Classroom Resources: Atomic Structure


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  • Measurements, Scientific Notation, Significant Figures, Subatomic Particles | High School

    Activity: Quantitatively Puzzling

    In this activity, students will analyze sixteen chemistry-based clues and use the numbers, zero through fifteen as possible answer choices for each one. The clues cover content related to measurement, scientific notation, significant digits, atomic structure and the periodic table.

  • Periodic Table, Atomic Radius, Ionization Energy, Electronegativity | High School

    Activity: Periodic War

    In this activity, students play a card game to apply their knowledge of the periodic trends of the main group elements.

  • Physical Properties, Introduction, History, Periodic Table, Valence Electrons, Chemical Properties, Electrons | High School, Middle School

    Activity: How the Periodic Table Organizes the Elements Video Questions

    In this lesson, students will watch a video and answer questions about the organization of the periodic table. They will learn about how the elements on the periodic table are organized and what their location on the table can tell us about them.

  • Introduction, Elements, History, Review, Atoms, Isotopes, Alpha/Beta/Gamma Decay, Subatomic Particles, Radioactive Isotopes, Electrons | High School, Middle School

    Activity: What are Isotopes? Video Questions

    In this lesson, students will watch a video and answer questions about isotopes. They will learn about the discovery of isotopes, the difference between chemical and nuclear reactions, different kinds of radioactive decay, and some uses of radioactive isotopes.

  • Electron Configuration, Electrons, Orbitals | High School

    Activity: Electrons and Orbitals

    In this lesson, students will differentiate between energy levels, sublevels, orbitals, and electrons. Students often confuse these terms related to electrons and this activity should help them develop a stronger understanding of how to distinguish between them.

  • Atoms, Isotopes, Alpha/Beta/Gamma Decay, Subatomic Particles, Radioactive Isotopes | High School

    Activity: Using Stable Isotopes to Determine Material Origin

    In this lesson, students will review the concept of isotopes and apply the concepts of stability and relative abundance in order to determine the recent travels of a person of interest in a criminal investigation.

  • Radiation, Half Lives, Isotopes, Alpha/Beta/Gamma Decay, Atomic Mass, Subatomic Particles, Radioactive Isotopes | High School

    Activity: Radiological Applications of Isotopes

    In this lesson, students will apply their knowledge of nuclear notation using trading cards to investigate and discuss the applications of isotopes in the medical field. The conclusion of the activity includes a summative assessment where students must advertise the radiological services using their knowledge of isotopes and their medical applications

  • Physical Properties, Solubility, Melting Point, Naming Compounds, Molecular Formula, Ionic Bonding, Ionic Radius, Ions | High School

    Activity: My Name is Bond, Ionic Bond

    In this lesson, students will demonstrate their knowledge of ionic bond strength using a “brackets” activity. Pairs of students start the activity playing a game of “Ionic Compound War” to build eight compounds. Then then transfer the compounds to a “bracket” and use their knowledge of ionic bonding, along with a solubility chart, to predict the strongest and weakest bond between four pairs of ionic substances.

  • Physical Properties, Solubility, Melting Point, Naming Compounds, Molecular Formula, Ionic Bonding, Ionic Radius, Ions | High School

    Activity: Ionic Bonding Brackets

    In this lesson, students will demonstrate their knowledge of ionic bond strength and its relationship to the properties of melting point and solubility using a “brackets” activity. After analyzing the ionic charge and radius to predict the strongest and weakest bond between four pairs of ionic substances, they will then determine which will be the least soluble.

  • Isotopes, Atomic Mass, Subatomic Particles

    Simulation: Isotopes & Calculating Average Atomic Mass

    In the May 2017 simulation, students first learn how the average atomic mass is determined through a tutorial based on the isotope abundance for Carbon. Students will then interact within a workspace where they will select the number of isotopes, the mass of each isotope as well as their abundancies in order to successfully build a mystery element. Finally they will use their choices to calculate the average atomic mass of the mystery element.

  • Naming Compounds, Molecular Formula, Periodic Table, Covalent Bonding, Ionic Bonding, Valence Electrons, Subatomic Particles, Lewis Dot Diagrams, Molecular Geometry, Ions, Lewis Structures | Middle School, High School

    Simulation: Ionic & Covalent Bonding

    In the September 2016 simulation, students investigate both ionic and covalent bonding. Students will have the opportunity to interact with many possible combinations of atoms and will be tasked with determining the type of bond and the number of atom needed to form each. Students will become familiar with the molecular formula, as well as the naming system for each type of bond and geometric shape, when applicable.

  • Periodic Table, Atoms, Model of the Atom, Valence Electrons, Subatomic Particles, Atomic Radius, Ionic Radius, Electron Affinity, Electrons, Ions

    Simulation: Periodic Trends II: Electron Affinity, Atomic Radius & Ionic Radius

    The May 2016 simulation is a follow-up to the March 2016 simulation. Students will focus their investigation on the electron affinity of an atom. Through the use of this simulation students will have the opportunity to examine the formation of an anion as well as compare the atomic radius of a neutral atom to the ionic radius of its anion.

