Utah Requirements for Passing High School Chemistry | General Chemistry 1

Is Chemistry Required in High School in Utah?

In Utah, high school students are required to complete 3 credits in Science in order to graduate:

  • 2 Credits (from the four science foundation areas; Earth Systems, Biological Science, Chemistry, AP Computer Science, or Physics).
  • 1 Credit (from the foundation courses or the applied or advanced science core list).

If a student takes Chemistry, the Utah State Board of Education allows the following courses to satisfy the science Foundation Courses:

  • Chemistry
  • AP or IB Chemistry
  • Chemistry with Lab CE

As per the Utah High School Chemistry Standards, students will cover the following Chemistry Core Curriculum:


  • Standard 1: Students will understand that all matter in the universe has a common origin and is made of atoms, which have structure and can be systematically arranged on the periodic table.
    • Objective 1: Recognize the origin and distribution of elements in the universe.
      • a. Identify evidence supporting the assumption that matter in the universe has a common origin.
      • b. Recognize that all matter in the universe and on earth is composed of the same elements.
      • c. Identify the distribution of elements in the universe.
      • d. Compare the occurrence of heavier elements on earth and the universe.
    • Objective 2: Relate the structure, behavior, and scale of an atom to the particles that compose it.
      • a. Summarize the major experimental evidence that led to the development of various atomic models, both historical and current. 
      • b. Evaluate the limitations of using models to describe atoms. 
      • c. Discriminate between the relative size, charge, and position of protons, neutrons, and electrons in the atom.
      • d. Generalize the relationship of proton number to the element’s identity.
      • e. Relate the mass and number of atoms to the gram-sized quantities of matter in a mole.
    • Objective 3: Correlate atomic structure and the physical and chemical properties of an element to the position of the element on the periodic table.
      • a. Use the periodic table to correlate the number of protons, neutrons, and electrons in an atom.
      • b. Compare the number of protons and neutrons in isotopes of the same element.
      • c. Identify similarities in chemical behavior of elements within a group.
      • d. Generalize trends in reactivity of elements within a group to trends in other groups.
      • e. Compare the properties of elements (e.g., metal, nonmetallic, metalloid) based on their position in the periodic table
  • Standard 2: Students will understand the relationship between energy changes in the atom specific to the movement of electrons between energy levels in an atom resulting in the emission or absorption of quantum energy. They will also understand that the emission of high-energy particles results from nuclear changes and that matter can be converted to energy during nuclear reactions.
    • Objective 1: Evaluate quantum energy changes in the atom in terms of the energy contained in light emissions.
      • a. Identify the relationship between wavelength and light energy.
      • b. Examine evidence from the lab indicating that energy is absorbed or released in discrete units when electrons move from one energy level to another.
      • c. Correlate the energy in a photon to the color of light emitted.
      • d. After observing spectral emissions in the lab (e.g., flame test, spectrum tubes), identify unknown elements by comparison to known emission spectra.
    • Objective 2: Evaluate how changes in the nucleus of an atom result in emission of radioactivity.
      • a. Recognize that radioactive particles and wavelike radiations are products of the decay of an unstable nucleus.
      • b. Interpret graphical data relating half-life and age of a radioactive substance.
      • c. Compare the mass, energy, and penetrating power of alpha, beta, and gamma radiation.
      • d. Compare the strong nuclear force to the amount of energy released in a nuclear reaction and contrast it to the amount of energy released in a chemical reaction.
      • e. After researching, evaluate and report the effects of nuclear radiation on humans or other organisms.

Science language students should use:
atom, element, nucleus, proton, neutron, electron, isotope, metal, nonmetal,
metalloid, malleable, conductive, periodic table, quanta, wavelength,
radiation, emit, absorb, spectrum, half-life, fission, fusion, energy level,


  • Standard 3: Students will understand chemical bonding and the relationship of the type of bonding to the chemical and physical properties of substances.
    • Objective 1: Analyze the relationship between the valence (outermost) electrons of an atom and the type of bond formed between atoms.
      • a. Determine the number of valence electrons in atoms using the periodic table.
      • b. Predict the charge an atom will acquire when it forms an ion by gaining or losing electrons.
      • c. Predict bond types based on the behavior of valence (outermost) electrons.
      • d. Compare covalent, ionic, and metallic bonds with respect to electron behavior and relative bond strengths.
    • Objective 2: Explain that the properties of a compound may be different from those of the elements or compounds from which it is formed.
      • a. Use a chemical formula to represent the names of elements and numbers of atoms in a compound and recognize that the formula is unique to the specific compound.
      • b. Compare the physical properties of a compound to the elements that form it.
      • c. Compare the chemical properties of a compound to the elements that form it.
      • d. Explain that combining elements in different proportions results in the formation of different compounds with different properties.
    • Objective 3: Relate the properties of simple compounds to the type of bonding, shape of molecules, and intermolecular forces.
      • a. Generalize, from investigations, the physical properties (e.g., malleability, conductivity, solubility) of substances with different bond types.
      • b. Given a model, describe the shape and resulting polarity of water, ammonia, and methane molecules.
      • c. Identify how intermolecular forces of hydrogen bonds in water affect a variety of physical, chemical, and biological phenomena (e.g., surface tension, capillary action, boiling point).

