Tennessee Requirements for Passing High School Chemistry | General Chemistry 1

Is Chemistry Required in High School in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, high school students are required to complete a total of 22 credits to qualify for graduation. Of those 22 credits, 3 of them must be in Science with the following topics:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry or Physics
  • A third lab course

As the Tennessee High School Science Standards explain, students will explore the following chemistry topics:


CHEM1.PS1: Matter and Its Interactions

1) Understand and be prepared to use values specific to chemical processes: the mole, molar mass, molarity, and percent composition.  

2) Demonstrate that atoms, and therefore mass, are conserved during a chemical reaction by balancing chemical equations.

3) Perform stoichiometric calculations involving the following relationships: mole-mole; mass-mass; mole-mass; mole-particle; and mass-particle. Show a qualitative understanding of the phenomenon of percent yield, limiting, and excess reagents in a chemical reaction through pictorial and conceptual examples. (states of matter liquid and solid; excluding volume of gasses)

4) Use the reactants in a chemical reaction to predict the products and identify reaction classes (synthesis, decomposition, combustion, single replacement, double replacement).

5) Conduct investigations to explore and characterize the behavior of gases (pressure, volume, temperature), develop models to represent this behavior, and construct arguments to explain this behavior. Evaluate the relationship (qualitatively and quantitatively) at STP between pressure and volume (Boyle’s law), temperature and volume (Charles’s law), temperature and pressure (Gay-Lussac law), and moles and volume (Avogadro’s law), and evaluate and explain these relationships with respect to kinetic-molecular theory. Be able to understand, establish, and predict the relationships between volume, temperature, and pressure using combined gas law both qualitatively and quantitatively.

6) Use the ideal gas law, PV = nRT, to algebraically evaluate the relationship among the number of moles, volume, pressure, and temperature for ideal gases.

7) Analyze solutions to identify solutes and solvents, quantitatively analyze concentrations (molarity, percent composition, and ppm), and perform separation methods such as evaporation, distillation, and/or chromatography and show conceptual understanding of distillation. Construct an argument to justify the use of certain separation methods under different conditions.

8) Identify acids and bases as a special class of compounds with a specific set of properties.

9) Draw models (qualitative models such as pictures or diagrams) to demonstrate understanding of radioactive stability and decay. Understand and differentiate between fission and fusion reactions. Use models (graphs or tables) to explain the concept of half-life and its use in determining the age of materials (such as radiometric dating).

10) Compare alpha, beta, and gamma radiation in terms of mass, charge, and penetrating power. Identify examples of applications of different radiation types in everyday life (such as its applications in cancer treatment).

11) Develop and compare historical models of the atom (from Democritus to quantum model) and construct arguments to show how scientific knowledge evolves over time, based on experimental evidence, critique, and alternative interpretations.

12) Explain the origin and organization of the Periodic Table. Predict chemical and physical properties of main group elements (reactivity, number of subatomic particles, ion charge, ionization energy, atomic radius, and electronegativity) based on location on the periodic table. Construct an argument to describe how the quantum mechanical model of the atom (e.g., patterns of valence and inner electrons) defines periodic properties. Use the periodic table to draw Lewis dot structures and show understanding of orbital notations through drawing and interpreting graphical representations (i.e., arrows representing electrons in an orbital).

13) Use the periodic table and electronegativity differences of elements to predict the types of bonds that are formed between atoms during chemical reactions and write the names of chemical compounds, including polyatomic ions using the IUPAC criteria.

14) Use Lewis dot structures and electronegativity differences to predict the polarities of simple molecules (linear, bent, trigonal planar, trigonal pyramidal, tetrahedral). Construct an argument to explain how electronegativity affects the polarity of basic chemical molecules.  

15) Investigate, describe, and mathematically determine the effect of solute concentration on vapor pressure using the solute’s van ’t Hoff factor on freezing point depression and boiling point elevation.

CHEM1.PS2: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions

1) Draw, identify, and contrast graphical representations of chemical bonds (ionic, covalent, and metallic) based on chemical formulas. Construct and communicate explanations to show that atoms combine by transferring or sharing electrons.

2) Understand that intermolecular forces created by the unequal distribution of charge result in varying degrees of attraction between molecules. Compare and contrast the intermolecular forces (hydrogen bonding, dipole-dipole bonding, and London dispersion forces) within different types of simple substances (only those following the octet rule) and predict and explain their effect on chemical and physical properties of those substances using models or graphical representations.

3) Construct a model to explain the process by which solutes dissolve in solvents, and develop an argument to describe how intermolecular forces affect the solubility of different chemical compounds.  

4) Conduct an investigation to determine how temperature, surface area, and stirring affect the rate of solubility. Construct an argument to explain the relationships observed in experimental data using collision theory.

CHEM1.PS3: Energy  

1) Contrast the concepts of temperature and heat in macroscopic and microscopic terms. Understand that thermal energy is a form of energy and temperature is a measure of average kinetic energy of a group of particles.