  • Periodic Table, Atoms, Model of the Atom, Valence Electrons, Subatomic Particles, Atomic Radius, Ionic Radius, Ionization Energy, Electrons, Ions

    Simulation: Periodic Trends: Ionization Energy, Atomic Radius & Ionic Radius

    In this simulation for the March 2016 issue, students can investigate the periodic trends of atomic radius, ionization energy, and ionic radius. By choosing elements from the periodic table, atoms can be selected for a side by side comparison and analysis. Students can also attempt to ionize an atom by removing its valence electrons. Quantitative data is available for each periodic trend, and can be further examined in a graph.

  • Atomic Theory, Electromagnetic Spectrum, Law of Conservation of Energy, Electrons | High School

    Simulation: Exciting Electrons

    In the March 2015 issue, students explore what happens when electrons within a generic atom are excited from their ground state. They will see that when an electron relaxes from an excited state to its ground state, energy is released in the form of electromagnetic radiation.

  • Density, Elements, Periodic Table, Atomic Mass, Atomic Radius, Electronegativity | High School, Middle School

    Activity: Organizing the Periodic Table

    In this activity, students are challenged to organize elements into the shape of the periodic table based on trends in data. Students are given a set of cards, each card representing an element, and containing five data points for consideration. The data that students will analyze includes atomic mass, atomic radius, melting point, density and electronegativity.

  • History, Model of the Atom, Atomic Theory, Subatomic Particles | High School

    Demonstration: The Hoopla about Atoms

    In this demonstration, students use a hula hoop that has a ball in the center (hung from a string) to simulate Rutherford’s gold foil experiment.

  • Elements, Periodic Table, Atomic Mass, Subatomic Particles | High School, Middle School

    Activity: Periodic Table Connect The Dots

    In this activity, students solve a series of clues about elements in order to uncover a message that has been hidden in the periodic table. Using the clues, students draw lines between identified elements on the table, which then connect to form the message. Two versions of this activity are available, varying the difficulty level of the clues.

  • Physical Properties, Elements, History, Periodic Table, Atomic Mass, Subatomic Particles | High School

    Activity: Which Element Am I?

    In this activity, students will be challenged by a list of clues that describe 50 different elements from the periodic table. Using their own knowledge, or the help of the internet students will determine the identity of each element based on the clue provided.

  • Elements, Atomic Spectra, Identifying an Unknown, Emission Spectrum, Electromagnetic Spectrum, Emission Spectrum | Middle School, Elementary School

    Lesson Plan: Elements Are Out of This World

    In this lesson, students will learn about the elements that make up Earth’s atmosphere and lithosphere and then compare and contrast the information with the elements that compose various other astronomical objects.

  • Electrostatic Forces, Emission Spectrum, Electrons | High School

    Lesson Plan: Introduction to PES

    In this lesson students will learn how to interpret simple photoelectron spectroscopy spectra by incorporating their knowledge of electron configurations, periodic trends, and Coulomb’s law.

  • Atomic Spectra, Model of the Atom, Isotopes, Atomic Theory, Subatomic Particles, Emission Spectrum, Electrons, Orbitals , Ions | High School

    Lesson Plan: Atomic Structure Unit Plan

    The AACT high school classroom resource library has everything you need to put together a unit plan for your classroom: lessons, activities, labs, projects, videos, simulations, and animations. We constructed a unit plan using AACT resources that is designed to teach Atomic Structure to your students.

  • Electrostatic Forces, Subatomic Particles, Ionization Energy, Electrons | High School

    Lesson Plan: Coulomb's Law

    In this lesson students explore qualitative applications of Coulomb’s law within atoms and between ions and solvents.

  • Electrons | High School

    Lab: Determination of the Activation Energy of a Lightstick

    In this lesson students will participate in an inquiry-based lab approach to determine the activation energy of the chemiluminescent reaction in a lightstick. Students will use the Vernier LabQuest to collect data related to light and temperature for analysis using the Arrhenius equation.

  • Physical Properties, History, Periodic Table, Model of the Atom, Atomic Theory, Atomic Mass, Subatomic Particles, Chemical Properties | High School, Middle School, Elementary School

    Activity: Mendeleev Video Questions

    In this activity, students will watch a video and answer questions about Dimitri Mendeleev. They will learn about his contribution to chemistry, including his organization of the periodic table and awareness to leave gaps for elements that weren’t yet discovered.

  • Physical Properties, History, Periodic Table, Atomic Mass, Subatomic Particles, Chemical Properties | High School, Middle School, Elementary School

    Activity: History of the Periodic Table Video Questions

    In this activity, students will answer questions while watching a video about how the periodic table was developed and learn about those who contributed to it.

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