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ost systems or processes depend at some level on physical and chemical subprocesses that occur within it, whether the system in question is a star, Earth’s atmosphere, a river, a bicycle, the human brain, or a living cell.Large-scale systems often have emergent properties that cannot be explained on the basis of atomic-scale processes; nevertheless, to understand the physical and chemical basis of a system, one must ultimately consider the structure of matter at the atomic and subatomic scales to discover how it influences the system’s larger scale structures, properties, and functions.The historical division between the two subjects of physics and chemistry is transcended in modern science, as the same physical principles are seen to apply from subatomic scales to the scale of the universe itself. C: Nuclear Processes Core Idea PS2: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions PS2. Chemical reactions, which underlie so many observed phenomena in living and nonliving systems alike, conserve the number of atoms of each type but change their arrangement into molecules.

The first three physical science core ideas answer two fundamental questions—“What is everything made of? ”—that are not unlike questions that students themselves might ask. D: Energy in Chemical Processes and Everyday Life Core Idea PS4: Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer PS4. The existence of atoms, now supported by evidence from modern instruments, was first postulated as a model that could explain both qualitative and quantitative observations about matter (e.g., Brownian motion, ratios of reactants and products in chemical reactions).Each element has characteristic chemical properties. The periodic table, a systematic representation of known elements, is organized horizontally by increasing atomic number and vertically by families of elements with related chemical properties.The development of the periodic table (which occurred well before atomic substructure was understood) was a major advance, as its patterns suggested and led to the identification of additional elements with particular properties.An overarching goal for learning in the physical sciences, therefore, is to help students see that there are mechanisms of cause and effect in all systems and processes that can be understood through a common set of physical and chemical principles.The committee developed four core ideas in the physical sciences—three of which parallel those identified in previous documents, including the National Science Education Standards and Benchmarks for Science Literacy [1, 2].

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The number of protons in the atomic nucleus (atomic number) is the defining characteristic of each element; different isotopes of the same element differ in the number of neutrons only.