Science language students should use:
chemical property, physical property, compound, valence electrons, ionic,
covalent, malleability, conductivity, solubility, intermolecular, polarity 


  • Standard 4: Students will understand that in chemical reactions matter and energy change forms, but the amounts of matter and energy do not change.
    • Objective 1: Identify evidence of chemical reactions and demonstrate how chemical equations are used to describe them.
      • a. Generalize evidences of chemical reactions. 
      • b. Compare the properties of reactants to the properties of products in a chemical reaction.
      • c. Use a chemical equation to describe a simple chemical reaction.
      • d. Recognize that the number of atoms in a chemical reaction does not change.
      • e. Determine the molar proportions of the reactants and products in a balanced chemical reaction.
      • f. Investigate everyday chemical reactions that occur in a student's home (e.g., baking, rusting, bleaching, cleaning).
    • Objective 2: Analyze evidence for the laws of conservation of mass and conservation of energy in chemical reactions.
      • a. Using data from quantitative analysis, identify evidence that supports the conservation of mass in a chemical reaction.
      • b. Use molar relationships in a balanced chemical reaction to predict the mass of product produced in a simple chemical reaction that goes to completion.
      • c. Report evidence of energy transformations in a chemical reaction.
      • d. After observing or measuring, classify evidence of temperature change in a chemical reaction as endothermic or exothermic.
      • e. Using either a constructed or a diagrammed electrochemical cell, describe how electrical energy can be produced in a chemical reaction (e.g., half reaction, electron transfer).
      • f. Using collected data, report the loss or gain of heat energy in a chemical reaction. 
  • Standard 5: Students will understand that many factors influence chemical reactions and some reactions can achieve a state of dynamic equilibrium.
    • Objective 1: Evaluate factors specific to collisions (e.g., temperature, particle size, concentration, and catalysts) that affect the rate of chemical reaction.
      • a. Design and conduct an investigation of the factors affecting reaction rate and use the findings to generalize the results to other reactions.
      • b. Use information from graphs to draw warranted conclusions about reaction rates.
      • c. Correlate frequency and energy of collisions to reaction rate.
      • d. Identify that catalysts are effective in increasing reaction rates.
    • Objective 2: Recognize that certain reactions do not convert all reactants to products, but achieve a state of dynamic equilibrium that can be changed.
      • a. Explain the concept of dynamic equilibrium. 
      • b. Given an equation, identify the effect of adding either product or reactant to a shift in equilibrium.
      • c. Indicate the effect of a temperature change on the equilibrium, using an equation showing a heat term.

Science language students should use:
chemical reaction, matter, law of conservation of mass, law of
conservation of energy, temperature, electrochemical cell, entropy,
chemical equation, endothermic, exothermic, heat, rate, catalyst,
concentration, collision theory, equilibrium, half reaction 


  • Standard 6: Students will understand the properties that describe solutions in terms of concentration, solutes, solvents, and the behavior of acids and bases.
    • Objective 1: Describe factors affecting the process of dissolving and evaluate the effects that changes in concentration have on solutions.
      • a. Use the terms solute and solvent in describing a solution.
      • b. Sketch a solution at the particle level.
      • c. Describe the relative amount of solute particles in concentrated and dilute solutions and express concentration in terms of molarity and molality.
      • d. Design and conduct an experiment to determine the factors (e.g., agitation, particle size, temperature) affecting the relative rate of dissolution.
      • e. Relate the concept of parts per million (PPM) to relevant environmental issues found through research.
    • Objective 2: Summarize the quantitative and qualitative effects of colligative properties on a solution when a solute is added.
      • a. Identify the colligative properties of a solution.
      • b. Measure change in boiling and/or freezing point of a solvent when a solute is added.
      • c. Describe how colligative properties affect the behavior of solutions in everyday applications (e.g., road salt, cold packs, antifreeze).
    • Objective 3: Differentiate between acids and bases in terms of hydrogen ion concentration. 
      • a. Relate hydrogen ion concentration to pH values and to the terms acidic, basic or neutral. 
      • b. Using an indicator, measure the pH of common household solutions and standard laboratory solutions, and identify them as acids or bases.
      • c. Determine the concentration of an acid or a base using a simple acid-base titration.
      • d. Research and report on the uses of acids and bases in industry, agriculture, medicine, mining, manufacturing, or construction.
      • e. Evaluate mechanisms by which pollutants modify the pH of various environments (e.g., aquatic, atmospheric, soil).

Science language students should use:
solution, solute, solvent, concentration, molarity, percent concentration,
colligative property, boiling point, freezing point, acid, base, pH, indicator,
titration, hydrogen ion, neutralization, parts per million, concentrated,
dilute, dissolve