Primary School (K-2)
Heating or cooling a substance may cause changes that can be observed. Sometimes these changes are reversible, and sometimes they are not.
Elementary School (3-5)
When two or more different substances are mixed, a new substance with different properties may be formed.
No matter what reaction or change in properties occurs, the total weight of the substances does not change. (Boundary: Mass and weight are not distinguished at this grade level.)
Middle School (6-8)
Substances react chemically in characteristic ways. In a chemical process, the atoms that make up the original substances are regrouped into different molecules, and these new substances have different properties from those of the reactants.
The total number of each type of atom is conserved, and thus the mass does not change.
Some chemical reactions release energy, others store energy.
High School (9-12)
Chemical processes, their rates, and whether or not energy is stored or released can be understood in terms of the collisions of molecules and the rearrangements of atoms into new molecules, with consequent changes in the sum of all bond energies in the set of molecules that are matched by changes in kinetic energy.
In many situations, a dynamic and condition-dependent balance between a reaction and the reverse reaction determines the numbers of all types of molecules present.
The fact that atoms are conserved, together with knowledge of the chemical properties of the elements involved, can be used to describe and predict chemical reactions.