Classroom Resources: Atomic Structure


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  • 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.

  • Electrons, Activation Energy | 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.

  • 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.

  • Physical Properties, History, Periodic Table, Model of the Atom, Atomic Theory, Atomic Mass, Subatomic Particles, Chemical Properties, Atomic Number | 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.

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

    Activity: Neils Bohr Video Questions

    In this activity, students will answer questions while watching a video about Niels Bohr and learn how he redefined thinking about the atom and the electron. His model of the atom advanced our understanding of subatomic particles and holds an important place in the history and development of atomic theory.

  • History, Model of the Atom, Radiation, Half Lives, Subatomic Particles, Radioactive Isotopes | High School, Middle School

    Activity: Marie Curie Video Questions

    In this activity, students will watch a short video and learn about Marie Curie, her Nobel Prizes, radiation experiments, and discovery of new elements.

  • Atomic Spectra, Electromagnetic Spectrum, Electrons | High School

    Lab: Mystical Fire Investigation

    In this lab, students will create several testable questions based upon their observations of a mystical fire. Students then direct their own laboratory experience as they safely investigate these testable questions through the use of multiple flame tests.

  • Atomic Spectra, Identifying an Unknown, Electromagnetic Spectrum, Electrons | High School

    Lab: The Case of the Contaminated Well

    In this lab, students will observe the colors produced when different metal salt solutions are heated in a flame. Students will take on the role of a forensic investigator and use their results to help them determine if collected evidence was contaminated.

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

    Activity: Ernest Rutherford Video Questions

    In this activity, students will watch a video about Ernest Rutherford. They will learn about his great contributions to chemistry, including his study of alpha particles and his use of the gold foil experiment. They will also find out that he won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his studies on radioactive substances.

  • Atomic Spectra, Electromagnetic Spectrum, Electrons | High School

    Demonstration: Flame Test (Rainbow Demo)

    In this demonstration, students will observe the variety of colors produced when different metals or metallic salts are heated in a flame.

  • Isotopes, Atomic Mass, Subatomic Particles | High School, Middle School

    Activity: Candy Isotopes & Atomic Mass

    In this activity, students will learn about isotopes and be introduced to basic average atomic mass calculations. They will use simple numbers and M&M candies to model ratios that approximate real world atomic mass values on the periodic table.

  • Polarity, Covalent Bonding, VSEPR Theory, Valence Electrons, Atomic Radius, Electronegativity, Lewis structures | High School

    Project: Molecular Modeling

    In this project, students will research a molecule selected from the teacher approved list, construct a three-dimensional model of the molecule, and present their research to the class in a 7-10 minute oral presentation.

  • Precipitate, Electron Configuration, Valence Electrons, Balancing Equations, Classification of Reactions, Solubility Rules, Electrons | High School

    Lesson Plan: Transition Metals Color the World

    In this lesson students will complete a series of double replacement reactions to form precipitates. The precipitates will be used as a pigment to create paint.

  • Emission Spectrum, Electromagnetic Spectrum, Emission Spectrum, Electrons | High School, Middle School

    Lesson Plan: Let it Glow

    In this lesson students will investigate the fluorescence of a variety of everyday items as well as prepared samples under a black light. Students will examine the concepts of absorption and subsequent emission of photons, as well as wavelength, frequency, and energy of electromagnetic radiation. As extension activities, students will learn about phosphorescence and research real-life applications of photoluminescence.

  • History, Radiation, Pros Cons of Nuclear Power, Atomic Theory, Subatomic Particles, Radioactive Isotopes | High School, Middle School

    Activity: Lise Meitner Video Questions

    In this activity, students will complete a short series of questions as they watch the Founders of Chemistry video about Lise Meitner. The video tells the story of Lise Meitner, a pioneering female scientist in the field of nuclear chemistry, who was denied a Nobel Prize but has an Element named in her honor.

  • History, Atoms, Radiation, Pros Cons of Nuclear Power, Atomic Theory, Radioactive Isotopes | High School, Middle School

    Video: Lise Meitner Video

    This video tells the story of Lise Meitner, a pioneering female scientist in the field of nuclear chemistry, who was denied a Nobel Prize but has an Element named in her honor.

  • Elements, History, Periodic Table, Covalent Bonding, Ionic Bonding, Atomic Mass, Subatomic Particles | High School, Middle School

    Project: Exploring Elements

    In this project, students will select an element and then use Ptable.com to explore aspects of the element including its periodicity, electron configuration, history, and uses in industry.

  • Electricity, Electrostatic Forces, Metallic Bonding, Electrons | High School

    Demonstration: Metallic Bonding & Magnetics

    In this demonstration students will observe how electrons flow through a metal in an example of metallic bonding. Using tubes made of different metal materials as well as one made of plastic, in combination with a rare earth magnet (neodymium magnet) the teacher will demonstrate how electrons will flow freely through a metal and create a magnetic field.

  • Isotopes, Atomic Mass, Subatomic Particles | High School, Middle School

    Simulation: Isotopes & Calculating Average Atomic Mass

    In this 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.

  • Model of the Atom, Atomic Mass, Subatomic Particles, Electrons | High School, Middle School

    Project: Element Project

    In this project, students will become familiar with and have a workable understanding of atomic structure. The students will also create and construct a model of an atom.

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

    Project: The Scientists Behind the Atom

    In this project, students will create a digital (or paper) book about the scientists who contributed to our understanding of the atom.

  • Periodic Table, Electron Configuration, Valence Electrons, Electrons | High School

    Lesson Plan: Electron Configuration and the Periodic Table

    In this lesson, students will learn how the periodic table can be used to predict the electron configuration of an atom and, thus, better predict the reactivity of an atom.

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

    Lab: Investigating the Sizes of Atomic Particles

    In this lab, students will use yarn and peas to compare the sizes of the three subatomic particles and will see that most of an atom is empty space.

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