Classroom Resources: Atomic Structure


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  • Orbitals , Model of the Atom, Electrons | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Animation Activity: Orbitals

    In this activity, students will use an animation to visualize the shapes of the 1s, 2s, 2p, 3s, 3p, 4s, and 3d orbitals and how they build up and overlap as each successive orbital is added.

  • Atoms, Model of the Atom, Atomic Theory, Matter, Elements, History, Introduction, Periodic Table | High School, Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Animation: Atoms: The Building Blocks of Matter Animation

    In this animation, students will be introduced to the idea that everything is made of atoms, and that since atoms are so extremely small, even small objects contain vast numbers of atoms. They will see several examples to illustrate this point. Then they will be given a brief overview of the evolution of how people thought about atoms from the ancient Greeks through Dalton.

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

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Animation Activity: Building Blocks of Matter

    In this activity, students will view an animation that introduces them to the idea that everything is made of atoms, and that since atoms are so extremely small, even small objects contain vast numbers of atoms. They will see several examples to illustrate this point. Then they will be given a brief overview of the evolution of how people thought about atoms from the ancient Greeks through Dalton.

  • Ionic Bonding, Covalent Bonding, Lewis Structures, Model of the Atom, Valence Electrons | High School, Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Chemists in the Lab Game

    In this activity, students will play a game that is modeled after Settlers of Catan to explore how atoms of certain elements combine in fixed ratios to form molecules.

  • Model of the Atom, Atoms, Subatomic Particles, Electrons, Valence Electrons, Lewis Dot Diagrams, Electron Configuration, Physical Properties | High School, Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Project: Atomic Holiday Ornaments

    In this project, students will design an atomic holiday ornament for a chosen element, along with a certificate of authenticity to display on a “Chemis-tree”. Students will also have the opportunity to vote on the ornaments created by their classmates.

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

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lesson Plan: Modeling Atomic Theories with Food

    In this lesson, students will create an initial model of an atom (using various food items) drawing from the knowledge that they brought into the class. They will then use the same materials to work through an interactive note-taking lesson on how the model of the atom evolved over time. Having completed the interactive notes, the students return to their original models and adjust as needed.

  • Electron Transfer, Electrons, Electricity, Model of the Atom, Atoms, Subatomic Particles, Electrons, Observations | High School, Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lesson Plan: Understanding Static Electricity

    In this lesson, students will complete a series of activities to explore how the imbalance of charges in materials creates static electricity and how those materials interact with others around them. They will describe the relationship between atomic structure, specifically the role of protons and electrons, and static electricity.

  • Model of the Atom, Atoms, Subatomic Particles, Electrons, Atomic Mass, Isotopes, Periodic Table, Elements | High School, Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lesson Plan: Acting Out Atomic Structure

    In this lesson, students will model the location and behavior of protons, neutrons, and electrons that make up the structure of atoms, focusing on the first 18 elements on the periodic table. Students will model different elements first by adding protons and neutrons (colored balls) to make the nucleus (a basket). Then, the students themselves will represent the electrons that are always moving around the nucleus yet remaining within their designated energy level. This activity is easiest to complete outside or in a large open room to allow for enough room.

  • Model of the Atom, Atomic Theory, Electron Configuration, Electrons, Valence Electrons, Orbitals , Subatomic Particles, Atomic Radius, Ionization Energy | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Bohr Model vs. Quantum Mechanical Model

    In this activity, students will compare two models of the atom using cognitive scaffolding to move from the more simplistic Bohr model to the more abstract and accurate quantum mechanical model. They will examine experimental data and use it to explain periodic trends that cannot be accounted for with the Bohr model.

  • Electron Configuration, Electrons, Atoms, Ions, Orbitals , Valence Electrons, Model of the Atom | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Electron Configuration and Orbital Diagrams

    In this activity, students will learn how to apply the Aufbau principle, Pauli exclusion principle, and Hund’s rule to model electron configurations and orbital diagrams. They will use colored flat marbles to represent different directional spins of electrons as they fill orbitals based on energy level. They will then look for patterns in the electron configurations and orbital diagrams of various atoms and ions.

  • Atomic Radius, Model of the Atom, Atomic Theory, History, Inferences | High School, Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lesson Plan: Indirectly Measuring the Atom

    In this lesson, students will try to determine the radius of one circle and the total area of multiple circles on a piece of paper by indirect measurement. They will relate this to the experiment done by Ernest Rutherford in which he bombarded a gold foil with Alpha particles.

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

    Access is an AACT member benefit. 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.

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

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

    Access is an AACT member benefit. 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.

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

    Access is an AACT member benefit. 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.

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

    Access is an AACT member benefit. 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 Theory, Subatomic Particles, Model of the Atom, History | Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. 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.

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

    Access is an AACT member benefit. 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.

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

    Access is an AACT member benefit. 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.

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

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

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Video: Niels Bohr Video

    This video tells the story of Niels Bohr, a great scientist who redefined how we think about atoms and the electron. Bohr’s model of the atom helped to advance understanding of subatomic particles, and holds an important place in the history and development of the atomic theory.

  • Model of the Atom, Subatomic Particles, Atomic Mass, Valence Electrons, Atoms, Periodic Table, Elements | Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Mystery Elements

    The students will work in cooperative groups to construct Bohr models of "mystery" elements and record missing information about each element. Students will also create a new "mystery" element card for a classmate to analyze and determine its identity.

  • Model of the Atom, Periodic Table, Subatomic Particles, Electrons, Valence Electrons, Ions | High School, Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lab: Sweet Model of the Atom

    In this lesson, students will use different candies to represent electrons, protons, and neutrons to gain a better understanding of atoms, ions, and isotopes.

  • Atomic Radius, Ionic Radius, Electrons, Model of the Atom, Subatomic Particles, Periodic Table | Elementary School, Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Animation: Atomic & Ionic Radii Animation

    In this animation, students will have an opportunity to visualize atomic and ionic radii. They will look at the different sizes of atoms in the third period and the atoms in the sixth group. They will also look at an atom and its cation as well as an atom and its anion. **This video has no audio**

  • Model of the Atom, Electrons, Electron Configuration, Quantum Numbers, Subatomic Particles, Periodic Table | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Animation: Orbitals Animation

    In this animation, students will visualize how orbitals are superimposed upon one another within an atom, in three dimensions. The orbitals depicted in this animation are 1s, 2s, 2p, 3s, 3p, 4s, and 3d. **This video has no audio**

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Grade Level: High School

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