Kentucky Requirements for Passing High School Chemistry | General Chemistry 1

Is Chemistry Required in High School in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, students must receive 3 Science credits with 2 being lab-based science courses in order to graduate from high school. The courses must be aligned with ILP and covering the Kentucky Academic Standards (KAS) for Science. Additional course options aligned to the KAS for Science could include but are not limited to Chemistry (or AP), Physics (or AP), Biology (or AP), CSI Forensics, dual credit science, etc. 

Kentucky high schools may offer science courses in specific sequences of subjects. For example, students at various high schools may take the following courses throughout high school:

  • Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Earth/Space (note: this is a four-course offering)
  • Biology, Introduction to Chemistry and Physics, and Earth/Space
  • Biology with Earth/Space, Chemistry with Earth/Space, and Physics with Earth/Space
  • Integrated Science I, Integrated Science II, and Integrated Science III
  • Conceptual Science I, Conceptual Science II, and Conceptual Science III  

As a lead state for the Next-Generation Science Standards (NGSS), Kentucky high school students will encounter the following chemistry topics in the typical high school course list:

HS. Structure and Properties of Matter

Students who demonstrate understanding can:


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. [Clarification Statement: Examples of properties that could be predicted from patterns could include reactivity of metals, types of bonds formed, numbers of bonds formed, and reactions with oxygen.]


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. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on understanding the strengths of forces between particles, and 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.]


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 radioactive decay. [Clarification Statement: 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.]


Communicate scientific and technical information about why the molecular-level structure is important in the functioning of designed materials.* [Clarification Statement: 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.] 

HS. Chemical Reactions

Students who demonstrate understanding can:


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. [Clarification Statement: Examples of chemical reactions could include the reaction of sodium and chlorine, of carbon and oxygen, or of carbon and hydrogen.] 


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. [Clarification Statement: 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.] 


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. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on student reasoning that focuses on the number and energy of collisions between molecules.]


Make arguments based on kinetic molecular theory to explain how altering conditions affects the forward and reverse rates of a reaction at equilibrium. [Clarification Statement: 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.] 


Use mathematical representations to support the claim that atoms, and therefore mass, are conserved during a chemical reaction. [Clarification Statement: 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.] 

HS. Waves and Electromagnetic Radiation

Students who demonstrate understanding can:


Use mathematical representations to support a claim regarding relationships among the frequency, wavelength, and speed of waves traveling in various media. [Clarification Statement: Examples of data could include electromagnetic radiation traveling in a vacuum and glass, sound waves traveling through air and water, and seismic waves traveling through the Earth.]


Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning behind the idea that electromagnetic radiation can be described either by a wave model or a particle model, and that for some situations one model is more useful than the other. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on how the experimental evidence supports the claim and how a theory is generally modified in light of new evidence. Examples of a phenomenon could include resonance, interference, diffraction, and photoelectric effect.]


Evaluate the validity and reliability of claims in published materials of the effects that different frequencies of electromagnetic radiation have when absorbed by matter. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the idea that photons associated with different frequencies of light have different energies, and the damage to living tissue from electromagnetic radiation depends on the energy of the radiation. Examples of published materials could include trade books, magazines, web resources, videos, and other passages that may reflect bias.]


Communicate technical information about how some technological devices use the principles of wave behavior and wave interactions with matter to transmit and capture information and energy.* [Clarification Statement: Examples could include solar cells capturing light and converting it to electricity; medical imaging; and communications technology.]

HS. Matter and Energy in Organisms and Ecosystems

Students who demonstrate understanding can:


Use a model to illustrate how photosynthesis transforms light energy into stored chemical energy. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on illustrating inputs and outputs of matter and the transfer and transformation of energy in photosynthesis by plants and other photosynthesizing organisms. Examples of models could include diagrams, chemical equations, and conceptual models.]


Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence for how carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen from sugar molecules may combine with other elements to form amino acids and/or other large carbon-based molecules. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on using evidence from models and simulations to support explanations.]


Use a model to illustrate that cellular respiration is a chemical process whereby the bonds of food molecules and oxygen molecules are broken and the bonds in new compounds are formed resulting in a net transfer of energy. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the conceptual understanding of the inputs and outputs of the process of cellular respiration.]


Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence for the cycling of matter and flow of energy in aerobic and anaerobic conditions. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on conceptual understanding of the role of aerobic and anaerobic respiration in different environments.]


Use a mathematical representation to support claims for the cycling of matter and flow of energy among organisms in an ecosystem. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on using a mathematical model of stored energy in biomass to describe the transfer of energy from one trophic level to another and that matter and energy are conserved as matter cycles and energy flows through ecosystems. Emphasis is on atoms and molecules such as carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen being conserved as they move through an ecosystem.]


Develop a model to illustrate the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the cycling of carbon among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere. [Clarification Statement: Examples of models could include simulations and mathematical models.]