atoms, molecules, and networked materials (such as graphite). Examples of bulk properties of substances could include the melting point and boiling point, vapor pressure, and surface tension.
  • Content Limit: Metallic, ionic, and covalent bonds may be included. Graphical representations of melting or boiling points of different substances may be used in the item (e.g., graph of boiling points vs. molar mass or simple bar graph). Structural formulas of compounds may be used to compare the melting/boiling points of compounds


Develop models to illustrate the changes in the composition of the nucleus of the atom and the energy released during the processes of fission, fusion, and other types of radioactive decay.

  • Further Explanation: Emphasis is on simple qualitative models, such as pictures or diagrams, and on the scale of energy released in nuclear processes relative to other kinds of transformations.
  • Content Limit: Assessment does not include quantitative calculation of energy released. Assessment is limited to alpha, beta, and gamma radioactive decays. Science Content Standards  /  Academics  /  SDE  /  59  March 2018


Communicate scientific and technical information about why the molecular-level structure is important in the functioning of designed materials.

  • Further Explanation: Emphasis is on the attractive and repulsive forces that determine the functioning of the material. Examples could include why electrically conductive materials are often made of metal, flexible but durable materials are made up of long-chained molecules, and pharmaceuticals are designed to interact with specific receptors.
  • Content Limit: Assessment is limited to provided molecular structures of specific designed materials. For questions involving polar vs. nonpolar bonds, item distractors containing ionic bonds may not be used. Electronegativity differences of < 0.5 should be used for nonpolar covalent bonds. Electronegativity differences of 0.5 – 1.7 should be used for polar covalent bonds. Supporting Content

PSC2-HS  Chemical Reactions


Construct and revise an explanation for the outcome of a simple chemical reaction based on the outermost electron states of atoms, trends in the periodic table, and knowledge of the patterns of chemical properties.

  • Further Explanation: Examples of chemical reactions could include the reaction of sodium and chlorine, of carbon and oxygen, or of carbon and hydrogen.
  • Content Limit: Identify types of chemical reactions including: synthesis/formation/combination reactions, decomposition reactions, single replacement/displacement reactions, double replacement/displacement reactions, oxidation-reduction (redox) reactions (single replacement only), acid base reactions, and combustion reactions (for hydrocarbons). Predict the products of double replacement, single replacement, and combustion reactions only. For the second skill statement, do not use acid names or hydrocarbons when translating between words and formulas. Items will include a list of common ions, as needed.


Develop a model to illustrate that the release or absorption of energy from a chemical reaction system depends upon the changes in total bond energy.

  • Further Explanation: Emphasis is on the idea that a chemical reaction is a system that affects the energy change. Examples of models could include molecular-level drawings and diagrams of reactions, graphs showing the relative energies of reactants and products, and representations showing energy is conserved.
  • Content Limit: Assessment does not include calculating the total bond energy changes during a chemical reaction from the bond energies of reactants and products.


Apply scientific principles and evidence to provide an explanation about the effects of changing the temperature or concentration of the reacting particles on the rate at which a reaction occurs.

  • Further Explanation: Emphasis is on student reasoning that focuses on the number and energy of collisions between molecules.
  • Content Limit: Factors that influence the rate of reaction may include temperature, surface area, size of particles, concentration, and catalysts. Can also include concentration and titration relationships. Provide a graphic showing how a catalyst provides a different pathway for a chemical reaction to occur resulting in a lower activation energy. May include a titration curve.


Use mathematical representations to support the claim that atoms, and therefore mass, are conserved during a chemical reaction

  • Further Explanation: Emphasis is on using mathematical ideas to communicate the proportional relationships between masses of atoms in the reactants and the products, and the translation of these relationships to the macroscopic scale using the mole as the conversion from the atomic to the macroscopic scale. Emphasis is on assessing students’ use of mathematical thinking and not on memorization and rote application of problem-solving techniques. Should also include calculations related to determining the concentration and/or pH of a solution.
  • Content Limit: Conversion problems will be one to two steps (e.g., grams to moles to atoms/molecules). Compounds and formulas should be provided in the stem of the question. Students should be given molecular masses in problems involving gram to other unit conversions. Molar mass calculations should not be combined with conversion problems. All volumes must be at standard temperature and pressure (STP). A balanced equation and molar masses should be included in the item. Calculations may include grams/moles/volume of reactant to grams/moles/volume of product.


Refine the design of a chemical system by specifying a change in conditions that would produce increased amounts of products at equilibrium.

  • Further Explanation: Emphasis is on the application of Le Chatelier’s Principle and on refining designs of chemical reaction systems, including descriptions of the connection between changes made at the macroscopic level and what happens at the molecular level. Examples of designs could include different ways to increase product formation including adding reactants or removing products.
  • Content Limit: Assessment is limited to specifying the change in only one variable at a time. Assessment does not include calculating equilibrium constants and concentrations.