2) Draw and interpret heating and cooling curves and phase diagrams. Analyze the energy changes involved in calorimetry by using the law of conservation of energy quantitatively (use of q = mcΔT) and qualitatively.

3) Distinguish between endothermic and exothermic reactions by constructing potential energy diagrams and explain the differences between the two using chemical terms (e.g. activation energy). Recognize when energy is absorbed or given off depending on the bonds formed and bonds broken.

4) Analyze energy changes to explain and defend the law of conservation of energy.

CHEM1.PS4: Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer

1) Using a model, explain why elements emit and absorb characteristic frequencies of light and how this information is used. 


CHEM2.PS1: Matter and Its Interactions

1) Illustrate and explain the arrangement of electrons surrounding atoms and ions (electron configurations and orbital notation of a specific electron in an element) and relate the arrangement of electrons with observed periodic trends.

2) Gather evidence and perform calculations to determine the composition of a compound.  

3) Compare and contrast crystalline and amorphous solids with respect to particle arrangement, strength of bonds, melting and boiling points, bulk density, and conductivity; provide examples of each type.

4) Investigate and use mathematical representations to support Dalton’s law of partial pressures and to compare and contrast diffusion and effusion.

5) Obtain data and solve combined and ideal gas law problems and stoichiometry problems at STP and non-STP conditions to quantitatively explain the behavior of gases.  

6) Use the Van der Waal’s equation to support explanations of how real gases deviate from the ideal gas law.  

7) Investigate, describe, and mathematically determine the effect of solute concentration on vapor pressure using Raoult’s Law and of the solute’s van ’t Hoff factor on freezing point depression and boiling point elevation.

8) Develop models to show how different types of polymers, such as proteins, nucleic acids, and starches, are formed by repetitive combinations of simple subunits by condensation and addition reactions and to show the diverse bonding characteristics of carbon.

9) Evaluate different organic molecules by naming and drawing the ten simplest linear hydrocarbons and isomers that contain single, double, and/or triple bonds and by identifying and explaining the properties of functional groups.  

10) Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about how carbon’s structure and function are used and have influenced society.  

11) Conduct a qualitative analysis lab to determine the solubility rules. Use solubility rules to identify spectator ions and write net ionic equations for precipitation reactions.

12) Analyze oxidation and reduction reactions to identify the substances gaining and losing electrons, distinguish between the cathode and anode, predict reactions, and balance oxidation-reduction reactions in acidic or basic solutions.

13) Investigate models and explore uses of electrochemistry (batteries and electrochemical cells).

14) Conduct titrations with standard solutions (monoprotic and diprotic) and an appropriate indicator and/or a pH probe to determine the concentration of an unknown acid or base, and with a weak acid or weak base to determine the Ka or Kb and the pH at the equivalence point.  

15) Explain common chemical reactions, including those found in biological systems, using qualitative and quantitative information.

 16) Create a model of the atomic substructure including electrons, protons, neutrons, quarks, and gluons.

CHEM2.PS2: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions

1) Plan and conduct an investigation to compare the properties of the different types of intermolecular forces in pure substances and in components of a mixture.  

2) Make predictions regarding the relative magnitudes of the forces acting within collections of interacting molecules based on the distribution of electrons within the molecules and types of intermolecular forces through which the molecules interact.

3) Investigate and use mathematical evidence to support that rates of chemical reactions are determined by details of the molecular collisions.  

4) Analyze data and mathematically determine rate equations.

5) Investigate the parameters of chemical equilibria in the laboratory by

  • A) writing and calculating equilibrium expressions (Kc, Kp, Ksp, Ka, Kb);
  • B) calculating Q and determining the direction the reaction will proceed; and,
  • C) calculating equilibrium concentrations given an equilibrium constant and starting amounts.

6) Compare and contrast the strength and dissociation of strong and weak acids and bases by calculating the pH and percent ionization of a solution.

7) Research, investigate, and mathematically explain buffer systems (characteristics and capacities using the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation), including those found in biological systems and polyprotic acids.  

CHEM2.PS3: Energy  

1) Mathematically determine the enthalpy change for a given reaction using Hess’s Law, standard enthalpies of formation, or a given mass of a reactant.

2) Apply scientific principles and mathematical representations to predict if a chemical reaction is spontaneous using Gibb’s Free Energy, ΔG = ΔH – TΔS.  

3) Apply scientific and engineering ideas to build, evaluate, and refine a fuel cell model (e.g., graphical representation or as a project) with specific design constraints.  

4) Collect and use data from the synthesis or decomposition of a compound to confirm the conservation of matter and the law of definite proportions.  

5) Use Coulomb’s law and patterns of valence electron configurations to explain trends in ionization energies and reactivity of pure elements.

6) Explain the relationships between potential energy, distance between approaching atoms, bond length, and bond energy using graphical representations.

7) Investigate and explain the energy changes in biological systems (such as the combustion of sugar and photosynthesis) both qualitatively and quantitatively.  

8) Research pyrotechnics and use concepts in thermodynamics, stoichiometry, oxidation reduction, and kinetics to design and create a low intensity sparkler.  

