Classroom Resources: Atomic Structure


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

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • Electricity, Electrons | Elementary School

    Lab: Making the Connection

    In this lab, students will learn about closed and open circuits. Students will use holiday lights, a battery, and foil to make a closed circuit.

  • 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.

  • Introduction, Elements, History, Periodic Table, Atoms, Valence Electrons, Subatomic Particles, Electrons | Middle School

    Project: Elemental Art: A Visual Periodic Table

    In this activity students will research an assigned element of the Periodic Table and then create a poster that visually explains and expresses the element. The final posters can be arranged into a classroom Periodic Table.

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

    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.

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

    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**

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

    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**

  • Atoms, Model of the Atom, Atomic Theory, Emission Spectrum, Electromagnetic Spectrum, Subatomic Particles, Emission Spectrum, Electrons | High School

    Lesson Plan: Modeling Energy in Chemistry: Energy and the Electron

    This activity is designed for students to build a scientific argument about the relationship between energy and spectral lines by exploring how light interacts with atoms. In the process, students will examine proposed models of the hydrogen atom and use collected data to analyze the proposed models. They will then select one of the models and write a scientific argument to support their choice. Students will then review additional data to support and/or refute their selection. Based on their analysis, students will revise their selected model and construct a new argument to support their revisions.  

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