CHEM2.PS4: Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer

1) Investigate and contrast the mechanism of energy changes and the appearance of absorption and emission spectra.  

2) Apply scientific principles and mathematical representations (C=λν and E=hν) to explain that spectral lines are the result of and correspond to transitions between energy levels.  


PSCI.PS1: Matter and Its Interactions

1) Using the kinetic molecular theory and heat flow considerations, explain the changes of state for solids, liquids, gases, and plasma.

2) Graphically represent and discuss the results of an investigation involving pressure, volume, and temperature of a gas.

3) Construct a graphical organizer for the major classifications of matter using composition and separation techniques.

4) Apply scientific principles and evidence to provide explanations about physical and chemical changes.

5) Trace the development of the modern atomic theory to describe atomic particle properties and position.

6) Characterize the difference between atoms of different isotopes of an element.

7) Use the periodic table as a model to predict the relative properties of elements.

8) Using the patterns of electrons in the outermost energy level, predict how elements may combine.

9) Use the periodic table as a model to predict the formulas of binary ionic compounds. Explain and use the naming conventions for binary ionic and molecular compounds.

10) Develop a model to illustrate the claim that atoms and mass are conserved during a chemical reaction (i.e., balancing chemical equations).

11) Use models to identify chemical reactions as synthesis, decomposition, single-replacement, and double-replacement. Given the reactants, use these models to predict the products of those chemical reactions.

12) Classify a substance as acidic, basic, or neutral by using pH tools and appropriate indicators.

13) Research and communicate explanations on how acid rain is created and its impact on the ecosystem.

14) 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.  

15) Communicate scientific and technical information about nuclear energy and radioactive isotopes with respect to their impact on society.

PSCI.PS2: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions

1) Use mathematical representations to show how various factors (e.g., position, time, direction of force) affect one-dimensional kinematics parameters (distance, displacement, speed, velocity, acceleration). Determine graphically the relationships among those one-dimensional kinematics parameters.

2) Algebraically solve problems involving constant velocity and constant acceleration in one-dimension.

3) Use free-body diagrams to illustrate the contact and non-contact forces acting on an object.

4) Plan and conduct an investigation to gather evidence and provide a mathematical explanation about the relationship between force, mass, and acceleration. Solve related problems using F=ma.

5) Use mathematical representations to support the claim that the total momentum of a system of objects is conserved when there is no net force on the system.

6) Apply scientific and engineering ideas to design, evaluate, and refine a device that minimizes the force on an object during a collision.

7) Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence that an electric current can produce a magnetic field.

PSCI.PS3: Energy

1) Identify and give examples of the various forms of energy (kinetic, gravitational potential, elastic potential) and solve mathematical problems regarding the work-energy theorem and power.

2) Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence that thermal energy will move as heat between objects of two different temperatures, resulting in a more uniform energy distribution (temperature) among the objects.

3) Design, build, and refine a device within design constraints that has a series of simple machines to transfer energy and/or do mechanical work.

4) Collect data and present your findings regarding the law of conservation of energy and the efficiency, mechanical advantage, and power of the refined device.

5) Investigate the relationships among kinetic, potential, and total energy within a closed system (the law of conservation of energy).

6) Determine the mathematical relationships among heat, mass, specific heat capacity, and temperature change using the equation Q = mCp∆T.

7) Demonstrate Ohm's Law through the design and construction of simple series and parallel circuits.

8) Plan and conduct an experiment using a controlled chemical reaction to transfer thermal energy and/or do mechanical work.

9) Demonstrate the impact of the starting amounts of reacting substances upon the energy released.

PSCI.PS4: Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer

1) Use scientific reasoning to compare and contrast the properties of transverse and longitudinal waves and give examples of each type.

2) Design/conduct an investigation and interpret gathered data to explain how mechanical waves transmit energy through a medium.

3) Develop and use mathematical models to represent the properties of waves including frequency, amplitude, wavelength, and speed.

4) Describe and communicate the similarities and differences across the electromagnetic spectrum. Research methods and devices used to measure these characteristics.

5) Research and communicate scientific explanations about how electromagnetic waves are used in modern technology to produce, transmit, receive, and store information. Examples include: medical imaging, cell phones, and wireless networks.

Does Tennessee Award High School Credit for Passing the AP Chemistry Exam?

If students qualify for credit substitution, the state may accept the following advanced learning chemistry courses to satisfy high school competency requirements and third-year lab science:

  • Chemistry II   
  • AP Chemistry   
  • IB Chemistry I SL
  • IB Chemistry II HL
  • Dual Enrollment General Chemistry II
  • IB Chemistry II SL   
  • IB Chemistry I SL / HL   
  • IB Chemistry II SL/ HL   
  • IB Chemistry III SL/ HL   
  • IB Chemistry III SL   
  • IB Chemistry III HL   

Does Tennessee Award College Credit for Passing the AP Chemistry Exam?

The Tennessee Board of Regents specifies how prior education credits are applied to post-secondary programs. Questions regarding qualifying scores should be directed to the specific school you are applying to.